Breakfast & Brunch at JACC

Post by Mark

Somehow my three favorite breakfast spots in Kuwait all ended up next to each other at the cultural center. I used to go there just for Baker & Spice but in the last two weeks Cocoa Room opend up there and then Rococoa introduced a new breakfast menu. Just like that, JACC became an overnight breakfast and brunch hotspot.

Cocoa Room
The new Cocoa Room opened up recently at JACC with an updated breakfast menu and a completely new lunch and dinner offering. I passed by twice during their tastings but haven’t been able to get a table since due to their popularity. This past weekend I dropped by twice at around 10AM but they had already closed the breakfast waiting list because the it got too long. I even got their reservation number last night and tried to book a table for this coming weekend and they’re already fully booked! If you’ve never been they have a large assortment of breakfast items including a huge list of pancakes and egg Benedict’s to choose from along with a huge dessert list. Recently they added an eggplant fetteh dish to their menu (pictured above) which has become my new favorite breakfast item but their turkish eggs and Cocoa Room eggs Benedict are also two of my favorites. If you’re interested in passing by them either do so early, or try and reserve ahead of time by calling 22083195. They only have a few tables available to book by phone, the rest are reserved for walk-ins.

In the past week I’ve gone to Rococoa a total of five times, I went to their breakfast and dinner tasting early on in the week and then back again three times with friends for their breakfast. The last two were because Cocoa Room was fully booked, but also because I really like the new Rococoa breakfast menu. Rococoa launched a new menu last week that include a bunch of interesting items like my favorites, the Scotch Egg Tart (pictured above) and the Cloudy Eggs. Both those dishes are pretty unique and so make breakfast a little more interesting. The service can be super slow at times but the food makes up for it. For reservations you can call them on 55222244.

Baker & Spice
Last but not least is Baker & Spice. Located between Cocoa Room and Rococoa, they’ve got a pretty good breakfast as well. I’m usually there for their Turkish eggs or omelette and since the food is light, it doesn’t feel like a cheat meal and so I never feel guilty afterwards. But like Cocoa Room, Baker & Spice tends to fill up pretty quickly but you could call and reserve ahead of time by calling them on 98002331.

The weather is getting better and better so if you’re looking for a good breakfast or brunch spot to go to, I can’t think of a more convenient place to go to other than JACC. Just try and book a table ahead of time or be prepared to walk around the fountain area while you wait for a table to free up.

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Be Cafe – A space for wellbeing

Post by Mark

A friend of mine moved back to Kuwait last week and we were thinking of a place to go have lunch and she asked me if I had heard of a new plant-based cafe called “Be”. I hadn’t and found it really strange that a friend of mine who didn’t live in Kuwait knew about it and yet I didn’t, so obviously I had to go check the place out. So Friday I passed by the place for lunch and I think I really like the place.

They open at 2PM and we got there a bit earlier so we sat in their garden until they opened. While waiting we noticed they had a small area where they had vegetables and herbs planted, turns out they use them in some of their items. The owners mum was also really sweet and brought us some cold kombucha to try out while we waited for them to open. Once they opened we went in and explored the space. The cafe is located on the ground floor of one of the chalets at the Rimal Resort (next to Mayas). When you first walk in you have the main cafe seating area, and then in the back they have one room which they’ve turned into a little shop with some items for sale and then another larger room which they’ve turned into a cozy seating area.

Their main food menu isn’t that big with just two wraps, a pho dish and a acai bowl. The rest of the menu is made up of smoothies, juices, hot drinks and a bunch of small dessert bites which you could pick out from their fridge. We tried all the food items on the menu and my favorites were easily their tofu wrap and the acai bowl, both of which were delicious. On Saturdays they have more food items as part of their “Soulful Saturdays” menu which usually includes an Indian Thali.

I really liked Be Cafe, the space was really chill and the location is pretty great. Their menu is pretty small for now but it’s not a bad place to just meet up with a friend for some drinks that doesn’t involve coffee. They’re currently open from 2PM to 8PM (closed on Sundays) and you can follow them on instagram @be_kwt. Here is their location on [Google Maps]

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Kuwait Based Rock House Sliders Opening in L.A.

Post by Mark

The 7950 Sunset block in WeHo is ready for a new tenant in 2018, the Kuwaiti burger chain, Rock House Sliders. With six locations throughout Kuwait, the restaurant is owned by the Kuwaiti-based Marafie Works Group.

Though former Luca On Sunset space has been empty since 2014, Marafie Works Group will commence the build-out in October. Management at 7950 Sunset had trouble finding a tenant to fill the large retail space after Luca’s closed because of irreconcilable landlord differences. Once complete, the newcomer will keep sit next to 9021 Pho and EVO Kitchen on a very busy stretch of Sunset Blvd near Hayworth.

The team at Marafie Works Group adopted American culture into the growing Rock House brand, with images of attractive urbanites enjoying the burgers. The mini burgers start on a potato bun with a choice of fried chicken or beef. The toppings include items like jalapeño and bacon, or truffle mushroom, and diners choose an accompanying sauce such as barbecue, chipotle mayo, buffalo mayo, chipotle barbecue, along with their own mystery sauce. They offer milkshakes, too.

Rock House Sliders’ U.S. entry is a curious choice. It will be even more interesting to see the response to this popular Kuwaiti brand bringing American-styled food to Los Angeles. [Source]

This actually makes a lot of sense to me since I keep telling people that L.A. has similar taste in food to Kuwait. But, they’re opening down the street from The Comedy Store, the same street that has In-N-Out and Chick-fil-A so they’ve got tough competition in the neighborhood. If they can make it there, then they’ll probably do really well opening up anywhere else.

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PantryBee Taco Tuesday – Tonight at Barba!

Post by Hind

One of our favorite recurring cuisines on the PantryBee site is Mexican. We love your typical Mexican fare, burritos, tacos, etc. and we love to put our own special twist on things. That’s why we’ve joined up with our new fave Shuwaikh hotspot Barba to bring one of our favorite things to a greater number of people; Taco Tuesday! We’ve had fun working with the Barba boys to create two specialty pizzas for the event, including an elote inspired pizza and a chicken enchilada pizza with our secret PantryBee roasted tomato sauce. We’re also bringing back some of our greatest hits including our best selling jerk chicken tacos and Korean kimchi steak tacos. We’re going to be running 6pm to sell out so come by say hi and grab a bite!

Date: Tuesday October 10, 2017
Time: 6PM
Location: Barba [Google Maps]

Post by Hind
CoFounder of PantryBee where home cooking is made easy.

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Kane Mochi – Premium Mochi Ice Cream

Post by Mark

Kane Mochi as you can guess from the name is a mochi ice cream place. They’ve been open for awhile now but since they’re located in what basically is an empty mall, I only found out about it yesterday. Kane is located on the top floor of Dalal Complex in Salmiya, the same mall that has Sky Cinemas. The place is cute and they’ve got 21 flavors of mochi ice cream. I had a chocolate and banana and it was pretty good. Don’t know if I’d go back specifically for it, but if I was a mochi fan I probably would. It costs 750fils per mochi and if you want to find out more, check out their instagram

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Breakfast at the New Revamped LeNotre

Post by Mark

A couple of weeks back LeNotre reopened their 360 Mall location with a revamped look and a new menu. I had heard they brought in the former chef for Le Petit Maison and LaSerre in Dubai, chef Izu Ani to work on the menu so I was really looking forward to trying it.

I ended up passing by Friday morning and LeNotre along with the rest of the mall was pretty empty. There was just one other table occupied so atmosphere wise, it was a bit too chill for my liking. The menu on the other hand looked really appetizing. We got handed a tablet with photos to flip through and everything just looked visually stunning. Like, I wanted to order everything on the menu because everything looked that good. I’d say all of the dishes were just straightforward breakfast dishes like scrambled eggs, omelets, egg Benedict’s etc.. but with each dish having a small twist to make it a bit special. They’re all light (aka not saucy) breakfast dishes you can eat and not end up in a food coma an hour later.

I ended up ordering the sunny side up on toast mixed with mushrooms, my friend ordered the shashuka and we also shared Turkish eggs and French toast. My sunny side up eggs were delicious and the French toast was just crazy good, I couldn’t stop eating it even though I had originally planned to just have a bite or two. The Turkish eggs on the other hand was pretty disappointing since I didn’t think there was enough labneh in the dish. I actually thought they forgot to put any until my friend pointed to what we concluded was a bit of labneh on the plate.

The location in 360 Mall isn’t very exciting but until the new menu launches at other locations, this is the only branch right now that has the new menu. The Marina Mall location which is currently undergoing a similar revamp is supposedly opening in the next coming weeks as well. The prices were very reasonable with my sunny side up dish costing KD2.850, the Turkish Eggs and Shahuka KD3.500 each and the French toast KD3.750. The presentation of all the dishes was really impressive and I’m definitely going to go back to try the rest of the dishes. If you want to see more pictures or get more information, you can check out their instagram account @lenotrekw

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Sneak Peek: The All-New Cocoa Room

Post by Mark

It’s been over 6 years since Cocoa Room first opened up on the Seef Strip next to Slider Station. Over the years it went through some pretty major changes but in the end settled down to become a breakfast place, and a great one. On Friday mornings for brunch you’ll usually find me at one of two places, either Baker & Spice or Cocoa Room. It’s one of my favorite breakfast spots and from what I got to see yesterday, it looks like things are going to get even better.

First of all, some disappointing news, the Cocoa Room as we know it on the Seef Strip is gone. A couple of weeks back they shut it down and the location now is just Slider Station. So if you wanted to say goodbye with one last breakfast there, you’re too late. Cocoa Room is now going to be reopening in a much larger location at the Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre instead. I got a sneak peek of the interior and its a complete revamp of the old Cocoa Room look. Not only have they created a new interior style but they’ve also given the brand a much needed facelift and its looking much more cleaner now (gone is the grungy and gritty look). The new Cocoa Room will also now be opening all day since their new menu will include lunch and dinner items instead of just breakfast.

I’m pretty excited about the relaunch which will be happening really soon. If everything goes according to plan they’re hoping to have the new Cocoa Room open by October 14th. To stay posted, you can follow Cocoa Room on instagram @cocoaroom

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Chef Khaled Al Baker

Post by Mark

Khaled Al Baker, or KB for short is the brand manager and head chef at Meem Cafe. He’s also a good friend of mine and I’ve been wanting to post about him and his transformation of Meem Cafe since I’ve been watching it happen from the very beginning. Just over a year ago, Khaled moved back to Kuwait after studying culinary arts at the Johnson & Wales University in Miami. He started looking for work and decided he wanted to join MMC Catering who had a bunch of popular restaurants including LeNotre, Meem Cafe, Over Jar and Three & Barista. When he applied, one of the tasks they gave him was to pass by Meem Cafe, try their food out and let them know what he thought of it. So he invited me along with a bunch of our other foodie friends (including Hind from PantryBee) and we passed by Meem Cafe and tried out as much food as we could. My overall impression wasn’t that positive with items on the menu that didn’t make sense to be there, and what was there wasn’t that great either. But Khaled was busy taking down notes, he saw a lot of potential and so he went back to MMC with his feedback and they hired him, giving him the task to revamp and upgrade the Meem Cafe menu.

Khaled wasn’t always a chef. He originally studied accounting and finance at the University of Central Florida and then worked 6 years as an accountant in the oil and gas industry. Things started to change right after his cousin opened up the upscale butcher shop Prime Cuts. They started grilling non-stop 5-6 times a week and Khaled would have his home cook put together the sides while he did all the grilling. But his cook kept making the same sides all the time which eventually got boring, so Khaled decided he’d also do the sides himself. He started reading up a lot and experimenting and the more and more he cooked the more and more he was loving it. So he started taking cooking lessons whenever he found any and he cooked for his friends whenever he could before he eventually decided to go back to university to study culinary arts.

Over the past year Khaled has been super busy reorganizing and reinventing the Meem Cafe menu. Because I keep popping over to Meem Cafe to see him whenever I can, the whole thing to me has felt like I’ve been watching a food reality show where the chef goes into a restaurant and just overhauls the menu. The first thing Khaled did was remove all the items that didn’t fit in with the theme of Middle Eastern comfort food. After refocusing the menu under the main theme, he started experimenting with modernizing Arabic classics while also fusing others with different cuisines. He loves cooking and he’s been generally just having fun trying to come up with new dishes like zaatar fries, Lebanese nachos, burrata mana’eesh and braised short ribs hummus. The end result is a lot of good food with a lot of unique flavors. Even his chef coat is infused with Arabic by being designed like a dishdasha while incorporating the shemagh pattern.

While sitting with Khaled and interviewing him for this post I realized where all this passion with Arabic food was stemming from. He thinks that as Arabs we’re losing the food marketing war with items like hummus and pita being considered Israeli and not Arab, while Greek yogurt becoming trendy but not labneh. He thinks that if we don’t start modernizing and refining Arabic cuisine, we’re going to eventually lose it all. I never thought about it in that way but now that I do I’ve started appreciating what his doing a lot more.

If you haven’t been to Meem Cafe for awhile now then I’d recommend you pass by and try it out again. They’ve got four locations, one at the Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center, another in Hamra Tower, another in 360 Mall and the last one in The View in Salmiya. You can also follow Khaled on his instagram account @chefkb

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Rumor: Eggslut Coming to the Middle East

Post by Mark

This is completely unconfirmed but yesterday I heard that a Kuwaiti company got the rights for Eggslut in the Middle East. Eggslut is an LA based gourmet food concept where all the items on their menu features eggs. I had mentioned Eggslut under my “L.A. Eats” post a few months ago as a place to try out if you’re ever in L.A. If anyone has any information on this rumor please let me know!

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Arby’s is Now Open!

Post by Mark

Arby’s is officially opening their first location in Kuwait tomorrow (Thursday) from 11AM to 4AM. I dropped by today and got to try a bunch of things but really all I wanted was a Roast Beef ‘n Cheddar and it was worth it! They’re located in Jabriya where Fuddruckers used to be. Here is their location on [Google Maps]

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