Dar Hamad Restaurant

Post by Mark


There’s a weird looking building on the Gulf Road right before Marina Mall which I was trying to figure out what it was. When they were constructing it I thought it was someones home but after completion they put up a sign that said Dar Hamad. I thought it was possibly a museum but then over the weekend I found out it was going to be a restaurant. It’s actually going to be a high end Kuwaiti cuisine restaurant serving traditional dishes created by Kuwaiti chef Janan Al Assfour. The opening date? Supposedly September.

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45 comments, add your own...

  1. AA says:

    Mark, do you know who Hamad is?

    • Ahmad says:

      Hahahahaha does it matter?

      This building looked quite nice as they were building it but that finishing is horrid. Maybe it looks better at night with some lighting? Who knows.

      The architect is actually super talented; he’s produced some of the nicest spaces I’ve seen in Kuwait, so hopefully the interior is beautiful as most of his work is. This exterior though. Definitely not for me. But I’m sure others will enjoy ☺️

  2. ahmed says:

    Who will be their customer base? Would Kuwaitis want to go out and eat high-end Kuwaiti food for dinner? There is limited tourism here, only by GCC tourists, would they want to eat this food although it is similar to theirs? Expats here? Not sure? With the level of expats here, would they be deterred by the word ‘high-end’?

    • Dun says:

      Expats are not deterred by the ‘word’ high end. They are deterred by high prices for low value. You know, the way most people all over the world function.

      • ahmed says:

        A perfect example of this is Wataniya Airways, remember that? The minimal marketing that they did, they marketed it as a luxury airline, the planes were empty, although they flew out of SZT, which is a bonus in itself. At one point, I was flying one way to Dubai for a base price of 6KD and still nobody, Kuwaiti or Expat, supported that carrier. I think because they advertised it as a luxury carrier, so that is the market here. Expats don’t have the buying power that they have in Dubai, for example, so their quest for ‘value for money’ is bottom-line to my question. The real question is if Kuwaitis will have interest in ‘high-end’ Kuwaiti food after eating it everyday in their homes? Ambience could be key to the success of this business, but that’s usually where businesses fail here, together with marketing.

        • Mark says:

          Wataniya didn’t fail because it was marketed as a premium airline.

          • ahmed says:

            I disagree, in addition, premium and luxury mean the same thing to me. Their marketing was not inclusive, point one, and they marketed, in my eyes, a low-budget carrier similar to FLYDUBAI, as you say, a premium carrier. One day, I saw these celebrity Lebanese stars being greeted by their executives flown in from Beirut, I truly thought it was a new beginning for the airline industry in Kuwait, but the market did not buy into it, it was ashame, I liked the carrier. There were other reasons why it failed, but I think one of them was the marketing as a premium carrier. It was a no-brainer to fly them over Jazeera to neighboring GCC countries because of SZT, but still the market was not able to see the benefits of the airline. FLYDUBAI, they are buying into, which is marketed as a low-budget carrier, as cars are left double parked all over the roads and the other old airport has become unbearable. I still think that FLYDUBAI should market based on the terminal and the terminal should be utilized more by adding Emirates to that terminal which would decrease the footfall in the old airport. Yes, the private planes should be moved to another location in the airport, maybe until the prefab terminal is built.

            • Mark says:

              You can disagree all you want but I worked on Wataniya Airways from the start up till its demise so I’m talking from first hand knowledge.

              • ahmed says:

                We had this conversation before, but in general pertaining to this business, who is their customer? Do they look at demographics? How will they convince the local population that high-end Kuwaiti food is worth a visit to their establishment? Kuwaitis, in general, eat Kuwaiti food everyday and probably want a different cuisine if they go out to dinner, especially considering how well-travelled they are, get my point? I really don’t care what the building looks like as others have commented, I really don’t find Kuwait esthetically appealing anyway – a good chef will always make or break a restaurant. To take Kuwaiti cuisine to a new creative level might be interesting to the locals as a change of pace? This is a country with very limited tourism, mainly only from GCC tourists, and with a burgeoning expat population living below the poverty level of most Western countries. There are mid-range expats, but without any marketing to them which is the norm here because Kuwaitis are generally not inclusive and don’t market in English to that demographic. In sociological terms, Kuwait’s head is outside the country, so in order for this nation to jump start their economy, they need to make Kuwait more appealing to residents to spend money within the country rather than always thinking that they have to travel outside to enjoy a wonderful meal at the level that desire. This includes, customer service levels, ambience, and quality product lines.

                • Blueelephantintheroom says:

                  Any theories on why Kuwaitis are generally not inclusive? Maybe Mark would have some comment and insights on that? Mark, please do a post if you may.

              • AJ says:

                Could you tell us why it failed? It would be interesting to know.

                • Mark says:

                  It’s a lot of internal mess.

                • Mark says:

                  Actually one of my friends who used to work at WA comments here, will have him come in and write about it.

                • AJ says:

                  Cool, thanks. I always thought it’s because they were providing high-end services for budget-airline prices. It just never seemed sustainable from the beginning. That, however, doesn’t explain the lack of passengers.

                • Nina says:

                  Bad management, over inflated salaries for western expat managers who just wanted to fill their pockets and leave (not all), not listening to the routing and feasibility studies when planning routes… So in the end yes they were doing well but they didn’t manage the business in a financially sound way….A real shame. And their marketing was spot on – it completely wasnt the case of marketing or selling….All startup airlines go through this critical phase, Jazeera almost went through it too….

  3. From Bazaar Magazine:

    If you’ve found yourself driving down the Gulf Road, only to find yourself captivated by a stunning structure just before the Marina Mall traffic light in Salmiya, then you’re not alone. We’ve all seen that piquing sign that reads ‘Dar Hamad’, and we’ve wondered if the space serves as a private home or museum. The design is immaculate, faultlessly blending modern and traditional design aesthetics. When Paul began speaking to us about Dar Hamad from a culinary perspective, we were befuddled. He said, “We completely built the concept from its infancy and up until its completion. We will also be operating and managing Dar Hamad on behalf of Ahmad Al Homaizi, who appointed MMC Catering to undertake this project.” While we still thought that MMC had officially entered into the museum business, Paul explained that Dar Hamad arrives as a Kuwaiti fine dining concept, complete with a gourmet food shop, Chai lobby, seasonal roof terrace and events venue. There’s absolutely nothing like Dar Hamad in the market, especially with this unprecedented take on Kuwaiti cuisine. Paul promised bazaar a first look at the place, and we will be bringing you more on this story in our upcoming June issue.

    Hmmm…what about cafe Bazza? It serves expensive ‘Kuwaiti’ dishes. Hello 15 KD machboos diyay!

    • Zahra says:

      Sound like the new Habba !

      • Details:

        Dar Hamad RestaurantFantasising a culture through its food is one way of reintroducing a nation’s identity that has completely forgotten its past and embraced all new futures within every decade that passes by. The older Kuwaiti generation will recognise through the modern aesthetics, familiar elements adorning certain moments on and in the building. The exterior is an offset jewel-like ribboned structure almost veiling the building under it which was based on the Sandoog-Mubayyat; a box usually presented to a new bride housing her dowry. Some other elements like the old shibbak (shutter windows), Bab-bu-khokha were extracted from the indigenous architecture of Kuwait. In contrast to the exterior, the interior is rich in vivid colours and details.The interior has a certain intimacy that is inspired from different design eras of the Kuwaiti houses be it 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or modern day. The same way that a common meal has a different recipe from household to household, the hierarchy of spaces flow into each other with a similar feel yet a different familiar character presents its self in little moments, like the quintessential Iranian carpet, the chandelier, terrazzo tiles (kashi), studs etc.

        Contract Value: 1,243,503.025

    • AA says:

      I like the concept, except for the cuisine being Kuwaiti.

  4. Huda says:

    Ugly designs .

  5. Salue says:

    High End ? Kuwaiti Food ? High Price ? a Building design from the 70s that looks like an old roll balding building ?

    A Falafel ?

    Maybe maybe not, but like others said paying a high price for Kuwaiti food = nono, just go to fareej swaleh they give you lots of Kuwaiti food for a cheaper price :P

  6. Oh says:

    Looks like an expandable suitcase. Hideous.

  7. Xtina says:

    high end kwti food ? what’s their specialty ? rice and chicken ? lol puh-lease! they’re trying too hard and it’s clearly not going to work. The exterior alone is a turn off.

  8. dfine says:

    I had great hopes for the building during construction, but must say I agree with most comments above. it completely makes my skin itch.

    Someone must have a shit load of money to waste.. with this location and budget.

    I can see a revamp in few years.

  9. Bla Bla Theory says:

    You guys are jumping into conclusions even before the place opens to the public!!

    Lets wait and see..

    The success of a restaurant in Kuwait depends either on the quality of food or the ability to attract the correct market segments.

    • Xtina says:

      I say they’ll eventually turn in into a cafe/ sheesha place, and before you know it, the place will be shut down cause of da3ara.

      • Muneera says:

        Um how could one be so ignorant? Can you stop mocking the place when A. They didn’t even open it yet and B. You don’t know anything about the place and kuwaiti culture:). I get it you think your funny with all that humor jumping to conclusions and saying stuff about it like it turning to a shisha place? Wow how funny and remind me who are too to judge this restaurants future remind me please. Oh, and also one last thing stop being an internet troll with your unwanted comments be polite or get off

  10. zaydoun says:

    I drove past it last night and the interior was all lit up with people busy setting the place up. From the quick glimpse I got, the it looks encouraging

  11. Going back to your earlier question about the naming. The family who own the land on which the restaurant is located are the Al-Hamads, hence Bait Hamad. The patriarch of the family, Khalid al-Hamad, one of the founders of NBK and a cornerstone of Kuwaiti society and a gregarious personality who lived to the ripe old age of 100 lived in a large house in this same plot until his death. The Alhamads still live in most of the other houses on the block but many of the younger generation have relocated to internal (and less congested) parts of Kuwait, so the once vibrant compound is now but a loose collection of houses. I’m looking forward to visiting Dar Hamad and hopefully the spirit of these early pioneers will imbue it and its kitchen.

  12. Sam says:

    Does anyone know if they are open yet?

  13. xeonali says:

    I was invited there … They’re doing private party dining now only ..

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