Cookshop, the tasting café

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Updated 02 October 2013
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Cookshop, the tasting café

Imagine a taste of home away from home? Try Cookshop, a restaurant in a class of its own and which serves over 200 different items to choose from, each differing in taste and uniqueness.
Cookshop is a themed restaurant brought to the shores of Jeddah from its original birth place of Turkey, where it is already famous with eight branches across the country. Although it is still in its soft opening stage, the restaurant’s atmosphere is a welcoming one for those who are trying to find a good dining experience away from the hustle and bustle of fancy high class restaurants or busy fast food chains.
The restaurant opened in late June and is located in Astra Center in upper Tahlia Street close to Al-Malik Road, a quaint location which is easily accessible. As soon as you walk into the restaurant you are greeted upon by the vast space and the comfortable feel to it.
A cute little couch and funky looking chair with a table in the middle filled with magazines and books for all ages, catches the attention immediately. Kids are usually found fiddling around and looking at children’s books and coloring books as well.
It has a “feel like home” quality. Wooden chairs covered with cushions usually found in our mothers’ homes, long wooden tables with red and white checkered table cloths, mason jars for the drinks and a large “Magnolia” sign facing the door advertises one of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
You can actually catch a hint of plants placed on high shelves as well as hanging picture frames placed at odd angles. The décor is different and daring. Guests can enjoy the smoke-free environment with families seated downstairs (for everyone’s convenience) and singles upstairs.
At a first glance, the menu looks like a magazine. Then we realize that every page is full of pictures and information on certain items of the menu. The menu consists of 220 mouthwatering dishes that vary from breakfast to soups, salads and main meals that can be devoured all day long. There is even Turkish coffee in its beverages section.
There is a combination of international and traditional dishes such as the margherita pizza, Caesar salad, mozzarella sticks, and even spaghetti carbonara. Indigenous dishes from Turkey are the Iskender Kabab and Manti. Besides, the restaurant serves Chinese, Italian, Mexican and Austrian food. The Austrian Schnitzel is one of their famous preparations. Among the beverages, one can choose from a variety of smoothies and freshly squeezed fruit options served in large mason jars.
We were served first with the Ci-monade, a mixture of fresh strawberry and lemonade and I must say it was very refreshing. Then the good stuff started coming in. We sampled some of Cookshop’s highest recommended dishes from the Penne Arrabbiata to its Seafood Risotto. Both dishes were attractively presented and cooked.
The Arrabbiata had just about the right amount of spiciness to it and a balanced tomato/basil leaves taste, not strong like in other locations. The seafood risotto was also very good; the cream base, served with small chunks of fish, clams and squid rings, was not fishy at all. The parmesan cheese balanced the taste of both the cooked rice and the seafood.
We were then served a very tasty dish of Argentinean steak. My husband is very picky when it comes to steaks; he likes his cooked well-done with just the right amount of spices, and with a hint of that burnt taste that accompanies the steak. It was perfect according to his standards.
The steak was fresh, lean and very tender, served with mushroom cream sauce, steak fries and rice. There was a buttery taste to the steak and it was a hit from the word ‘go’. There was also the Turkish Tabouleh, a marvelous dish with different types of lettuce, mint leaves, arugula, boiled wheat and pomegranate seeds.
The texture of the salad is not like its Lebanese counterpart: citrusy or finely chopped. Instead, it’s leafy with a hint of pomegranate molasses mixed with oil and lemon. It was divine. My new favorite salad dish to date.
Our visit to the restaurant ended with a plate of three different flavors of one of its signature deserts, the Magnolia pudding. The Magnolia wasn’t really a pudding; it felt more like custard mixed with pudding kind of dish. Guests are able to choose from three different flavors such as banana, strawberry and chocolate. It’s a very light type of dessert and absolutely delicious. There were chunks of fruit inside the pudding making it very pleasurable to the taste.
The restaurant has made efforts to create a family-like atmosphere. It is a must-visit. With reasonable prices, the food is definitely worth it. Although, it is still in its early stages, there are plans to expand the franchise in Jeddah and to other locations in Saudi Arabia.

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Gaming addiction classified as mental health disorder by WHO

Updated 18 June 2018
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Gaming addiction classified as mental health disorder by WHO

  • Addiction to video games has been recognized by World Health Organization as a mental health disorder
  • The International Classification of Diseases now covers 55,000 injuries, diseases and causes of death

GENEVA: Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing.
In its latest revision to a disease classification manual, the UN health agency said Monday that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a mental health condition. The statement confirmed the fears of some parents but led critics to warn that it may risk stigmatizing too many young video players.
WHO said classifying “gaming disorder” as a separate addiction will help governments, families and health care workers be more vigilant and prepared to identify the risks. The agency and other experts were quick to note that cases of the condition are still very rare, with no more than up to 3 percent of all gamers believed to be affected.
Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO’s department for mental health and substance abuse, said the agency accepted the proposal that gaming disorder should be listed as a new problem based on scientific evidence, in addition to “the need and the demand for treatment in many parts of the world.”
Dr. Joan Harvey, a spokeswoman for the British Psychological Society, warned that the new designation might cause unnecessary concern among parents.
“People need to understand this doesn’t mean every child who spends hours in their room playing games is an addict, otherwise medics are going to be flooded with requests for help,” she said.
Others welcomed WHO’s new classification, saying it was critical to identify people hooked on video games quickly because they are usually teenagers or young adults who don’t seek help themselves.
“We come across parents who are distraught, not only because they’re seeing their child drop out of school, but because they’re seeing an entire family structure fall apart,” said Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokeswoman for behavioral addictions at Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists. She was not connected to WHO’s decision.
Bowden-Jones said gaming addictions were usually best treated with psychological therapies but that some medicines might also work.
The American Psychiatric Association has not yet deemed gaming disorder to be a new mental health problem. In a 2013 statement, the association said it’s “a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for inclusion” in its own diagnostic manual.
The group noted that much of the scientific literature about compulsive gamers is based on evidence from young men in Asia.
“The studies suggest that when these individuals are engrossed in Internet games, certain pathways in their brains are triggered in the same direct and intense way that a drug addict’s brain is affected by a particular substance,” the association said in that statement. “The gaming prompts a neurological response that influences feelings of pleasure and reward, and the result, in the extreme, is manifested as addictive behavior.”
Dr. Mark Griffiths, who has been researching the concept of video gaming disorder for 30 years, said the new classification would help legitimize the problem and strengthen treatment strategies.
“Video gaming is like a non-financial kind of gambling from a psychological point of view,” said Griffiths, a distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “Gamblers use money as a way of keeping score whereas gamers use points.”
He guessed that the percentage of video game players with a compulsive problem was likely to be extremely small — much less than 1 percent — and that many such people would likely have other underlying problems, like depression, bipolar disorder or autism.
WHO’s Saxena, however, estimated that 2 to 3 percent of gamers might be affected.
Griffiths said playing video games, for the vast majority of people, is more about entertainment and novelty, citing the overwhelming popularity of games like “Pokemon Go.”
“You have these short, obsessive bursts and yes, people are playing a lot, but it’s not an addiction,” he said.
Saxena said parents and friends of video game enthusiasts should still be mindful of a potentially harmful problem.
“Be on the lookout,” he said, noting that concerns should be raised if the gaming habit appears to be taking over.
“If (video games) are interfering with the expected functions of the person — whether it is studies, whether it’s socialization, whether it’s work — then you need to be cautious and perhaps seek help,” he said.