Startup of the Week: ‘What comes naturally: Organic soaps head to Jeddah’

Updated 22 July 2019

Startup of the Week: ‘What comes naturally: Organic soaps head to Jeddah’

  • The brand offers 100 percent organic products

Organic skincare methods have always proven reliable. Lora, an organic skincare business established by 33-year-old Saudi entrepreneur Hashim Al-Shawi in 2016, understood that although globally many skincare brands have embraced this knowledge, in the Kingdom, there were relatively few.

Al-Shawi, who spent three years in the US, decided to exploit the gap in the market, while creating dream jobs for many of his Saudi contemporaries.

The brand offers 100 percent organic products, including natural soaps made with essence of lavender, olive oil, oud, rose and musk, peels, creams, scrubs and shea butter products.

“Natural oils are the main component in all of our products, which adds quality,” Al-Shawi told Arab News.

“Lora is all about what’s being produced cleanly from the earth delivered to your hands. It is all handmade, and gentle on your skin. We use carefully chosen natural ingredients ready to make you fall in love with them.”

He explained that “Lora” in Arabic means the heart of the bay tree. “This name is used in many cultures, such as Persian and Arab cultures and some cultures in Africa, to symbolize the rose and the female form alike.”

He encourages people to use organic skincare products instead of commercial ones.

“Natural soaps are best used, because we are dealing with skin, the largest organ in the human body which protects us. I encourage the use of organic skincare products to benefit it.”

Lora is working to open a new store in Jeddah in a few months. Customers can place their orders through the shop’s Instagram account (@loragoskin)


Tonda delivers authentic Italian flavors at the double

The Italian establishment’s first GCC branch is a welcome addition to the Dubai scene. (Supplied)
Updated 19 August 2019

Tonda delivers authentic Italian flavors at the double

DUBAI: With organic ingredients and an eye-popping variety of authentic Italian dishes, the Dubai-based Tonda Pizza is a perfect choice for fast-casual dining.

The roots of the business lie as far back as 1948. The Italian founders apparently used to sell pizza to holidaymakers on the beach in Pescara, by the Adriatic Sea. The small-pan pizzas were ideal for people who wanted to grab a snack on the go.

Tonda Pizza has multiple branches around the world and is planning to bring its concept to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but its first regional outlet opened recently in Index Tower, in Dubai International Financial Center.

At the doorstep of the restaurant, you will be welcomed by the friendly staff who are enthusiastic and happy to serve you. Some of the Italian words may be hard to understand, but the waiters will be able to answer any questions.

The interior is cosy and just as welcoming as the staff. The atmosphere is classy, relaxed, and quiet. For the many employees in the area, this is a great spot to take your mind of work for a while.

The restaurant serves a seemingly endless variety of pasta and pizza made with organic flour, olive oil, and tomatoes imported from Italian farms. It also offers a range of special homemade starters and desserts.

Tonda, meaning ‘round,’ offers “guilt-free” pizzas. The thin crispy slices are full of authentic Italian flavor, but the dough does not contain animal fats, and it’s gluten-free.

It always fun to watch your food being cooked right in front of you, and Tonda’s open kitchen means you can do just that. The service is impressively fast, too.  The meal is best accompanied by one of Tonda’s traditional Italian drink offerings, which include Chinotto, Gassosa, Limonata, and Spuma. 

The tasty burrata salad was a more-than-generous and delicious starter. Fresh balls of cheese decorated the bowl, which was overloaded with mixed tomatoes and fresh basil.

Next up was a delightful range of pizza. Thick mozzarella cheese (10 out of 10 on the cheese-pull test), shreds of well-cooked beef, and a sprinkling of rocca leaves coated each slice of the thin-crust bresaola, while the tartufo boasted a delicious truffle spread and mushroom topping.

The undeniable highlight of the meal, however, was the salamino pizza. Its spiciness might make your eyes water as well as your mouth, but it was well worth it. The salamino was topped with organic peeled tomatoes, spicy beef salami, extra virgin olive oil, and decorated with oregano leaves.

The pasta that accompanied the bolognaise gave a good firm bite — perfect for those who like their Italian cooked al dente. The portion was ideal for one person. 

 

Once you are done with the main course, the restaurant offers a tasty selection of desserts too. We’d recommend its unique Nutella pizza topped with sliced bananas as a must-try.   

Tonda may be a little on the expensive side for what is, essentially, fast food (albeit high-quality fast food) — an appetizer, main course and beverage could cost up to $21 — but we’d say it’s worth the price for some tasty, healthy fresh Italian fare.