Fussy eaters meet their match in new kid’s restaurant in Dubai

White and the Bear opened at the end of July. (Supplied)
Updated 05 August 2019

Fussy eaters meet their match in new kid’s restaurant in Dubai

DUBAI: Taking your child out to a restaurant can be a frustrating experience. With kid’s menus loaded with milkshakes, fried fare and salty treats, there is very little in the way of child-friendly, healthy food on offer.

These unhealthy options led Dubai resident Hana Al-Mulla to dream up what she calls the world’s first children’s restaurant, White and the Bear, which opened at the end of July.

“From experience, I always found it a challenge when deciding where to take my children to eat. White and the Bear offers a stress-free solution for parents and a fun, creative space for children,” Al-Mulla said of her restaurant concept.

Al-Mulla partnered with Annabel Karmel — food nutritionist and UK-based author of more than 50 cookbooks, including “Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner” and “Baby-Led Weaning” — to design a menu that would appeal to little ones.  

“I chose Annabel as she has truly set new benchmarks when it comes to cooking for children… her concern for nutrition and knack for creativity feeding children healthy but fun foods is one reason I have always followed her as a mother,” Al-Mulla said.

Karmel shared her top tips to help parents get their kids involved in choosing their own healthy meals.

“When my kids were quite young, like five or six, I used to let them cook their meals on Fridays, so they would eat what they made. I would chop things for them and allow them to do the rest. This gives them healthy cooking skills for life and they loved being part of the adult world.”

White and the Bear is a nut-free zone and offers allergy-conscious meals, carefully designed to delight hungry children and fussy eaters with no-sugar date energy balls, hamburgers made with carrots and apples and Bolognese pasta with disguised vegetables. Beyond the appetizing menu, the restaurant also features a reading area, a party zone and a cooking area where the little ones can learn valuable life skills.

“On the first floor of the restaurant, there is a cooking area where children can learn how to cook and are taught simple recipes and they can take the food they made with them” Karmel explained.


Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

Photo supplied
Updated 20 August 2019

Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

  • Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain

A Saudi bakery and restaurant business specializing in pastries is finding its way into Saudi hearts with a delectable selection of fine Italian, French, and Swiss foods.
Ahmad Essam, 28, a self-taught baker and chef, left a productive family business to create what is now one of the most prestigious bakeries in Alkhobar.
Essam set up his bakery and restaurant while working as a production engineer, selling tarts and cakes to his friends.
He was overwhelmed by the encouragement he received, and little by little Essam, his dream of running his own company emerged.
Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain.
Baking French pastries such as croissants, macarons, mille-feuille, eclairs and tarts require a true artisan. Essam described the glory he feels when he bakes, saying: “Dealing with precise tips to get the real essence of French pastries and reaching a level to bake without recipes is a matter of experience and good knowledge. Being a real baker requires a lot of learning as it’s not only about mixing water and flour; its trick lies behind the process of fermentation that sometimes lasts for days.’’
Every once in a while, the young man distributes membership books to loyal customers. “On Valentine’s Day, we distributed 3,000 roses,” he added.
Essam is very passionate, and dreams of opening a cooking academy in Saudi Arabia so he can inspire other amateur bakers; he told Arab News about his future 12,000-square-meters cooking village project that he is aiming to create in Riyadh, “including a library that collects all cookbooks, a seasonal spice shop, a great lake garden, a pizzeria, glossary shop and more, all of which falls under one theme: Cooking.”
For him, business is an obsession and profession. “Chefs have their egos. They are dealing with a tricky job and they know what they are doing exactly. They do not accept comments or advice from other chefs,” he explained.
You can follow him for more information on White Mountain on Instagram: @wm.bakery.