Saudi Arabian prince to open vegan restaurants across the region in healthy lifestyle push

Saudi Arabian prince to open vegan restaurants across the region in healthy lifestyle push
Prince Khaled has invested in Matthew Kenney’s vegan lifestyle company, and took the brand international by opening the first vegan restaurant in the Middle East with Bahrain’s new Plant Cafe. (Courtesy Plant Cafe)
Updated 29 January 2018

Saudi Arabian prince to open vegan restaurants across the region in healthy lifestyle push

Saudi Arabian prince to open vegan restaurants across the region in healthy lifestyle push

DUBAI: The son of billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has announced plans to open a series of vegan restaurants across the Middle East, as he tries to encourage the region’s population to move away from ‘conventional diets’ and live a healthier lifestyle.
Prince Khaled laid out his plans on his Facebook account to open a minimum of 10 vegan restaurants in the Middle East by 2020.
“Our region occupies parts of the top ten most obese counties in the world. This is crazy and frankly a joke we have reached this level,” he explained.
Among the locations favored by the health buff Prince Khaled, who was recently named as president of the Saudi CrossFit Federation, include the UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
And the Prince said the restaurants were not the answer to region’s health complaints, but just the beginning.
“I’m not saying opening 10 restaurants will solve this issue, but you better believe it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
Prince Khaled was named among the world’s top influencers toward veganism in 2017 for his investments in Matthew Kenney’s vegan lifestyle company. He took the brand international by opening the first vegan restaurant in the Middle East with Bahrain’s new Plant Cafe.
Commenting on his Facebook page about the current diets of people in the region, Prince Khaled said the side effects “on states and society, economic, social, and health,” were disasters “that must be fought.”
“We have to boycott fast food restaurants and focus on our health and our children’s health before this disaster increases,” he said.


Healthy choice: Saudis embrace ‘clean beauty’ after pandemic

Healthy choice: Saudis embrace ‘clean beauty’ after pandemic
Both Essence and Sun Pharmacy are registered at Maroof, a platform launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment for online stores. (Supplied)
Updated 11 April 2021

Healthy choice: Saudis embrace ‘clean beauty’ after pandemic

Healthy choice: Saudis embrace ‘clean beauty’ after pandemic
  • Homegrown businesses meet growing demand for natural self-care products

JEDDAH: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in health awareness worldwide as consumers question their pre-virus lifestyle, and adopt more hygienic, healthy and environmentally friendly behaviors.

Saudis are no exception. Many are embracing healthier lifestyles and practices, seeking natural products to improve their health and prevent diseases, resulting in a growing demand for local eco-friendly, natural and organic beauty products.
According to a recent Mordor Intelligence forecast on the Saudi beauty market from 2021 to 2026, there is a growing demand for natural, organic, herbal and halal products, along with innovative and eco-friendly packaging and designs.
Homegrown young businesses offering naturally made self-care and cosmetic products are noticing increased interest by consumers in their products.
“There had been a growing demand for our products with the pandemic because people are becoming more aware of their wellbeing and they want a healthier lifestyle,” Amani Daghriri, owner of Sun Pharmacy, told Arab News.
Sun Pharmacy (@sun_pharmacy) is the first of its kind in the Kingdom to specialize in fully organic daily skin and personal care products made in Saudi Arabia.
“Every crisis has its bright side, and the pandemic has definitely helped us grow, especially with the shift toward e-commerce, which allowed more people to learn about our store and to try our products,” she added.
Daghriri said that more people are now prioritizing the safety of ingredients and formulas on their skin, which is a message she is keen to communicate.

HIGHLIGHT

According to a recent Mordor Intelligence forecast on the Saudi beauty market from 2021 to 2026, there is a growing demand for natural, organic, herbal and halal products, along with innovative and eco-friendly packaging and designs.

“The skin is the biggest organ in the body, and the first defender of our immunity. Applying chemicals weakens it, but feeding your skin with natural products that are similar to the structure of our cells and bodies helps preserve its glow and health, and therefore the health of the entire body,” she said.
At Sun Pharmacy, Daghriri targets consumers looking for daily use self-care products such as toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo. However, women between 20 and 60 make up most of her clients.
The fast growth of the natural products market reflects the rise in public awareness, said Daghriri. “This market is growing very quickly. When I started five years ago, there were hardly 10 people working in the field, but now it is very difficult to count.”
Although handmade natural products are seen as cost-effective, easy to make and consumer attractive, Daghriri insists that it is a knowledge-based craft that can be expensive, but is also good value.
She believes that business owners in the natural products industry must obtain the necessary knowledge not only to support their business and expand their products line, but also to better serve consumers, gain their trust and eliminate mistakes.
As the home became the new spa during the pandemic, DIY and natural self-care recipes saw significant growth worldwide. “I see many DIY recipes everywhere,” said Daghriri, “but these recipes are prone to fail, rot quickly or interact in an unpleasant way.”
She said that investment in this field requires knowledge about how to produce products properly to gain confidence in your abilities and earn the consumers’ trust.
Sun Pharmacy is permitted by the Saudi Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to establish its own lab and manufacture its own products.
“The FDA procedures are much easier today than in the past for those who work in our field,” said Daghriri. “In the past, the permit was conditional to factories, but they later made an exception for those who work from home or their own private places to produce their products until they become a factory.”
She also highlighted that products registration is made accessible online, so any registered business can submit its products for approval and release in the market.
Sun Pharmacy closely follows Daghriri’s own lifestyle, beliefs and principles, a fact that she believes is essential for these types of businesses.
“This is not a profit-driven business; passion and faith are necessary to grow,” she said. “I believe the more effort I give, the better the results.”
Daghriri has confidence in the effectiveness of her products, and hopes to expand in the wider MENA region as a leading Saudi brand in the “clean beauty” industry.
Essence (@essence__sa) is another young Saudi startup that offers natural handmade self-care products to Saudi consumers.
The Instagram-based store is run by a mother, Rhonda Howard, and her daughter Lujain Malibari.
“We have always been passionate about using natural skincare, and we want to share our favorites with our customers and people who have the same passion as we do,” Malibari told Arab News.
Essense offers homemade natural essential oil skincare to women customers, but is planning to expand with a product line for men.
Malibari said: “More people are becoming interested in natural remedies for their skin and want to know what’s in their products. We see this trend in Saudi Arabia as well.”
The pandemic has led to an increase in sales for young brands such as Essence.
However, Malibari said: “Our loyal customers have stayed loyal, but it has made it difficult to attract new customers.”
With the safety of products a major concern for potential users of handmade products, Daghriri advises people to refrain from buying products that fail to list ingredients since not all natural components will suit everyone.
Packaging and the right storage for natural products is also important for safety.
“We take pride in using the best of ingredients and in our hygiene practices in the preparation of the products. We make sure that our products are packaged in safe containers that support essential oils, too,” said Malibari.
Regardless of how big or small the business is, those working in the natural beauty industry bear the responsibility of educating customers about ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle and achieve healthy beauty. Both Sun Pharmacy and Essence make knowledge not only a message but also an essential marketing factor.
“We educate ourselves to provide the best quality for our customers,” said Daghriri.
Both Essence and Sun Pharmacy are proud local Saudi brands based in Jeddah that were launched from home. The two businesses are registered at Maroof, a platform launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment for online stores.
“What was really exciting when I first started was the ‘Made in Saudi’ label — it brings me joy and pride every time I stick that label on my boxes,” said Daghriri.


Jeddah favorite Entrecote Petit Louis is now taking Riyadh by storm

Jeddah favorite Entrecote Petit Louis is now taking Riyadh by storm
Entrecote Petit Louis chef Brice Alexandre believes it is important, as part of Saudi Vision 2030, to provide more food options, including authentic French cuisine. (Supplied)
Updated 10 April 2021

Jeddah favorite Entrecote Petit Louis is now taking Riyadh by storm

Jeddah favorite Entrecote Petit Louis is now taking Riyadh by storm
  • Chef Brice Alexandre gives Arab News a glimpse behind the scenes of the new restaurant, and shares some secrets of its signature steak dish

RIYADH: If you are searching for the authentic Parisian taste of entrecote in Saudi Arabia, there is a good chance you will end up at Entrecote Petit Louis.

Its story begins in 2013 with the opening in Jeddah of French restaurant Brasserie Louis, which offered a full menu. In 2017 the first Entrecote Petit Louis opened in the city, with a smaller menu focusing on entrecote, and quickly built a loyal following.

Now diners in Riyadh are discovering why it has been such a hit, as the second Entrecote Petit Louis opened on March 15 in the capital. It is already proving extremely popular, despite minimal advertising or promotion.

For the uninitiated, entrecote is a high-quality cut of beef used for steaks. At Entrecote Petit Louis it is grilled to perfection and served Cafe de Paris-style, with a creamy, buttery herb sauce, and a side of crispy, salted French fries.

The menu is masterminded by 37-year-old executive chef Brice Alexandre. An expert in authentic French cuisine and the art of entrecote, he has been cooking since the age of 15 and has diplomas in pastry, cooking and baking. He was previously executive chef of Restaurant Bon in Paris, chef de cuisine at Carre Mer in Villeneuve-les-Maquelone, and executive sous chef at the 5-star Hotel le Brussels in Val-d’Isere.

Alexandre gave Arab News a glimpse behind the scenes of the new restaurant in Riyadh, including a look at the kitchen and a few tantalizing details about the signature Entrecote Petit Louis sauce which, he said, is so good that plates are often wiped clean by diners. The exact recipe is, of course, a closely guarded secret but he revealed that it includes many ingredients, including herbs, spices and butter, which combine to give it a unique, intricate flavor.

The interior of the new Entrecôte Petit Louis restaurant in Riyadh. (Supplied)

The three-course menu at Entrecote Petit Louis is characterized by its simplicity. There is a single starter: a classic walnut salad, consisting of crisp, freshly chopped lettuce in a creamy, honey mustard and vinaigrette dressing, and sprinkled with crunchy walnuts.

Traditionally, entrecote restaurants offer only one signature main-course — steak, of course — but Entrecote Petit Louis gives diners a choice: the classic entrecote Cafe de Paris with french fries, or fish and chips Petit Louis.

To finish the meal, there is a variety of desserts to choose from, including creme brulee, chocolate mousse, ice cream, apple pie or panna cotta.

“When the customer arrives at the restaurant, we have a concept of one starter, with two (main) platter choices and multiple dessert choices,” Alexandre told Arab News. “Once the customer is seated we ask him whether he prefers fish or meat; if he chooses meat, we ask him about the degree of doneness he prefers.”

While it is nice to have a choice, the entrecote Cafe de Paris is undoubtedly the star of this show. Its preparation begins with the selection of a premium cut of beef. Alexandre said his aim is for the dish to be as close as possible to the traditional versions served in France. To achieve this he uses only the highest-quality ingredients to ensure the most authentic flavors.

“We use the beef tenderloin because it is very low in fat and it is the best cut of beef. It is the most tender cut,” said Alexandre. The meat is grilled to the perfect tenderness, so that it melts in the mouth.

“The best level of doneness is blue or rare but in Saudi Arabia, people prefer it to be well-done,” the chef added. Waiters therefore encourage customers to consider having the meat cooked closer to rare or medium rare, to intensify the flavors.

Alexandre said that as the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program of reforms continues to transform the country, he believes it is important that the population is introduced to new flavors and tastes, including authentic French cuisine. With this in mind, additional Entrecote Petit Louis locations are planned for the Kingdom, along with an expansion of the Jeddah restaurant.

“We are opening French restaurants to allow people to discover the gastronomy and the know-how of France,” he added.

 


Where We Are Going Today: Caliente

Where We Are Going Today: Caliente
Photo/Supplied
Updated 10 April 2021

Where We Are Going Today: Caliente

Where We Are Going Today: Caliente
  • Inspired by Latin culture, the ambiance of the food truck is represented by bright colors and decorations

In the downtown area of Jeddah city lies “Caliente,” a very unique food truck that offers an array of Latin cuisine options.
Caliente owner and chef Abdulrahman Enani was featured in the American reality cooking competition television series “Top Chef.” He sharpened his culinary skills in South America and has also taken cooking courses in California.
The food truck promotes fun vibes, good music and really delicious authentic food. It offers different Latin varieties such as mojo sandwiches, yuca fries and other amazing options.
Inspired by Latin culture, the ambiance of the food truck is represented by bright colors and decorations. Its refreshing thirst-quenching drinks include orange oregano iced tea and mangonada while the pina colada island ice cream is served in a fresh coconut.
If you are craving sashimi, Caliente offers a traditional seafood favorite in Peru called ceviche, which is also the chef’s signature dish.
Located at Prince Naif Road in Jeddah. For more information, visit the Instagram account @caliente_foodtruck.


What We Are Eating Today: Granny’s Crumbs in Jeddah

What We Are Eating Today: Granny’s Crumbs in Jeddah
Updated 09 April 2021

What We Are Eating Today: Granny’s Crumbs in Jeddah

What We Are Eating Today: Granny’s Crumbs in Jeddah

Granny’s Crumbs is a Saudi homemade pastry business based in Jeddah. It offers world-class baked goods with a touch of cozy home style, inspired by the high quality and complex authentic recipes of England and Vienna’s famous cafes.
The grandmother of the family who run the business gained extensive knowledge of baking during her travels around the world, with the recipes inspired by how she then replicated the delicious baked goods for her grandchildren.
The signature is the multi-flavored, freshly baked Scottish scones, made with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, figs, and walnuts with white glaze. It also offers apple spice crumble, ideal with tea.
Granny’s Crumbs also offers a collection of sweet and savory baked goods that are free from preservatives and artificial colors. All fillings and flavors used are homemade too, with savory flavors for scones including parmesan, dried tomato, chilli, and olive, as well as a variety of toasted loaves, cakes, and breads, and delicious finger foods such as mini brioche with different toppings including chocolate, dried blueberry, cranberry, and raisin.


What We Are Eating Today: Zgni Eats

What We Are Eating Today: Zgni Eats
Updated 02 April 2021

What We Are Eating Today: Zgni Eats

What We Are Eating Today: Zgni Eats

Jeddah city’s diverse cultures are reflected in its array of local and international restaurants, one of which is Zgni Eats, a new option that offers Eritrean cuisine with a modern twist.

If there was one dish to embody the restaurant, it would be “zigni,” a typical traditional dish consisting of either beef or chicken, vegetables, and a special hot spice called “berbere,” simmered for a long time to develop a deep flavor.

Eritrean food is well known for its giant, pancake-like flatbreads called “injera,” made of gluten-free sorghum flour, and used as an edible plate. 

“Sheero” is another authentic dish, a vegetarian option made of a thick chickpea stew, that can be spread on injera, while rich curries with boiled eggs and green salads also play a central role in the restaurant’s menu. For dessert, its delicious caramel pudding is particularly good. 

You can find more information via Zgni Eats’ Instagram account, @zgni_eats.