Startup of the Week: Ohayou — a place to enjoy good food and different art forms

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watermelon salad, with kale, cherry tomatoes, refreshing diced watermelon, fried feta cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 25 February 2020

Startup of the Week: Ohayou — a place to enjoy good food and different art forms

  • Salamah, who is the chef of the restaurant, has had a passion for cooking and painting since her childhood

Owned by four Saudi sisters, Ohayou (meaning “good morning” in Japanese) aims to offer a platform to local artists where they can showcase their talents in a comfortable environment and people can also enjoy food while appreciating the skills of local photographers, filmmakers, painters, dancers and chefs.
It is said cooking is also an art and these Saudi sisters have combined different art forms with cooking to come up with this novel idea in the Kingdom.
“The main entrance to the restaurant has a big wall art, which done by me,” said Nada Salamah, one of the co-founders of Ohayou.
Each of the sisters plays a different role in the restaurant in shifts.
“One greets and seats the guests; another takes orders and looks after customers’ needs. One manages the flow of customers (and services) and ensures everything is going into the kitchen and out in order. Lastly, you will find one in the kitchen cooking and playing with dishes, and double checking every dish before it is presented,” Salamah said.
Salamah, who is the chef of the restaurant, has had a passion for cooking and painting since her childhood.
“I’m a huge breakfast lover! I used to wake up at 7:30 a.m. just to enjoy my breakfast meal in time,” she said.
Salamah used to work at a firm where creativity and thinking outside the box was never an option.
“One day, I was sitting in my cubicle searching images about restaurants and when the idea (of opening a restaurant) struck me. Instead of looking at nice photos why not make one of my own! Why don’t I quit and start something I am passionate about. So I started brainstorming and doing sketches. I took time off each day and visited different sites and started comparing prices. When I got everything figured out, I quit (my job),” she said.
“When I finally found a good spot for Ohayou, I started visualizing the design and menu,” she added.
With fresh ingredients and an eye-popping variety of dishes, Salamah said Ohayou’s bestsellers are its Manakeesh with homemade pesto, zaatar, and mozzarella cheese. The classic French toast, with crusted homemade brioche bread, maple syrup and barriers are for those with a sweet tooth. There are many other delicacies on offer at the restaurant including sweet potato croquette, slow-roasted brisket, poached eggs and chipotle hollandaise.
Salamah pointed out that she opened Ohayou five months ago.
“It is doing well.  A few hiccups here and there but all can be handled. There is always room for improvement and that’s why we really care about our customer’s feedback,” she said.
Salamah, however, faced some challenges since the opening of her restaurant.
“Every challenge makes you grow stronger and you truly learn from every single mistake you make. It’s an ongoing process,” said Salamah.
 “I am obsessed with anything Japanese so Ohayou was a perfect name for me,” she said.
“The food is mainly breakfast and Japanese-infused dishes are going to be on the menu, so stay tuned,” she added.


Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister

Updated 07 April 2020

Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister

  • Minister added it was vital the public cooperated with the government’s instructions and precautionary measures

RIYADH: The number of COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia could reach up to 200,000 within a few weeks, according to the Kingdom’s health minister.

Citing four Saudi and international studies on Tuesday, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the case figure is likely to see a constant increase rather than a decrease, Saudi Press Agency reported.

"Within the next few weeks, studies predict the number of infections will range from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 200,000," Al-Rabiah said.

The minister added it was vital the public cooperated with the government’s instructions and precautionary measures to limit the number of infections.

“There is no doubt that our commitment to the instructions and procedures, in its entirety reduces the number of cases to the minimum, while non-compliance will lead to a huge increase in the number of cases,” he said.

“We stand today at a decisive moment as a society in raising our sense of responsibility and contributing together with determination to stop the spread of this pandemic,”

Many people were not taking the dangers of the pandemic seriously enough, according to the health minister, adding that the Kingdom had death with the crisis with full “transparency and clarity.”

The Saudi health ministry also announced on Tuesday that there were a total of 2,795 confirmed cases and the death toll from the virus in the Kingdom had reached 41.

A 24-hour curfew and lockdown has been imposed in the cities of Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran and Al-Hofuf and in the governorates of Jeddah, Taif, Qatif and Khobar in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Last week, King Salman issued a decree which ordered treatment to be available for anyone in need of medical care, including people who have overstayed their visa in the Kingdom.