Buttermilk is a restaurant and bakery in the Al-Nakheel district of Riyadh serving classic American food.
It is inspired by southern cuisine and its hospitality, offering an array of traditional choices, from American pie, cornbread and mac & cheese to the famous Nashville chicken. That dish is presented with a country-style twist —a big portion of fried chicken and bread served in a basket.
Buttermilk’s signature order is the Harlem classic, buttermilk-fried chicken and waffle with honey and hot sauce on top of it. The delicious combination of sweet and salty with the crispness on the outside and the lightness of the waffle make it one of the best brunches you could ever taste.
Buttermilk is the go-to place for celebrations, as its relaxed and comfortable ambiance will suit your special occasions.
If you are into fine smoked ribs, you can choose your favorite style from the range on offer and enjoy a tender piece of beef covered with barbecue sauce. They also offer many types of steaks.
A Chinese tea and dim sum masterclass at London’s Yauatcha restaurant in Riyadh
Experience authentic Oriental culture in the heart of Riyadh
Updated 24 June 2021
RIYADH: Yauatcha promises a “fine dining experience that fuses dim sum, mixology, tea, and European patisserie.”
Since opening its flagship location in London in 2004, Yauatcha has expanded globally, opening in Mumbai and Bengaluru too, and then in Riyadh just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year (it reopened in June 2020).
Now the restaurant is offering a new “Art of Tea” masterclass. It’s a perfect couple’s activity — but not a particularly family-friendly one as kids will likely get bored quickly — and a fascinating introduction to the complex world of Chinese teas.
The masterclass is a private 45-minute experience that takes guests through a selection of traditional, authentic Chinese teas. You’ll discover the soft and subtle notes behind the leaves, the proper brewing and serving techniques, along with dim sum pairings that help accentuate the flavor profiles of each tea. Apart from tasting a wide variety of teas, you’ll also learn about their origins and history, and the range of health benefits that traditional Chinese medicine attributes to each blend.
The exclusive one-on-one masterclass is hosted in the restaurant’s rooftop bar and focuses on five types of tea: white tea, green tea, blue oolong tea, black tea, and a flavored dark tea.
Our sommelier and beverage manager Jegaan was hugely experienced and took us step-by-step through the masterclass, answering questions and sharing personal anecdotes along the way. By the end of the class, we’d learned a lot of valuable information about the proper brewing techniques — such as the correct temperatures to bring out the true flavors and hidden notes of the teas. What made the masterclass so enjoyable was how interactive and personal it felt. This wasn't a lecture about teas and their origins; it was an experience that allowed us to immerse ourselves in Chinese culture.
The Art of Tea Masterclass is only available between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. through reservation and costs SAR250 (roughly $65).
For the same price, you can also treat yourself to the Yauatcha afternoon tea, which combines a classic European high tea with a blend of Eastern flavors. We would definitely recommend booking a table on the restaurant’s patio overlooking downtown Riyadh so that when the staff present a patisserie selection in an impressive ladder display you have the picture-perfect Insta-moment — especially if you time it for sunset.
From the variety of teas on offer, we selected the French Earl Grey (Golden Swan and Harmutty were also available), which is infused with citrus flavors and blue cornflower, giving an aromatic and soothing blend.
The afternoon tea included two types of dim sum platter. The classic steamed contained shrimp (har gau), scallops siu main and seafood black truffle dumplings, all of which were delicious, offering a blend of seafood and umami flavors with a hint of truffles and mushrooms — a great option for seafood lovers.
The baked dim sum platter consisted of sesame prawn toast, mushroom spring roll, and venison puff. The latter was the highlight — the warm venison nestled in the flakiest puff imaginable.
The extensive dessert options offered something for everyone. The lemon crème with sables Breton (salted-butter cookies) gave a sweet citrus hit, for example, while the pecan coffee cube was a deep, rich, nutty delight.
The standout dessert, though, was the hazelnut yuzu chocolate bag — a mini handbag made of chocolate and hazelnut with a yuzu bar tucked inside. Not only is it a delicious use of the East Asian yuzu fruit (a hybrid citrus fruit), but the floral-decorated mini chocolate handbag gives you another perfect Instagram picture.
The afternoon tea runs from noon to 8 p.m., and we would recommend booking after 3 p.m. if you’re going to sit outdoors.
With its blend of authentic culture and delicious flavors — topped off with several stunning photo opportunities — we’re sure Yauatcha will continue to be as popular in Riyadh as it has proved to be elsewhere.
After steering clear of the pandemic, Saudi food trucks have the recipe for success
‘Kitchens on wheels’ are increasingly popular; their high mobility means they are well-placed to thrive in a post-COVID era
Updated 21 June 2021
JEDDAH: Food trucks, or “kitchens on wheels,” have been a growing culinary trend in many countries in recent years and Saudi Arabia is no exception. They are now familiar sights on streets, at beaches, at malls, in parks and other open spaces — in short, anywhere they can park.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, the mobility and flexibility of food trucks meant they were relatively well-placed to survive the crisis by offering an alternative to indoor dining, catering to people who miss the experience of a sit-down meal but want a better alternative than a traditional takeaway or home delivery.
As many businesses focused on finding new revenue streams during the health crisis, Taha Ashi, the owner of Daddy’s Grill food truck, which specializes in burgers, decided to seize the opportunity during the uncertain times by expanding into new neighborhoods. He owns three food trucks in Jeddah and plans to launch a restaurant this year.
Before the pandemic, he said he was serving an average of about 100 customers a day but that sales and profits fluctuated. During the pandemic, he added, sales have increased by about 20 percent.
“Food trucks are well-equipped to withstand pandemic restrictions, as they are naturally to-go and socially distanced businesses,” Ashi told Arab News.
“I focused on ways to maintain my customer base by, for example, connecting with the online delivery services and cultivating a social-media presence. All of that added up to a significant increase in sales.”
In 2016, he was one of the first people in Saudi Arabia to launch a food truck, which has much lower overhead costs than a traditional restaurant. Therefore, for anyone interested in getting into the catering business, especially in the coronavirus era, Ashi believes the food truck sector is a good option, not least because it is supported by the government. In some areas, for example, there are no charges for electricity or rent, which helps to keep costs down.
Not all food truck businesses have coped with the pandemic quite as well as Ashi’s have, however. Abdul Aziz Al-Fadel — who owns the X Bite food truck, which also serves burgers, and a restaurant — said many small businesses have suffered in the past year and food trucks are no exception.
He told Arab News his business has had a rough time as a result of reduced trade, but that the challenges have pushed owners of catering businesses to become more innovative and creative in finding ways to connect with customers.
Food trucks are well-equipped to withstand pandemic restrictions, as they are naturally to-go and socially distanced businesses.
Taha Ashi, Owner of Daddy’s Grill food truck
“The sudden evaporation of events, concerts, festivals and gatherings left us confused,” said Al-Fadel. “Sales plunged by 60 to 70 percent.”
As the pandemic wore on, however, he said he began to adapt. He took advantage of the mobile nature of his business and visited more areas, took orders online and signed up with delivery services. He also launched a BBQ kit to the menu, which provides all the ingredients needed to cook authentic X Bite burgers at home. It proved to be a big hit and helped to boost sales.
A food truck is a less risky way to get started in the catering business than opening a traditional bricks-and-mortar cafe or restaurant, said Al-Fadel.
“After running a successful food truck our business grew and we launched a restaurant,” he explained. “A food truck business is cheaper to run and doesn’t need many people in the beginning to operate, so there is no worry about making payroll.”
He also had some advice for anyone interesting in launching their own truck. They must always maintain the highest standards of safety, he said, and need to be prepared to withstand challenges and adapt to adverse conditions.
“Most importantly, this business is seasonal,” he added. “During the summers the business is harsh, and in winter the sales go up. So the prospective owners need to experiment with new ideas that can help them continue to generate revenue.”
The potential rewards of building a popular food truck business are great and include, as the experiences of Ashi and Al-Fadel show, the possibility of expanding by opening a traditional restaurant. For others, the focus for now remains on their kitchens on wheels.
Ahmed Al-Hijri, who owns the CheeseSteak food truck, told Arab News that his business survived the pandemic because he worked long hours and embraced the use of delivery apps and social media to better engage with customers.
“We were actually able to net enough (income) to keep the business moving forward,” he said.
Because they require less capital investment and involve less financial risk, Al-Hijri added, food trucks offer a fantastic opportunity to enter a market that previously presented prospective entrepreneurs with much greater barriers.
As a result, he said, they can establish their brand on a smaller scale before attempting to grow and expand the business by opening a restaurant or franchising the trucks.
International Sushi Day: Delicious spots to try in Saudi Arabia
Updated 18 June 2021
In honor of International Sushi Day celebrated on June 18, here are six sushi spots to try in Saudi Arabia, rounded up by Arab News Japan.
This modern and casual restaurant on Prince Saud Al-Faisal Road in Jeddah feature custom dishes such as a Japanese burrito and attractive lunch offers.
Owner Khulood Olaqi turned this home-based online store into a fully-fledged restaurant where she is both a chef and manager. Cozy, warm and welcoming, Oishii Sushi is located in Riyadh.
Promising sushi that is “rolled to perfection,” the restaurant also provides traditional Japanese food that is rich in flavor and flair. Sushi Centro has two branches in Saudi Arabia, one in Jeddah in Centro Shaheen Hotel, and the other in Riyadh’s Centro Waha Hotel.
Nozomi’s menu is internationally renowned and award-winning, offering an unrivaled fine-dining experience on Riyadh’s Dabab Street.
A hip restaurant that plays host to business meetings, gossip and fast-paced service at a dimly lit sushi bar, Wakame has three branches in Jeddah: In Ar Rawdah district, in Obhur and on Al-Malik Road.
A franchise with branches in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar where guests can enjoy anime with their sushi.
Arab News visits the recently opened Cup & Cat Café in As-Sahafah
Updated 18 June 2021
RIYADH: The cat café phenomenon — which began in Taiwan more than 20 years ago — has finally reached the Saudi capital.
The Cup & Cat Café is located in Riyadh’s As-Sahafah district. When we visited, we saw people of all ages coming to enjoy the cats, from university students studying on their laptops, to small toddlers running around petting their furry friends.
It is designed to be a calming place — from the relaxing music to the light, neutral colors of the walls and furniture. all of which immediately puts visitors at ease.
On the ground floor of the two-story establishment are booths and seating areas for guests, along with a coffee bar. The café offers a fairly standard selection of drinks, including coffees and blended beverages such as chocolate milkshakes and cold mojitos. There are also snacks on offer, including French fries, cakes and pastries.
The food is fine, but nothing to get excited about. But, let’s face it, no one’s visiting a cat café because they want to get a great meal. Instead, they’re going to grab their drinks and head up the stairs (or take the elevator) to the second story, where the main attractions await.
The cats’ ‘home base’ is sectioned off by a gate and is, happily, extremely well-maintained. There are plenty of resting areas for the cats, and even a separate ‘quiet room’ with glass walls where visitors can sit in a calm space with the animal(s) of their choice.
It’s worth mentioning that there are currently only three cats in the café, however, but the baristas did mention that they plan to expand and add more in the near future.
Potential visitors will likely have some concerns over hygiene and smells, but this was honestly one of the cleanest cafés we have visited in Riyadh; every surface was immaculate and there are sanitizer stations placed throughout along with a chart of procedures on every table to ensure the cats are being handled in a safe, hygienic manner that is enjoyable for both humans and animals. This is an all-ages café, and such advice is particularly important for young children who wish to handle the cats.
The Cup & Cat Café is actually a great place for kids to learn about interacting safely with animals and to learn more about pets’ needs. The whole place is very family-friendly, with a children’s section upstairs equipped with a selection of books, a TV, and several small cat toys.
But it’s also a good place to just hang out with some friends (it’s open until 2 a.m.) or to get on with some work, especially when it first opens at 4 p.m. It’s a quiet location with free wi-fi, so you can bring along your laptop, find a secluded corner and get to work — possibly with a cat on your lap.
Overall, our visit was a very therapeutic experience. It’s hard to feel stressed with a purring kitty next to you, and it seemed that the animals themselves were happy with the situation too — they were all very friendly with guests, allowing themselves to be petted and fussed over. Expect to see the Cup & Cat Café making plenty of appearances on social media over the summer.
Carnivore Kitchen is a Saudi local brand specializing in smoked food.
The business was originally established as a home venture by friends Sari Al-Harbi and Elyassin Al-Bukhari but has grown in line with its popularity among meat eaters.
Offering smoked meats, vegetables, and nuts with a Saudi twist, customers can pick from a range of cuts including chicken, full lamb with vegetables, and smoked najel fish.
Equipment capable of smoking up to 200 kilograms of meat per week produces tender and moist brisket that has been cooked for more than 18 hours, and the company’s lamb products are made over 12 hours using the same seasonings and smoking techniques as for American brisket. For more information, check Instagram @carnivore.k