Paws for thought: Inside Riyadh’s first cat café

Paws for thought: Inside Riyadh’s first cat café
The cafe 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. (Supplied)
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Updated 18 June 2021

Paws for thought: Inside Riyadh’s first cat café

Paws for thought: Inside Riyadh’s first cat café
  • Arab News visits the recently opened Cup & Cat Café in As-Sahafah

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.




The Cup & Cat Café is located in Riyadh’s As-Sahafah district. (Supplied)

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.




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. (Supplied)

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 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. (Supplied)

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.


Lyna Khoudri shines in Chanel at ‘French Dispatch’ premiere

Lyna Khoudri wore a Chanel ensemble at the Paris premiere of 'The French Dispatch.' (Getty Images)
Lyna Khoudri wore a Chanel ensemble at the Paris premiere of 'The French Dispatch.' (Getty Images)
Updated 25 October 2021

Lyna Khoudri shines in Chanel at ‘French Dispatch’ premiere

Lyna Khoudri wore a Chanel ensemble at the Paris premiere of 'The French Dispatch.' (Getty Images)

DUBAI: Fashion wise, Lyna Khoudri has been hitting all the marks during the press tour for her latest film, “The French Dispatch.” The Algerian-French actress, along with the movie’s star-studded cast, began promoting the Wes Anderson flick back in July at the Cannes Film Festival, where Khoudri turned heads wearing an elegant look by Chanel, complete with a semi-sheer cream colored lace shirt tucked into a black skirt with tulle overlay. This week, the 29-year-old continued her fashion streak, wearing another Chanel ensemble for the movie’s Paris premiere on Oct. 24.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by lynakhoudri (@lynakhoudri)

Khoudri, who plays Juliette, a radical motorcycle-riding student activist and co-star Timothee Chalamet’s love interest, hit the red carpet wearing a full Chanel look from the Parisian label’s Fall 2021 ready-to-wear collection, which consisted of a graphic jacket paired with a lace camisole and loose trousers. She accessorized the ensemble with black pumps and a Chanel clutch.

Lyna Khoudri wore a Chanel ensemble at the Paris premiere of 'The French Dispatch.' (Getty Images)

The Algerian-born actress is a Chanel house favorite.

The award-winning actress – who won the Orizzonti Award for Best Actress at the 74th Venice International Film Festival and received a César Award in 2020 – is a front row fixture at the Parisian maison’s fashion shows and can almost always be seen championing Chanel creations at important red carpet events.

Also, back in April, the fashion house invited the “Papicha” star to join an on-camera conversation with writer Camille Laurens and Chanel house ambassador Charlotte Casiraghi.

The actress arrived at the premiere with her castmates Léa Seydoux, Alexandre Desplat and Cécile De France.

Anderson was also at the Paris premiere.

“The French Dispatch” is an affectionate portrait of a weekly literary magazine situated in the fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé. It is an anthology film, structured like an issue of The New Yorker, with three separate features, a travel story and an obituary. Critics were mixed on the film, praising the movie’s full-hearted tribute to 20th century magazine and Anderson’s intricate image-making.

“Wes has been a Parisian for 10 years now. He knows France, and he really knows French movies,” Khoudri told WWD magazine of the movie. “And he wanted to give us his vision,” she added.


SALT set to delight foodies in Saudi Arabia for Riyadh Season

SALT set to delight foodies in Saudi Arabia for Riyadh Season
SALT was established in 2014. Instagram
Updated 25 October 2021

SALT set to delight foodies in Saudi Arabia for Riyadh Season

SALT set to delight foodies in Saudi Arabia for Riyadh Season

DUBAI: SALT, the popular food truck, is opening its doors in Saudi Arabia’s capital for 2021 Riyadh Season, taking place from October 2021 to March 2022.

The metallic food truck illustrated with burgers, ice cream cones and a saltshaker is the brainchild of two entrepreneurs, Emirati Amal Al-Marri and Saudi Deem Albassam. Established in 2014, SALT revolutionized and legalized the concepts of food trucks in the region — the two women single-handedly propelled Dubai’s food truck movement with their forward-thinking eatery.

The founders spoke to Arab News about their latest foray into Saudi Arabia, just in time for Riyadh Season.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by S A L T (@findsalt)

“SALT being a lifestyle movement, we always aim to stay away from locations that will only serve food and target a destination that delivers an experience. Therefore, we have chosen to be part of 1st Golf in Riyadh Boulevard — a new type of sport that we are excited to be part of and serve our salters.

“We are very excited to celebrate and enjoy the season with our salters,” the founders added, referring to Riyadh Season’s jam-packed schedule of events.

The Gulf-born eatery reinvented how people experience food while filling a major hole in the dining landscape and attracting tourists from around the globe.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by S A L T (@findsalt)

Before setting up permanent locations in Dubai, Ajman and Abu Dhabi, SALT was always on the move. It initially launched as a social media campaign — social media users looking to fuel up had to follow @FindSalt on Instagram to get the inside scoop on where the truck would be parked, rush to the undisclosed location and enjoy the dining project’s fresh, premium food, sourced locally where possible, to go.

The eatery has delighted Saudi fans in the past by bringing a popup concept to the capital and Dammam, with SALT Camp and SALT Island respectively.

A SALT diner is also located in Riyadh Park Mall.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by S A L T (@findsalt)

“We have a very strong (base of) loyal Saudi followers that appreciate our concept of enjoying the simple things and are always curious to find where the next SALT is,” the founders said.

SALT celebrates casual but delicious street food. Think succulent beef and chicken sliders, refreshing lemonade and mouth-watering ice cream cones to satisfy any sweet tooth, with the owners adding they “always adapt the experience to the destination we are in.” 


Lebanese stars Nancy Ajram, Ragheb Alama to headline Expo 2020 concert in November

Lebanese superstars Nancy Ajram (pictured) and Ragheb Alama will co-headline the second Infinite Nights show on Nov. 12. (AFP)
Lebanese superstars Nancy Ajram (pictured) and Ragheb Alama will co-headline the second Infinite Nights show on Nov. 12. (AFP)
Updated 25 October 2021

Lebanese stars Nancy Ajram, Ragheb Alama to headline Expo 2020 concert in November

Lebanese superstars Nancy Ajram (pictured) and Ragheb Alama will co-headline the second Infinite Nights show on Nov. 12. (AFP)

DUBAI: Hot on the heels of Iraqi singer Kadim Al-Sahir’s performance that launched Expo 2020’s Infinite Night series, Lebanese superstars Nancy Ajram and Ragheb Alama will co-headline the second Infinite Nights show on Nov. 12.

Alama will perform hits from his 30-year career in a performance that will highlight how music connects humans, from all corners of the world, in line with Expo’s Mobility subtheme.

 Alama said: “I want to mix cultures together. I want their audience to hear me, and I want my audience to hear them. I have always liked opening doors, and Expo’s Infinite Night Series is the perfect platform to make this happen.”

 Singer, actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ajram will perform her biggest hits in a performance under the dome of Al Wasl Plaza.

 “When we all work together and collaborate, we can learn to live in harmony with each other and the world around us. I cannot wait to be part of Expo 2020’s incredible journey – I hope my show will inspire positivity amongst young people around the globe to cherish the world we live in,” she said.

A stellar line-up of global and regional performers will headline the six-month Infinite Nights series, with both physical and virtual shows.


‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ breathes new life into deadly franchise

Credit is due to lead actress Madison Iseman for elevating her character to more than just a simple scream queen. (Supplied)
Updated 25 October 2021

‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ breathes new life into deadly franchise

Credit is due to lead actress Madison Iseman for elevating her character to more than just a simple scream queen. (Supplied)

LONDON: Amazon Prime’s latest reimagining of a tried-and-tested franchise sees Lois Duncan’s 1973 Young Adult novel turned into a 10-part horror series (a change in format from the 1997 movie adaptation starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jennifer Love Hewitt) that, much like its new platform, feels tailored for a 21st century audience. This time around, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” features a fresh roster of teenagers with questionable morals — only now they have cellphones, Instagram followers and frequently reference memes.  

One year after the group of unfeasibly attractive teenagers agree to cover up a tragic car accident, they begin to be picked off, one at a time, by a mysterious killer. Frightened to go to the police and admit what they’ve done, the group begin to suspect everyone around them (and, increasingly, each other) of taking revenge for the sins of last summer.

So far, so familiar. Show creator Sara Goodman has a narrative ace up her sleeve, however, though it’s difficult to say much without erring into spoiler territory. Credit is due to lead actress Madison Iseman for elevating her character to more than just a simple scream queen.

Plaudits should also go to whoever choreographed some of the more grizzly set pieces — there is a certain macabre enjoyment in watching the characters meet their untimely end with such flamboyance. Plus, many of the main characters are written to be so unlikable that it is hard to have much sympathy for them as they are stalked by the killer.

After a flurry of initial episodes, Amazon Prime is releasing new instalments weekly, so there is a little wait before the murderer is finally unmasked — and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” plays with that, offering up multiple dead ends and bait-and-switches to ratchet up the tension. Thankfully, there are plenty of overly entitled and unpleasant teenagers left to be put through the wringer.


Rapper Drake serenaded by Palestinian-Canadian dabke group for his birthday

Rapper Drake serenaded by Palestinian-Canadian dabke group for his birthday
Drake poses with the Al-Asala Dabke Group. Instagram
Updated 25 October 2021

Rapper Drake serenaded by Palestinian-Canadian dabke group for his birthday

Rapper Drake serenaded by Palestinian-Canadian dabke group for his birthday

RIYADH: Drake turned 35 on Sunday and celebrated the special occasion with a star-studded costume party in Los Angeles — for which he dressed up as a cowboy — that was attended by his famous friends such as French Montana, Future, Jack Harlow and Kawhi Leonard, among others. However, ahead of the birthday bash, the Grammy award-winning artist was surprised with a more intimate celebration.

A video of the “God’s Plan” rapper being serenaded with an Arabic “zeffe” by the Al-Asala Dabke Group, a group of Palestinian-Canadian dabke performers, went viral online yesterday, resulting in a series of memes on social media.

One user on Twitter even coined a new nickname for the rapper, calling him “Abu Adonis,” which translates to “the father of Adonis” in Arabic.

“Will only be referring to Drake as ‘Abu Adonis’ from now on,” said one user on Twitter.

“Who sent Drake a dabke group for his birthday lol,” probed another.

While it’s uncertain who decided to hire the Al-Asala Dabke Group, who are usually booked to perform at Arab weddings, engagements and graduations, it’s no secret that some of the closest people in the rapper’s circle are of Arab descent.

In fact, the OVO record label is co-owned by Drake, his manager Oliver El-Khatib and his producer Noah “40” Shebib, who are both Lebanese-Canadian.

Recently, rapper Lil Uzi Vert also went viral online after footage of him doing the dabke at a Palestinian wedding surfaced on social media.