Jeddah-based bakery Wildflour offers local homemade desserts and specialized gifts for people who crave the sweet taste of brownies and cookies.
The business chooses simplicity and classic flavors to create memorable dessert foods and baked goods.
Its most popular products include chewy brownie bites with a crumble top and freshly baked bundt cakes in several flavors, including banana and chocolate, and lemon and blueberry.
The bakery uses classic white boxes and decorative wildflower varieties to package its desserts. It also offers gift options, cards and flowers. Wildflour offers catering services for large events and also hosts product giveaways.
One unique product offered by the bakery is the brownie bit mini jar, which dispenses miniature sweet snacks for people following strict diets. It is also good choice for a chocolate treat on the go.
For more information, find the bakery on the food delivery app Lugmety or directly on Instagram @wildflour.bakery.
Three-Michelin starred chef Jason Atherton to open fine dining restaurant in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla
Updated 26 October 2021
RIYADH: AlUla is set to get its first-ever permanent fine-dining restaurant. Maraya Social, helmed by three-michelin star English chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton, will cut the ribbon on its newest location at Saudi Arabia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site on Oct. 27, 2021.
Atherton said in a statement that he “jumped at the chance to be one of the first permanent fine-dining venues in AlUla.”
He added: “My team and I are so impressed by the natural beauty, history and culture of AlUla. I jumped at the chance to be one of the first permanent fine-dining venues in AlUla. The beauty of the Ashar Valley, the native produce and the iconic Maraya architecture are all the ingredients we need for what is sure to be a sought-after destination dining experience.”
Echoing his statement, Phillip Jones, chief destination management and marketing offices, royal commission for AlUla adds: “Maraya Social is set to be a destination restaurant for Middle East and the world. We are delighted for AlUla to be the home of Chef’s first restaurant in Saudi Arabia. AlUla presents a unique opportunity both in terms of the historical setting as well as the untapped pantry of produce and flavors.”
The venue will be located on the rooftop of the mirrored Maraya Hall, offering diners unparalleled 360-degree views of the stunning rock-strewn valleys and canyons of the Ashar Valley as they enjoy a hearty menu featuring seasonal fruits, vegetables and locally-produced ingredients.
“AlUla has an amazing diversity of produce unique to the region and an incredible history and culture which I am excited to explore both in the landscape and in the menu,” said Chef Atherton.
The not-yet-opened restaurant will feature an open-plan design with bespoke furniture made out of luxe fabrics and materials such as silk and cotton in a harmonic color palette, selected to reflect its environment.
Maraya Social will be the newest addition to the Michelin-starred chef’s portfolio of international restaurants as well as his first foray into the Kingdom.
Those who wish to dine at the new venue will be able to make reservations online.
SALT set to delight foodies in Saudi Arabia for Riyadh Season
Updated 25 October 2021
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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
Baking Bouquet is not your typical local bakery. Owners and professional bakers Shatha Engawi and Baraa’ah Mullah wake up every day to create a perfectly balanced and probiotic-rich sourdough.
Engawi began her sourdough business back in 2016 from the comfort of her own home, honing her skills until 2019 when she and Mullah opened their first bakery in Jeddah.
Despite the four-day long process of creating the perfect sourdough, Baking Bouquet offers a variety of goods apart from bread, from regional favorite maamoul and even delicious and gut-friendly waffles.
The time and effort it takes for the two bakers to make the homemade rising agent for every single baked good justifies the price tag on their products. Making sourdough bread is a highly complicated process and requires years of practice.
Believed to have originated from ancient Egypt, in 1500 B.C, the long fermentation process using natural yeasts and friendly bacteria gives the dough its mildly sour taste and distinctive chew.
Engawi and Mulla are striving to create public awareness of the meticulously baked sourdough’s overall health and gut benefits. The cozy ambiance and the aromatic scent of freshly baked dough are guaranteed to give customers a one of a kind experience of an artisanal bakery.
To learn more, find them on Instagram @baking.bouquet.
We see if the award-winning Japanese restaurant lives up to the hype
Updated 22 October 2021
RIYADH: When ROKA opened its doors in downtown Riyadh at the end of July, it was an immediate hit with local food lovers. So much so that reservations needed to be made well in advance.
Now that the hullabaloo around the launch has died down a little, it’s easier to get a spot, but ROKA is proving to be more than a flash in the pan. The Japanese restaurant has won plenty of awards in its home city of London, and its first international branch — which opened in Dubai last year — demonstrated the chain’s eagerness to maintain those high standards. Its latest offering, located in the heart of the Saudi capital, is following suit.
First impressions are good. The interior’s upscale rustic Japanese style and classy lighting suggest an easy, unpretentious sophistication, while its scale — seating for up to 243 guests — shows a confident ambition.
The serving staff were unfailingly excellent; clearly knowledgeable about the food and comfortable recommending a tailored selection based on individual preferences.
Great service and nice decor are all well and good, but the most important ingredient in ROKA’s success is, of course, the menu.
Starting with the mocktails, we sampled nearly every option. One highlight was the Green Yoda — a blend of matcha green tea, passion fruit and a bright burst of lemon; perfect as a palate refresher between courses.
But matcha is an acquired taste. If you’ve yet to acquire it, we’d recommend the White Lotus, a tempting mix of dragon fruit, lychee, strawberry and yuzu that goes well with any meal. We didn’t enjoy the Yuzuki as much, even though it came highly recommended by the ROKA team. It tasted somehow watered down and was quite bland.
Any disappointment at the Yuzuki was quickly tempered by the yellowtail sashimi and yuzu-truffle dressing that got our dinner started with a bang. The earthy truffle flavors were the perfect complement to the subtle sweetness of the melt-in-your-mouth fish — amplifying its natural flavors while preserving the integrity of its cut.
The sweet potato tempura and truffle sauce was less of a hit. The presentation — as with every dish — was superb, but the taste was underwhelming and lacked the punch we were expecting.
We were on safer ground with the king crab, black cod and prawn dumplings with roasted chili dressing, which deserves its tag as one of ROKA’s signature dishes. The exterior of the dumpling had been seared to create a satisfying layer of crunch packed with an array of sweet seafood flavors.
For our maki rolls, we selected the wagyu tartare maki with karashi mustard, along with the crispy prawn and avocado maki with dark sweet soy. Both were fantastic, and we’d list them as must-try options.
The evening’s standout dish, though, was the black cod marinated in yuzu miso and served with pickled radish. The cod’s crunchy exterior and sweet creamy center matched with the tang of the yuzu miso is a perfect combination, making this truly the best cod we’ve tasted in Riyadh. Pair it with ROKA’s baked potato with yuzu cream and chives served tableside to make it even better.
If you’re not a seafood fan, then go for the Robata meat section, which offers a wide selection cooked live at the grilling station. (The restaurant is famed for its Robatayaki cooking method — the grilling technique that gives the meat a satisfying charred flavor.) Our only meat selection was the lamb cutlets with Korean spices and sesame cucumber. Apparently this is one of the stars of the grilled menu, but we found it fell a bit short of ROKA’s general high standards. The plating was once again beautiful — the lamb chops delicately balanced against each other — but the flavors were unbalanced, with the disappointing spice blend overpowering the tenderness of the lamb and leaving little room for flavors to be infused from the grill.
But our night ended on a high note with the yoghurt and almond cake. It’s a favorite on the Dubai branch’s menu and we can see why. The cake’s hard crust hides a warm, fluffy almond sponge that is topped with a mango toffee sauce and a dollop of caramel miso ice cream. It’s essentially an upscale, deconstructed mango cobbler, and it’s delicious; a perfect blend of warm, comforting flavors that brought our dinner to a very satisfying end.
Overall, ROKA justified its reputation as one of Riyadh’s most exciting new eateries.
Six DIY resistance exercises to build muscle at home
Updated 20 October 2021
DUBAI: Nora Hameidani, founder of Dubai’s Barre Effect fitness studio, shows you how to build and maintain strength in or out of the gym. Try these simple yet effective barre moves to help you build lean muscle in the comfort of your own home.
Start with 10 reps, build up to 3 sets of 10
Start with hands slightly wider than shoulders, fingers pointing forward. Place knees slightly behind your hips, tuck hips under. Bend your elbows wide and slightly downwards, hips lower with chest, keeping abdominals engaged, then press arms to straight. For a challenge, legs can lengthen.
Start with 15 reps, build up to 3 sets of 15
While sitting tall with your legs bent in front, place hands under shoulders, with fingers pointing towards your hips. Bend and straighten your elbows, lifting and lowering your hips, keeping your elbows pointing backwards and your chest proud.
Holding still for 30 sec, build up to 3 sets of 30 sec
Lying on your front, place your elbows under shoulders, pointing your fingers forward and keeping your forearms parallel. Keep your legs straight and a hips distance apart, keep hips in line with shoulders or slightly above shoulder height.
Alternating sides for 30 sec, build up to 3 sets of 30 sec
Lying on your back, bring your legs to a tabletop position with your knees bent 90 degrees on top of your hips. With your hands behind your head, elbows wide, engage your abdominals to lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor. Start lengthening one leg at a time to the high diagonal, simultaneously rotating your chest, shoulders and arms towards the opposite, bent leg.
Wide 2nd Pulses
Targets: Inner and outer thighs/glutes
Pulsing for 30 seconds, build up to 3 sets of 30 sec
Place your feet out wide, bending your knees so they stack on top of your heels. Externally rotate your feet so that your knees track through the middle of your foot. Pulse hips at knee height, in small, controlled movements for only about an inch.
Pulsing 1 set of 30 seconds on each leg, build up to 3 sets of 30 seconds per leg
With your feet parallel, hips distance apart, bend both knees and step right leg directly back. Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, front knee on top of heel, back right knee bending slightly behind the torso. Keeping front leg still and stable, pulse back knee in small, controlled movements, only about an inch, toward the floor.