If you are interested in natural healing methods, check out Leafs, a Saudi brand specializing in handmade heat packs for healing muscles and relieving body pain.
Warm compresses are just what you need when you are suffering a cramp, digestive problems or heartburn.
Leafs have created their bags in a range of shapes and sizes for different parts of the body, from a long heat bag for the spine, shoulders and neck to a tiny eye water bag that works just like a sleep mask. It will help to calm your mind and give you a good sleep.
Leaf’s bean bags can be warmed up in the microwave or can be frozen for a cool compress. The textile and lining are made of natural pure cotton.
The bags come in many colors, and Leafs also offer a collection of scented compresses in many fragrances. For more information visit @leafs.sa on Instagram.
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.
Reinventing the wheel: What it takes to merge American pizza with Arab cuisine
Updated 18 October 2021
DUBAI: For the occasion of Pizza Hut’s 25th anniversary of its popular Stuffed Crust pizza, the restaurant has introduced two new crust flavors dedicated to Middle Eastern palettes.
But how do you marry the quintessential American dish with Arab cuisine? Regional Innovation & Quality Director for Pizza Hut Middle East Phil Cusack spoke to Arab News to explain more about what it takes to re-invent the wheel — or the crust — in the world of pizzas.
“Pizza Hut’s innovation over the years has been inspired by both local tastes and favorites as well as globally emerging trends,” Cusack explained.
“The limited edition Chicken Kebab flavor is a great example of an innovation inspired by a popular local Middle Eastern food, where we have taken a much-loved dish such as the traditional kebab and stuffed our famous Stuffed Crust with it. Our garlic butter Stuffed Crust is a reflection of where we have taken an emerging food trend to inspire us, where we are seeing garlic going through a resurgence,” he added.
Since its creation 25 years ago, Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust remains a customer favorite and has been the inspiration for global menu items, including hot dog stuffed crusts, the twisted cheese crust, cheesy lava stuffed crust and more.
“At Pizza Hut we have an innovation hub where we are always creating and testing new and interesting flavor combinations, we also test these with customers,” shared Cusack. “The Chicken Kebab and Garlic were customer favorites, and as they tapped into local tastes and emerging trends, it was the perfect balance.”
The chicken kebab has all the flavors you would expect from the traditional meat dish, with notes of coriander, cumin and paprika.
“Taste is a key factor that we look at when we build our new flavor choices,” notes Cusack. “Flavors must blend with the core pizza ingredients to ensure our pizzas are well balanced and complement each other. The customer is at the heart of everything we do, and we always want to ensure we are giving our customers the tastiest, most delicious flavors that they have come to expect from a Pizza Hut.”
The popular pizza chain, which opened its first Middle Eastern branch nearly 50 years ago, continuously makes an effort to cater to the tastes of its regional clientele.
“Pizza Hut in the UAE has local favorites that include Chicken Shawarma. Pizza Hut in Oman caters to its high number of Indian expats with such favorites as Veggie Exotica as well as Tandoori Paneer,” explained Cusack, adding “In Turkey, a customer favorite is our Sujuk sausage pizza. These offerings engage and excite consumers and demonstrate that Pizza Hut appreciates and celebrates local flavors.”
Lazy Masoub is a newly opened restaurant in Jeddah offering Saudi street food with a contemporary twist.
Inspired by the banana carts found in downtown Jeddah, the eatery’s name refers to a traditional dish made of mashed banana and chopped saj pie, topped with honey or cream and usually eaten as a dessert.
The restaurant’s signature masoub dish is served with a variety of toppings and extra banana, mango, strawberry, avocado, and nuts, and the outlet also offers a range of authentic Saudi recipes with international and Middle Eastern touches including masoub konafa, foul baba, mutabbaq trio pepperoni, and liver tacos.
The food is served in Korean stone and pottery bowls and on plates with dried ice fog adding to the presentation.
The restaurant opens at 8 a.m. and further information is available on Instagram at @lazymasoub.
Captain Hanson is a specialist donut shop in Riyadh offering premium handmade artisan donuts.
They are prepared with a brioche-type dough in small batches throughout the day so that customers get the freshest donut possible.
The store’s name refers to Captain Hanson, who is credited with inventing donuts with a hole in them. Previously, the baked goods were served as a round ball without a hole.
The store offers more than 30 flavors that vary from classic to extravagant. There are seasonal and themed offerings too, including Halloween, summer fruit cocktails, and candies.
Captain Hanson’s signature glazed donuts include salted caramel, tiramisu and hibiscus. If you are interested in something dreamy and nostalgic try the cotton candy donut, which is decorated with a pink cloud of cotton candy and garnished with mini marshmallows and a lollipop.
Donut fans can have their name, initials or age featured on donuts as the store offers customization.
The treats are also available in different sizes. For more information visit @capt.hanson on Instagram.