RIYADH: A world-renowned New York restaurant has opened its doors in Al-Athriya, one of Riyadh Season’s 14 zones, offering Saudis the chance to sample Phillippe Chow’s luxury Beijing-style cooking in their backyard.
“We have a lot of clients that are from Saudi Arabia and the UAE who enjoy Philippe’s cuisine and when they come to New York it is one of the must-go places for them,” Abraham Merchant, president and CEO of Merchants Hospitality, told Arab News.
Chow began his journey in cooking as a teenager in Hong Kong, China. There he developed and perfected his passion for authentic Beijing-style cooking.
In 2004, the first Philippe Chow restaurant opened its doors in New York near the busy Fifth and Madison Avenues and has been an international favorite for over 17 years.
The restaurant prides itself on offering luxury and authentic Beijing cuisine, served family-style for diners to enjoy.
“It’s an amazing brand. It’s one of those cuisines that you know you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about having chicken satay or Beijing chicken,” Merchant said.
Merchant stressed that Phillipe Chow does not offer a contemporary style of cooking, but instead something in keeping with the Beijing culinary heritage.
Merchant said that they were invited by Riyadh Season to open the restaurant during the festivities in Al-Atheriya Heritage Village. The zone offers a selection of international restaurants, cafes and stores selling local crafts for the Riyadh Season.
“The purpose for our visit was because we were invited by the Riyadh Season to take part in these festivities, and we are very happy and delighted to be part of these festivities,” he said.
The CEO decided to open in the Kingdom because he believed the region was suitable for business developments.
“We think this is a very prime market. We find the UAE and Saudi Arabia to be very receptive to business. Our trip here to the Kingdom has been enlightening,” he explained.
Philippe Chow is operated and owned by Merchants Hospitality, and the executive chef of the Beijing restaurant is Chow himself.
“Originally, I had customers from Saudi Arabia that went to New York to try the restaurant,” Chow told Arab News.
The executive chef shared that on the first day of the restaurant opening in Riyadh, there were over 200 reservations with a waiting list.
“I think Saudis will like Chinese food, specifically the Beijing style,” the executive chef said.
“Chinese food and Saudi food are very different. Chinese food uses the wok, more spices, and heat,” the chef explained.
Merchant believes that the locals who have not traveled to New York to try the restaurant will like its authentic taste.
“It is easy on your taste buds, and it has an addictive nature in how people enjoy the food. So, I think we will have a very good reception to the cuisine,” Merchant said.
Merchant and Chow both recommend trying the Chicken Satay or the Peking Duck, which is carved tableside.
“When I go out with my family, I’ll order duck, chicken satay, and I’ll order more single-item foods than big items. I say Beijing chicken and chicken satay are probably my all-time favorite,” the CEO told Arab News.
After Riyadh, Phillipe Chow is expected to expand his restaurants into other cities in the US, with Washington, D.C. first on the list.