Where We Are Going Today: BB Social Dining

Where We Are Going Today: BB Social Dining
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Updated 27 July 2022

Where We Are Going Today: BB Social Dining

Where We Are Going Today: BB Social Dining

If you’re looking for a new place to take insta-worthy pics of your meal, look no further. BB Social dining is an experience not to be missed at the Huna collaborative space in Riyadh’s Panorama Mall. 

Their specialization in modern Asian fusion with a Middle Eastern twist makes them a rare occurrence in the city.

Ask any Riyadh native and they’ll tell you it’s a challenge to find a spot to enjoy a warm bowl of ramen — let alone pho — so one should be ready to take up the opportunity when it presents itself.

Marketed as a dining experience, BB has a concise but diverse menu, making it a great spot to take meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Your company will surely find several items that catches the eye.

BB Social offers bites, baos, bowls, bbq and dessert. It’s easy to go heavy or light with their colorful starters that range from Wagyu Katsu to edamame and mint Super Green Hummus. 

A surprisingly delicious choice is the Cauliflower Popcorn — although it can get a smidge repetitive as they only serve it alongside one sauce.

A hungry customer is sure to be satisfied with their portions, and the variety of choices cater to vegans, vegetarians and carnivores.

While the ramen and pho are nothing groundbreaking, the baos are highly recommended. The Habibi and Chicken Bang Bang baos should be at the top of your list, although they’re quite pricey for the portion.

The eatery first came to Riyadh earlier this year in March, having successfully debuted in Dubai.

Where We Are Eating Today: Flaky

Where We Are Eating Today: Flaky
Updated 03 October 2022

Where We Are Eating Today: Flaky

Where We Are Eating Today: Flaky

Alkhobar has a cool new restaurant in town — a whole place dedicated to crispy chicken born and breaded locally.

With the slogan “Crunch it out,” Flaky opened up earlier this year on the trendy Alkhobar City Walk. The main wall upon entering the eatery is decorated with a giant hand-painted chicken with sunglasses.

With a small seating area to the side and a sink so that you can wash your hands before and after a deep fried feast with sauces galore, Flaky is a good spot to stop for a quick bite or to indulge in for a longer time.

Flaky promises that every single chicken it sells is locally raised. Then the restaurant’s free-range chickens are chilled to ensure optimal freshness and are fried to order.

The original burger consists of crunchy chicken slathered with melted cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce and some pickles to add a tangy punch between a perfectly toasted bun. It comes with a spicy option as well — the same concept with a different homemade sauce.

They also offer a maple sriracha burger, a buffalo burger and a Nashville burger — which promises to be a bit hot.

For those who want brunch in a bite, Flaky offers a chicken n’ waffle option in original and in Nashville-style. They also offer chicken strips and, of course, french fries: Original and loaded Flaky fries.

There are eight kind of sauces for SR3 ($0.8) a pop. Most of Flaky’s burgers are around SR30 and the fries are separate.

This summer, Flaky started to offer little ice cream bites in what they refer to as the “guilt-free zone.” The bites are layered with vanilla ice cream and coated in chocolate.

They now also offer mojitos in addition to bottled water and sodas.

Working hours are daily from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. on most days and from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays. Check Flaky’s Instagram page @flaky.sa for more info.

Delivery apps like Hunger Station, Jahez and The Chefz can have your Flaky order sent right to your front door.

Alkhobar chill: Gioelia Cremeria offers a taste of Italy on Saudi Arabia’s east coast

Alkhobar chill: Gioelia Cremeria offers a taste of Italy on Saudi Arabia’s east coast
Updated 01 October 2022

Alkhobar chill: Gioelia Cremeria offers a taste of Italy on Saudi Arabia’s east coast

Alkhobar chill: Gioelia Cremeria offers a taste of Italy on Saudi Arabia’s east coast

A cool new ice cream cafe and shop has opened on Alkhobar City Walk, offering visitors a true taste of Italy.

Owned and run by local man Bader Al-Hussaini and his family, Gioelia Cremeria Italiana is packed full of tasty delights — from thirst-quenching fruity gelato and chocolate cakes to cookies and cannoli.

Before opening the store in mid-September — the first outlet of the famous brand in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East — Al-Hussaini and his father traveled to Italy to sample the products they would be selling.

On opening day the place was packed with happy customers young and old as they sampled the dozen or so treats on offer.

Al-Hussaini recommended we try the pistachio gelato, and it tasted like summer in a cup. The creamy texture of the ice cream combined with chips of pistachio was neither overwhelming nor too subtle. It also came with a thin wafer on the top to give it extra crunch.

As well as the desserts — available for eat-in or takeaway — the shop offers a wide range of hot and iced coffees, smoothies, frappes, and bottles of sparkling and still water from Italy.

Al-Hussaini said his personal favorite was the gelato, “because I really like it and we don’t have many gelato shops here in Alkhobar.”

He told Arab News that unlike most ice creams, gelato does not contain much water, “which makes it more creamy.”

Gioelia Cremeria Italiana is open from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Palestinian kebab shop named as one of Italy’s best street food outlets

Palestinian kebab shop named as one of Italy’s best street food outlets
Updated 30 September 2022

Palestinian kebab shop named as one of Italy’s best street food outlets

Palestinian kebab shop named as one of Italy’s best street food outlets
  • ‘The kebabs from Ciao Kebab are so good,’ says editor of Gambero Rosso food guide
  • Right-wing politicians in Italy have targeted kebab shops as foreign invaders

LONDON: A Palestinian kebab shop in Bologna has been named one of the best street food outlets in Italy by the Gambero Rosso food guide, The Times reported on Friday.

Ciao Kebab was singled out as the best street food outlet in Emilia Romagna, a region famous for its parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham, and considered a temple of Italian cuisine.

Opened in 1991 by a Palestinian emigre, Ciao Kebab is now run by Omar Shihadeh, 33, the founder’s son.

It offers a gourmet kebab made with beef, local vegetables, and the option of a homemade tahini or spicy tomato sauce.

“They might not admit it, but a kebab can beat a piadina,” said Shihadeh, referring to the cheese and prosciutto-stuffed flatbread that won the Gambero Rosso award last year.

“Gambero Rosso is getting more international. They saw we do a quality kebab,” he said, adding that Bologna is “surprisingly open” to “new food.”

But right-wing politicians have targeted kebab shops as pernicious foreign invaders, and officials from the anti-migrant League party have sought to shut them down.

Shihadeh’s colleague Andrea Liotta said he knew of a kebab shop in Verona, northern Italy, which had faced hostility because of its perception as a “foreign product.”

Pina Sozio, who edited the 2022 edition of Gambero Rosso, said the guide had never before given the accolade to a non-Italian food outlet in Emilia Romagna.

“It’s a region rooted in culinary traditions, but the kebabs from Ciao Kebab are so good, and this is a way to encourage people to change habits,” Sozio told The Times.

“Things are changing. Italians still argue endlessly about the right way to cook pasta carbonara, but when it comes to street food they will try other things if they are good.”

Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe

Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe
Updated 30 September 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe

Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe

Caffeination cafe, already well known in Alkhobar’s Olaya neighborhood for its bottled iced coffees and ice-cream sandwiches made from fresh cookies, has recently revamped its menu.

We tried the spicy tuna sandwich, which consisted of slices of bread layered with fresh avocado, flaky tuna marinated in hot sauce, and greens.

Caffeination’s lattes, both iced and hot, hit the spot, but their refreshing iced tea mojitos really deliver the kick you need. We tried the peach-flavored version, which was sweet, but not too overpowering. They also offer a variety of non-dairy milk for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.

The Wi-Fi is a bit spotty, but there is plenty of seating upstairs and downstairs, as well as a few places to plug in your devices. A large picnic-style wood bench faces the wall near the stairs, and there are four smaller tables with multiple chairs.

Framed pieces of art on the walls and small potted plants add to the comfortable decor.

Soft music is played throughout the cafe, but is turned off during prayer times. A prayer rug is available for customers to use. There is only one restroom, so you might have to wait your turn.

Several full-length mirrors are ideal for a mirror selfie, or for jolting you back into working mode when you catch yourself staring into space.

Caffeination’s main Alkhobar branch is open from 5.30 a.m. till midnight most days. A soft opening was held recently for their second branch, which is located in Riyadh in Larsen Valley.

Follow @caffeinationco for the address, operating hours and special offers. They also deliver locally on most food apps.

London Halal Food Festival opens its gates to 18,000 visitors

London Halal Food Festival opens its gates to 18,000 visitors
Updated 28 September 2022

London Halal Food Festival opens its gates to 18,000 visitors

London Halal Food Festival opens its gates to 18,000 visitors
  • With 150 vendors, festival showcases 25 cuisines from around the world
  • Festival’s mission is to help support halal SMES

LONDON: The Halal Food Festival returned to the UK capital this year for its sixth edition with 25 cuisines on offer at more than 150 stalls.

At least 18,000 people attended the two-day event, which ran from Sept. 24-25 at London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The scale and scope of the festival mean London now hosts one of the largest specifically halal food gatherings in the world, according to organizers. 

Kevin Jackson, director of Algebra Festivals, launched the festival with his partner Waleed Jahangia seven years ago. 

“We created an event that would put food at the heart of the community. There’s no better way of sharing culture than through food,” he said.

After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have invested heavily in infrastructure, transforming the festival into an experience that goes beyond food.

The event featured a VIP lounge, shopping stalls, live entertainment, cookery theater, picnic area, kids play area, mechanical bull and fun competitions. 

One of the highlights was a live demonstration by NHS doctor and former “MasterChef” winner Dr. Saliha Mahmood Ahmed. 

Using bread dough to teach women how to examine themselves for early signs of breast cancer, Ahmed aimed to overcome cultural taboos that contribute to low cancer awareness among the Muslim community in the UK. 

The new additions reflect the growing view that halal is more than just about food but is a lifestyle, too. 

Jackson recalled that when he and Jahangia launched the festival, most Muslim events in London were held in community centers or school halls. 

But the London Stadium event shows the Muslim community now has access to some of the most renowned venues in the capital. 

The festival has also evolved into a cultural melting pot, with both its cuisine and its foodies coming from around the globe. 

“We’ve got people from Manchester, Birmingham, people who came on a day trip from Paris yesterday. We’ve got people from Spain. We’ve got people from Scotland. This is such a big event for the Muslim community that they travel for miles to come to it,”  Jackson said.  

Chef Fatima El-Rify of Mama Hayam reported positive feedback from visitors tasting her Egyptian cuisine. 

“They didn’t know what it was completely. They knew a little about kosheri, but now they have a really strong idea. They’re coming back for more. They’re bringing their friends. They really love kosheri and mahshi, so that’s really good.” 

She added: “I think there is nowhere else in London that you can try all these different cuisines and just have this ease of it all being halal.” 

The festival also features the timeless and the contemporary, from Jordan’s traditional Anabtawi Sweets to London’s Lola’s Cupcakes.

Apart from catering to Muslim visitors, it aims to provide an international platform for the halal economy, while helping to nurture halal small and medium enterprises. 

“We’re building business relationships. The traders all trade with one another. The suppliers, our partners here, Tariq Halal, are providing products for our exhibitors,” Jackson said. 

Founder Shahin Bharwani of Mocktail Company, which sells non-alcoholic beverages,  said that she was fortunate to have been able to exhibit at the Halal Food Festival in 2016 within months of launching her business. 

“It was brilliant in terms of being a startup to get the brand exposure needed at this type of event.” 

Festival vendors reflected on the halal industry’s growth in the past decade. 

Bharwani said: “There’s so many variations of businesses here, particularly the food. Years ago you could never imagine halal tacos hell or gourmet burgers, that type of thing, so to have those kinds of halal options now is amazing.” 

Co-partner Abid Haider of Proper Burgers said that the event “just keeps getting bigger and bigger.” 

With the industry now worth billions, the London festival is part of a growing movement placing halal on high street.