One restaurant, two countries: A Slovenian border tale

Updated 29 June 2013

One restaurant, two countries: A Slovenian border tale

A neon-green line runs across the floor of the “Kalin” restaurant in the tiny Slovenian hamlet of Obrezje: Step over it and you’re suddenly in Croatia.
Outside, a lone border guard stands looking bored as the restaurant’s cook runs out in her apron and signals to a friend on the other side of the border to come over for a chat.
Obrezje stands on the eastern edge of Slovenia and “Gostilna Kalin” (restaurant Kalin) literally straddles an international border that sprang up just over two decades ago, right in the middle of its main room.
The result: The fridge with cold drinks stands on the Slovenian side, the cases of empty bottles on the Croatian side.
“This border was really bad for our business,” says restaurant owner Sasa Josip Kalin, 40.
The family-owned eatery was already popular with Croatians, who still make up 60 percent of its clientele, when Slovenia and Croatia were part of the former Yugoslavia.
Independence in 1991 and Slovenia’s EU entry in 2004 however introduced passport controls between Zagreb, just 30 km away, and Obrezje.
Within the restaurant itself, there is no need to dig out one’s passport. But when Croatia enters the European Union tomorrow, business might become a little bit easier.
“They’re going to be a lot looser with the border, it’s not going to be as strict,” says Kalin, who himself has dual Slovenian and Croatian citizenship.
“Hopefully in one year they’ll open this road in front. Then it will be much better because the traffic will go through here.”
At the moment, the gravel path is blocked; a border guard is on duty 24/7; and locals on foot or on bicycle need a special pass to cross the small stone bridge.
Everyone else must go through the modern border checkpoint a few hundred meters away, a detour that can take 40 minutes depending on traffic.
For Nada Krkovic, 65, who lives next door to the restaurant: “Until we enter Schengen (Europe’s visa-free zone), it will still be a border.”
“It will be a bit easier but controls will remain.”
Border issues between Slovenia and Croatia were long an obstacle to Zagreb’s EU accession talks and even now, they have not been solved: the two neighbors have only just agreed to arbitration in their dispute over 13 square kilometers in the northern Adriatic.
Rajka Krizanac, a “Kalin” regular from Jesenice, the next Slovenian town, remembers going to school on the Croatian side of the border when it was still the former Yugoslavia.
“It was hard for me to get used to showing my ID card on the border. The border actually angered me,” says the 46-year-old sociologist, who still buys her bread in Croatia.
A softer border regime now will make a big difference, she says.
“Most people in this border area expect benefits in their everyday lives.”
Anton Rop, Slovenia’s prime minister when it entered the EU, also told AFP: “It’s not important that Slovenia and Croatia had some problems concerning the borders.”
“The important thing is that those two countries have quite a lot of similarities, they have a common history, they can cooperate very successfully and they understand each other very well.”
Croatia is also a prime holiday spot for its neighbors.
“Those two countries are connected and with Croatian membership, those relations will be much, much better,” said Rop.
Already the border guard outside Kalin’s restaurant merely growls to trespassers that they should not be there, without moving from the metallic box where he is sheltering from the heat.
A young woman wearing earphones cycles past him without even a glance.


Where We Are Going Today: MYLK, café in Alkhobar

Updated 27 January 2023

Where We Are Going Today: MYLK, café in Alkhobar

JEDDAH: MYLK cafe in Alkhobar aims to provide customers with a relaxing environment in which to work or unwind.

Located in Pepsi Street, the modern bakery has a European-style interior and offers products made using ingredients sourced from local family-owned farms including baked goods, pastries, seasonal fruit jams, and dairy items.

Its chewy, rich New York chocolate chip cookies are irresistible, and the strawberry, peach, and mango jam brioche topped with fresh sour cream is a tasty combination of flavors.

Special winter treats include hot chocolate with torched marshmallows, cheesecake s’mores, and The Cube, a piece of brioche topped with fresh vanilla ice cream.

MYLK also offers freshly made granola options that can be accompanied with a bowl of milk and topped with mini marshmallows, caramelized rice crispy hazelnut, and mini meringue.

As the name of the cafe implies, milk is prominent on its menu, with fresh milk served in glass bottles, a peanut butter milkshake being its signature drink, and almond milk available as a non-dairy option.

For more information go to Instagram @mylk.sa.


Where We Are Going Today: Sumosan

Updated 20 January 2023

Where We Are Going Today: Sumosan

  • The modern Japanese food at Sumosan is inspired by traditional techniques and ingredients

Sumosan is a contemporary Japanese restaurant that has won many awards, with critics praising its food and ambience. 

It has outlets in some of the most vibrant cities in the world. In Riyadh it is in Laysen Valley, one of the capital city’s newest real estate projects, close to the Diplomatic Quarter.

The complex includes residences, offices, retail stores, and restaurants with cuisines from all over the world.

The modern Japanese food at Sumosan is inspired by traditional techniques and ingredients, and is of a high quality.

The fact that it has been in business for over 20 years is a sign of its success.

Sumosan serves the most remarkable sushi and sashimi, as well as new and interesting Japanese dishes.

You can select wagyu or prawn as the filling for the satisfying house-made gyoza. Freshly baked milk bread is used to make sandos with truffle fries.

The restaurant features live shows and the dining room boasts a theater kitchen where guests can watch the chefs at work.

The well-known interior design company, Paul Bishop, created the interior, which is sleek and ultra-modern with warm and earthy touches like wooden paneling and statement chandeliers.

The business lunch menu offers a selection of popular dishes from SR180 (about $48) per person, Mondays to Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Sumosan is a favorite among international A-list celebrities, foodies, and individuals looking for a meal that is both delicious and pleasing to the eye.

https://www.instagram.com/sumosan.riyadh/

 

 

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Riyadh medical conference showcases innovative hernia treatments

Updated 20 January 2023

Riyadh medical conference showcases innovative hernia treatments

  • Proper nutrition plays a vital role in avoiding hernias, say officials

RIYADH: A major international medical conference on hernias hosted in Riyadh shed light on treating patients using innovative methods, including laparoscopy and robot-assisted surgery.

The event was attended by more than 300 surgeons specialized in treating hernias in the Kingdom and Arab countries, as well as 300 healthcare workers, in addition to speakers and officials.

During the conference, speakers stressed that obesity is the most important factor in the occurrence of hernias in patients.

Proper nutrition plays a vital role in avoiding hernias, officials said.

Dr. Ashraf Maghrabi, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Society of General Surgery, said that cutting-edge medical techniques have reducing the rates of hernia complications in the Kingdom. Equipment including surgical meshes as well as robots have also advanced medical treatment, he added.

The official called on patients suffering from hernias to be examined and assessed by a surgeon or specialist doctor.

If hernias are not detected and treated at the right time, patients can suffer complications, reducing the chance of successful treatment, he warned.

Maghrabi stressed that the holding of medical conferences is crucial in promoting education and sharing experiences between specialists.

Prof. Sebastian Schoppman, honorary president of the conference and vice president of the European Foregut Society, said that the event was the largest of its kind and aided in developing the surgical skills of audience members, as well as transferring the international experiences of dealing with hernia patients, which will develop healthcare services provided to people in the Kingdom.

The conference was also attended by Dr. Haitham Al-Zamil, Dr. Ahmed Al-Buraikan, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Babtain, Dr. Bishr Murad, Dr. Hossam Al-Omari, Dr. Swailem Al-Mutairi, Dr. Shadi Saleh Al-Bahri, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Al-Nami and Dr. Roger Gergi, president of the Emirates society of robotic surgeries.


How caterers are adapting to Saudi Arabia’s changing landscape

Updated 12 January 2023

How caterers are adapting to Saudi Arabia’s changing landscape

  • In the past eight years, the Kingdom's catering industry has evolved from a standard model to a sophisticated one, says Hospitality Ventures executive

JEDDAH: The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent mega-developments in Saudi Arabia have transformed the Kingdom’s catering industry.

Innovations in business models and services have helped catering businesses to not only stay afloat but also prosper amid an industry-wide revamp.

The industry has grown rapidly in the Kingdom in recent years, and is working hard to overcome competition with restaurants that also offer catering services.  

Industry experts say the Kingdom’s catering businesses are working to provide customers with freshly prepared, innovative food. (Instagram: sistersandco)

Silverspoon and Sisters & Co. are two businesses that have been quick to adapt, setting themselves apart by offering not only good food but also enjoyable experiences, with attention to detail in cutlery choices, table decorations, centerpieces and linens, for example.

Sisters & Co., established in 2018, has adapted to new trends in the industry, ranging from food to themes and style. The company began as an in-house bakery, but growing opportunities meant it was quick to expand and launch its own central kitchen.

Company founder Dima Nabulsi told Arab News: “The catering industry in the Kingdom is now stronger than in the past. Every day there is an opportunity to nourish and flourish, and explore all parts of creativity. It’s amazing to see how people have welcomed this industry and consider it a great addition to today’s world.”

Industry experts say the Kingdom’s catering businesses are working to provide customers with freshly prepared, innovative food. (Instagram: sistersandco)

She added: “Our company is always convinced that the eyes feast first on food and the perfect setting. Sisters & Co. made its vision to reach everyone by perfecting not only food but also the way it is styled and presented.”

Nabulsi said that the pandemic showed the business was able to withstand any crisis. Sisters & Co. did not witness any significant changes since it was able to cater and market its services online.

“It was a peak point for us that helped in growth, even after the pandemic, rather than going down,” she said.

Industry experts say the Kingdom’s catering businesses are working to provide customers with freshly prepared, innovative food. (Instagram: sistersandco)

Sisters & Co. caters to individual client’s requirements, with every menu customized according to the preferences and the occasion, including styling and setup ideas. The company began catering in Jeddah before expanding to Riyadh and Dammam.

Nabulsi believes the industry has an exciting future.

FAST FACTS

Silverspoon, a Hospitality Ventures brand established in Saudi Arabia in 2014, has grown to become one of the Kingdom’s leading catering companies.

Sisters & Co., established in 2018, has adapted to new trends in the industry, ranging from food to themes and style. 

Industry experts say the Kingdom’s catering businesses are working to provide customers with freshly prepared and innovative food that resembles a home-cooked meal, allowing clients to enjoy more diverse and comfortable options with the best presentation.

Silverspoon, a Hospitality Ventures brand established in Saudi Arabia in 2014, has grown to become one of the Kingdom’s leading catering companies. Public sector and corporate clients, as well as private customers, rely on its menus and catering services for events of all sizes.

Caption

Khalil Fakih, general manager at Hospitality Ventures, said that in the past eight years, the catering industry has evolved from a standard model to a sophisticated one.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of that drive, pioneering in our menu and experience offering. This evolution of the industry’s offering is based on the shift in demand, the creation of the exciting mega-events and entertainment industry, and the establishment of the Kingdom as a leading global business, entertainment, sports and tourism destination,” he said.

Fakih said before the pandemic, the company witnessed significant growth and was working on a large number of corporate, private and entertainment projects. During the 18 months of the pandemic, the business adapted to appeal to the needs of households and business professionals working from home.

Industry experts say the Kingdom’s catering businesses are working to provide customers with freshly prepared, innovative food. (Instagram: sistersandco)

“Once the lockdowns were lifted and our Kingdom successfully came out of that phase, we were ready for the forecasted boom. We understood that mega-events, forums, and private and corporate functions would soon be in full swing as the Kingdom started to celebrate a new era,” Fakih said.

“Today, demand is at an all-time high. The demand is for highly experienced and qualified catering companies with Kingdom-wide capacity to provide unique menus and second-to-none services to meet the needs of the mega-events.”

Related


MNKY HSE: A transformative dining experience in Riyadh

Updated 05 January 2023

MNKY HSE: A transformative dining experience in Riyadh

If you are looking for a transformative dining experience in Riyadh, check out MNKY HSE in the Hitteen district. This award-winning restaurant, which originated in London, offers a refined, contemporary, Latin American culinary experience in a bold space with cozy lighting, pleasant music and luscious flavors that will surprise you and transport you to another place.

MNKY HSE, pronounced “Monkey House,” serves up a decadent sharing menu that puts a new spin on Latin American food. The venue’s cheerful staff also includes award-winning mixologists who will liven up your evening with concoctions such as This is Primavera, a surprising combination of tropical pomegranate, cherry, citrus yuzu juice, agave and earl gray.

There is truly something on the menu to suit every taste. The signature MNKY HSE tacos, for example, come with diced tuna, truffle ponzu, wasabi tobiko and avocado nestling in a fresh, crispy taco. Each bite is guaranteed to deliver a delicious burst of flavors.

Seafood lovers should also try the hamachi tiradito, with fresh black truffle. Alternatively, a MNKY HSE exclusive that should not be missed is the confit duck with compressed watermelon, pomegranate and cashew cream.

For a fun, pinata-style dessert experience with friends, order a hollow chocolate monkey and smash it to reveal a hidden treasure trove of candies and petit fours for sharing.

Meanwhile, the lounge at MNKY HSE is like a cozy living room. It is the ideal place to spend an evening socializing with friends. With its comfortable seating and sensory lighting, it also offers the perfect backdrop for a business meeting or a small get-together with family and friends to celebrate a special occasion.

For more information, check out #mnkyhseksa on Instagram.