Saudi Cafe and Misk Lighthouse: A bit of Saudi Arabia in the Alps

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Traditional food can be found at the Saudi Cafe in Davos, whilst Saudi art and design is on display at the Misk Lighthouse on Promenade 62. (Arab News photo)
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Traditional food can be found at the Saudi Cafe in Davos, whilst Saudi art and design is on display at the Misk Lighthouse on Promenade 62. (Arab News photo)
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Updated 23 January 2020

Saudi Cafe and Misk Lighthouse: A bit of Saudi Arabia in the Alps

  • Kingdom's national dishes can be sampled at cafe run by the Misk Foundation at the World Economic Forum
  • Besides the culinary delights, Saudi art and design are on display at the Misk Lighthouse on Promenade 62

DAVOS: Forget hot chocolate — Davos delegates seeking to keep warm can visit the Saudi Cafe to sample a snug mug of Medina black tea topped with dried rose petals, or tuck into a plate of Shaatha cake.

The culinary delights are on offer at the pop-up cafe, run by Saudi Arabia’s Misk Foundation, which is open for the week at the mountain venue of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“This is the first year that we have the Saudi Cafe in Davos,” said chef Najla Al-Otaibi while preparing a tray of Masabeb, a sweet dish made of pancakes topped with golden honey and traditional ghee. “The people really enjoyed the food and the drinks, the Arabic coffee and the tea, which comes straight from Madinah, and the Karak tea with milk.”

Other items found on the menu are the Henaini, a plate of crumbled bread mixed in with fresh dates and thinly-sliced lemon wedges, as well as the most popular dish, the Shaatha cake, a traditional old Bedouin dish made from dates.

Everyone orders the Shaatha cake and downs it with a hot cup of Karak tea, said Al-Otaibi, as she multi-tasked around the cafe.

“I love to show the world our food. I want to introduce them all to our food, and show the amazing dishes we have in Saudi Arabia.”

Further down the snow-covered street, buzzing with the different languages of the Davos delegates, we reach Promenade 62 — the Misk Lighthouse, which is an area for hosting debates and discussion forums focused on skills, entrepreneurship and global citizenship. It features prominent speakers, Saudi art and refreshments.

“The designer is obsessed with Islamic Art,” said Basma Al-Shathry, curator at the Misk Art Institute. “All the design pieces here are created by three simple shapes derived from Islamic art, which create different pieces of furniture that are functional, so chairs, bookshelves and tables.

“He uses wood, he is very sustainable with his approach, he tries to use as little as possible and he tries to make sure the pieces outlive their users, so adaptability is very important.”

On the wall in front of the furniture are drawings of the three original shapes Al-Shathry describes, with more and more complicated forms based around them.

“The artist is the priority, so we try to make sure that whatever initiative we take helps the artist solidify their role within society, locally and internationally,” the curator said. “It’s our role to make sure that it reaches the right people at the right place,” she said.


King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

Updated 11 min 1 sec ago

King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

  • Royal order applicable to government and private health facilities

RIYADH: King Salman has ordered free treatment be provided to all coronavirus patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom's health minister, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, announced the king’s order at a press conference in Riyadh on Monday and said it included citizens and residents - even those in violation of residency laws.

Al-Rabiah said the royal order was borne out of the king’s keenness to put the health of citizens and residents first and to ensure the safety of all.

The number of virus victims in Saudi Arabia reached 1,453 on Monday, with 8 confirmed deaths and 115 recoveries.

The president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, thanked King Salman for the directive.

“This reflects the human and moral approach the Kingdom is adopting in dealing with this pandemic,” he said, adding that Saudi Arabia “is keen to ensure that patients receive the necessary treatment according to the highest medical standards without discrimination.”

He added: “This gives the most striking example in preserving human rights and dignity as everyone, whether citizen or resident, should enjoy health and safety, including violators of the residency system.”

This move, he said, clearly reflects the Kingdom's approach based on respecting and promoting human rights on the ground. 

“This shows that the most valuable asset for Saudi Arabia is the human being, thereby guaranteeing a decent and healthy living, the foremost right of everyone.”