Where We Are Going Today: KOA, European and Asian fusion fine dining

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Updated 08 April 2022

Where We Are Going Today: KOA, European and Asian fusion fine dining

KOA is a modern take on European and Asian fusion fine dining that aims to offer customers an immersive experience of flavors and aromas from around the world.

The restaurant, started by four siblings from the Bagedo family, is located in the heart of the luxury Atelier La Vie development in Jeddah, a new hotspot in the Red Sea port city. It offers an eclectic menu for lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and drinks at its firefly bar.

The bar offers a variety of non-alcoholic mojitos, cocktails and gins inspired by fireflies; from vivid yellow, pure amber, warm orange and red, people can enjoy options with different bursts of hues and flavors.

One of their signature cocktails, the blue akarui, consists of kiwi, yuzu, jalapeno, orange blossom, lime, apple juice, melon syrup, basil and aquafaba, producing a light, fruity, coconut flavor.

When you first enter, you are greeted by a smiling maitre’d who leads you to your table through a warm, nature-inspired interior. As your eyes gaze around the foyer, the first thing you notice are the wooden beams, vertically placed along the walls that look like an animated waterfall. 

After sitting down on the royal blue velvet couch, you begin to feel a sense of familiarity and coziness, absorbing the elements as you mingle with friends and family. The lounge-like atmosphere with music and floor-to-ceiling windows brings the restaurant to life, and for a few hours, it’s as though you have travelled to a new yet comfortable destination, eager to explore.

KOA means ‘ritual’ in Japanese, and Amro Bagedo, one of the owners, told Arab News a ritual is about the “sacred celebration of getting together with your loved ones for food, drinks and good times, sharing your adventures as you enjoy delicious cuisines.”

The siblings, each born during a different season of the year, followed a unique ethos for KOA's menu whereby the theme of the food reflects the season of the year customers visit the restaurant. 

The restaurant’s spring season a la carte menu includes its popular chicken terrine en croute dish made of confit chicken, fig jam, parmesan sable and pineapple chutney — a balance of flavors so intricate with each bite, an explosion of flavors that leave you in awe. Other options are hamachi tiradito, bibim noodles and grilled scallops, all rich and decadent in their own ways.

Main courses offer a selection of proteins, from Dover sole and turbot, to chicken and beef tenderloin. The restaurant also has tempting vegetarian choices such as black truffle risotto.

For dessert, three options are available, a chocolate and hazelnut delight, a raspberry and pistachio mousse and a tropical mousse. Each component, placed meticulously on the plate, makes KOA's desserts a journey of exploration and adventure, inviting people in with the question, “where do I start?”

During the holy month of Ramadan, KOA will be offering an $80 per person six-course set menu.

Top-end prices per person are around $150, reflecting the thought, effort and attention to detail that has gone into the dishes’ presentation and flavors, which could see KOA gain Michelin Star level status in the future.

Where We Are Going Today: BB Social Dining

Updated 27 July 2022

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.

What We Are Eating Today: Buttery

Updated 23 July 2022

What We Are Eating Today: Buttery

It can be difficult to maintain a good diet without compromising on treating yourself to delicious foods, but what if you found healthier alternatives for your cravings?

Buttery., a Saudi all-natural nut butter brand, provides delicious, creamy and sugar-free nut butter that comes in different flavors.

Buttery.’s flavors are available in almond cashew, dark-chocolate peanut butter, peanut butter (there’s a crunchy version too), crunch hazelnut cocoa nibs, pecan salted caramel, cashew vanilla, almond butter, pistachio butter, and cashew tahini.

Adding peanut butter to your diet has extra benefits as it includes healthy fats, magnesium and vitamin E. 

I was surprised by how delicious the cashew vanilla butter was. It only contains dry roasted cashews, date powder, coconut oil, Himalayan pink salt, rosemary extract and natural vanilla flavoring. 

It makes a great addition to apple slices for a quick breakfast and is very filling, which could help prevent people from overeating. 

It is good to find all-natural and healthy spreads such as Buttery., which is locally made. The difference between it and other processed spreads is evident in the taste and nutritional value.

Buttery. can be found in the organic section of Danube, Manuel, HyperPanda, Bin Dawood, and Tamimi Markets in most Saudi regions.

It is also available in SheFit Gym in Jeddah and Abraj Hypermarket in Makkah.

You can also find Buttery. at online platforms such as amazon.sa, Nana, Banana, and concept store Homegrown Market in Jeddah. 

For more information about their products, visit their Instagram @buttery.sa.


Where We Are Going Today: Peaberry

Updated 22 July 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Peaberry

This new specialty coffee spot opened a month ago in Jeddah’s busy Rovan Tower area and is still in the “soft opening” stage.

With two floors and plenty of seating, the cafe is ideal for reading a book, chatting with friends or finishing a homework assignment.

On the day of our visit, service was rather slow, but the mellow soundtrack playing softly in the background made the wait stress free.

Staff recommended the French toast halloumi dish, which cost SR37 ($10). This new open-faced sandwich is the kind of fusion offering you would expect from a modern Jeddah cafe, using inspiration from both the region and the West.

A thick slice of fresh French brioche toast comes with a drizzle of homemade zaatar sauce atop a thin layer of labneh and topped with slices of grilled halloumi cheese. The dish is finished with a cherry tomato on top, along with some sprinkled greens.

This dish is only currently available in the Al-Rawdah branch. Peaberry’s first branch, also located in Jeddah, is known for being one of the only smoking-friendly cafes in the city. The second branch, however, does not permit smoking.

We paired the dish with the recommended iced Spanish latte, which made for a good balance between salty and sweet.

The Peaberry menu has a full range of coffee choices.

For those who want to enjoy a cup from the comfort of their home or office, the cafe has packages available for larger quantities of bottled coffee.

You can also order via the Cofe app and have the coffee delivered right to your door.

For more information about the cafe and its menu, visit their Instagram @peaberryksa.


Where We Are Going Today: YOLO

Updated 24 June 2022

Where We Are Going Today: YOLO

Looking for an affordable and tasty mochi and dessert place? YOLO, located in the Saudi capital, could be the place for you.

YOLO mochi flavors include mango, toffee, vanilla, salted caramel, coconut, lemon, muhallabia, chocolate, and butterscotch. Mochis are sold in mixed or singular flavors in a box of 12 pieces for SR98 ($26), at SR8 a piece.

Mochi is a traditional confectionery Japanese sweet, originally called daifuku mochi. It is typically served with green tea. The dough wrapped around the small ice-cream ball is rice-flour based and usually gluten-free.

YOLO opened its store in Olaya, Riyadh, a few years ago with a wide range of desserts on its menu. Their most famous cake is the YOLO cake. It is a biscuit and milky-flavored cake. It comes in original or latte-flavored options.

Their Kush Kush cake is similar to the YOLO cake, although it includes shredded phyllo dough on top with a sauce drizzle. All three cake types come in large or small boxes, with six small cakes costing SR115 and a large cake costing SR140.

Cheesecakes in many distinct flavors are also sold by YOLO. Flavors include rose berry, pecan caramel, and a few flavors of lotus cheesecakes such as regular, saffron, triple chocolate, chocolate mousse, and rose.

The rose berry and pecan caramel cheesecakes cost about SR88 a box. Each box includes six mini-cakes of either a single flavor or a mix of both flavors. Lotus cheesecakes cost about SR75 a box. A box consists of six lotus cheesecakes, either with a single flavor or mixed flavors on request.

YOLO only receives orders virtually. Their physical branch closed a few months ago. The delicious dessert store, @yolo.s.a, is on Instagram and delivers to your doorstep through the food delivery apps Jahez and The Chefz.

Where We Are Going Today: Yumram Ramen

Updated 17 June 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Yumram Ramen

  • Yumram Ramen is the first specialized ramen bar in Saudi Arabia

Fans of anime have always wanted to try ramen, and now they can — right in front of the Anime Village in Jeddah’s City Walk.

Yumram Ramen, the first specialized ramen bar in Saudi Arabia, caught the attention of anime fans and visitors when it was established in the busiest zone of Jeddah Season.

The eatery is similar to a bar where diners can watch the chef prepare freshly made noodles, and order from a menu that includes beef, tofu and chicken.

Ramen is a Japanese dish consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat-based broth with toppings such as dried seaweed and scallions. It is often flavored with soy sauce or miso.

Eggplant bao is a menu item that consists of two freshly made bao buns stuffed with grilled eggplant dipped in hoisin sauce, garlic mayo, carrots, parsley and green onion.

Chicken ramen is made with a 12-hour coconut curry broth and freshly made noodles, topped with yakitori chicken, purple cabbage, green onion, parsley and chili.

Miso beef ramen, a 12-hour miso broth with freshly made noodles, is topped with slices of steak, pickled shiitake, greens, Tokyo egg and cream. it comes in spicy and non-spicy varieties.

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybeans, as well as other ingredients such as rice, barley, seaweed and other grains.

Yumram Ramen was set up by Bahaa Gazzaz with his wife, Alia Al-Shaer, as chef. For more information visit their instagram @yumram.ramen.