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Archive for the tag “Zareen Muzaffar”

11 Scrumptious Jeddah Breakfasts


Are you and your friends planning a breakfast morning and can’t decide where to go? Jeddah has some awesome places for a wholesome and healthy breakfast plan, and even those who wake up with a sweet tooth. Zareen Muzaffar and Ayesha Nigar take up this delicious task with gusto and present their choices of early morning haunts that will not just satisfy your food cravings but will also charge you up for an active day.

Delifrance

Although they have branches in Attalah Center, the Corniche, Malik Road, and Prince Sultan Street, I frequently visit the one on Prince Sultan Street. Delifrance offers a range of breakfast options and lunch/ dinner meals. Besides the traditional eggs, you can have your sandwiches made according to your particular preference. The tuna and chicken paninis are delicious, and don’t forget to gobble up try their mini chocolate croissants. Their freshly baked whole wheat bread is also something you would want to take home.

Paul

The atmosphere is enough to make you feel you made the right decision to come here. Situated off Tahlia Street (behind Coral Mall, next to Sands Hotel) Paul is a great place for a cozy family breakfast or one that includes your group of friends. Their cheese plate comes with walnuts, bread, raisins, variety of cheese and salad. Great start to the day, right? Their display of baked goods is mouth-watering and makes it difficult to choose from. It’s like picking one piece from a box of chocolates. Who can resist when there’s so much to choose from?

Don’t miss their melt-in-the-mouth almond croissants though. They are so moreish, they’ll have you hooked. For salmon lovers, their potato pancake topped with smoked salmon is simply divine. I guarantee that their hot chocolate is the richest and thickest you’ll have tasted yet. On Fridays, they are open from 8-11 am and from 1 pm to 1 am. It’s busy though on weekends, so try to get there early if you want to be seated quickly.

Update: Paul now have a brighter, better, newer branch in Mall of Arabia. Under different management, they have a different menu too. The best part is the friendly service and no queues!

The Crêpe Café

I went to the one in Mall of Arabia and I must say their menu impressed me. We tried the spinach and cheese omelet and my taste buds suggested it was definitely made with fresh ingredients. If you are in the mood for something sweet try their Canadian style waffle which is drizzled with maple syrup and topped with ice cream of your choice. They also have a wide variety of crepes and waffles, and the Vanilla Chai Latte was simply amazing.

One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast. ― Robert A. Heinlein.

Teayana

Regular Teayana visitors know by now about the variety of tea available at the restaurant. Healthy herbal teas, as well as Chai Latte and Caramel Latte are some of the delicious drinks that will wake you up. Try their fresh manaeesh with your choice of drink or go for some wholesome egg dish. Great for brunch as they offer hot sandwiches and bagels too.

Update: Sadly, Teayana is now closed. Hoping it will open up again in the city.

Le Croissant Shop

This place is really good if you are in the mood for some croissant sandwiches; otherwise also known as“crois-sandwiches”. They have a variety of muffins, sandwiches, pastries and croissants that you can have at the restaurant or just take home for tea time.

Kalila

Situated in The Courtyard on Rawdah Street, a beautifully open and bright location for many eateries, Kalila is a wonderful addition to cosy cafes in Jeddah. Their rustic decor is a delight in the mornings and outdoor seating is lovely when the weather is cool. Must-haves are Sajj with feta dip and their fresh pomegranate juice. Open from 8am. Perfect!

IKEA

Who would have thought that IKEA would become a popular spot for breakfasts and other meals, but you’d be surprised. Their restaurant section is often jam-packed and their traditional Saudi breakfast is a big hit with families in the mornings. I’m quite partial to their salmon salad and can never say no to sausages. The prices are very reasonable and the seating plan is open, perfect for an early morning get-together. And you can even walk it all off with a trip round the store.

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” 

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?” 

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet. 

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

IHOP

IHOP (International House of Pancakes) just opened its doors to the people of Jeddah, who appreciate a good cuisine wholeheartedly. Located in a prime spot on fashionable Tahlia Street (opposite Debenhams), this international franchise is a paradise for breakfast lovers.

The size of the restaurant and the proximity between the tables is a little downside, but as soon as you take that first glance at the menu your mood brightens up. They have a tremendous variety of breakfast options the likes of which I have never seen in Jeddah before. From omelets to sandwiches, pancakes to waffles and crepes, they have everything that one can desire at breakfast time, all under one roof.

I would recommend the steak omelet and the hash browns with turkey. If you’re going as a family, try their fresh orange juice jug.

Portion sizes are quite big. Nearly all breakfasts come with a complementary plate of pancakes and the blueberry ones were packed with their namesake. Four delicious syrups are provided at each table: Butter Pecan, Blueberry, Strawberry and Regular.

The staff is highly professional and competent, and will even help you to decide your order – a must try!

Average per person SR 65-75 including drinks.

Insider tip: If you’re heading there on the weekend, get in early to avoid the queues.

Amara

The quote “You first eat with your eyes, then your nose, then your mouth” is quite true for Amara, an international cuisine presented with a twist to treat all your senses. The ambiance is fresh, classy and comfortable. Amara welcomes its guests from 8 am till 1 pm for breakfast daily, with an amazing view to enjoy. The menu explains the dishes very nicely and one can feel that due attention is given to each and every small detail.

My friends and I were perplexed as to what to order, as everything sounded so tempting. At long last, we mutually decided to go with French Toast with Peanut Butter Sauce, Eggs Benedict (English muffin served with layers of spinach, poached eggs and smoked salmon and finished with Hollandaise sauce), Black forest waffles, two-eggs your way (choice of boiled, fried and poached eggs served with potato wedges and bread), a platter of European cheese and fresh orange juice. The juices were served instantly and were followed by the rest of our order. The food was spectacular, really a feast for our eyes and taste, and we enjoyed every bit of it. We finished off our breakfast with a cappuccino.

Average per person: SR 120

Tim Hortons

Are you annoyed when you’ve arrived so early at the Mall that even the shops haven’t opened? Now, at the Mall of Arabia, the best part of arriving before 10am is being able to saunter into Tim Hortons with a friend or two, and enjoy a light and tasty breakfast bagel before beginning some serious shopping.

Being quite partial to bagels, I order a different one at each visit – the BLT is an all-time favourite. Their hot chocolate is rich and satisfying and the chocolate doughnut deliciously light.

The downside is the close seating space. Getting in early ensures one gets a table.

Average per person: SR 25

Papaya

With a huge seating area, awash in beautiful, natural light flooding in from the high glass ceiling, Papaya is simply breathtaking. I have never seen so much greenery in one space before in Jeddah with foliage growing abundantly throughout the restaurant. Add to that the sounds of trickling water from various water features scattered within and the sounds of birds chirping – it was like stepping through a portal and walking straight into a tropical rainforest.

My friend and I ordered a stack of cinnamon pancakes which were topped with just the right amount of cream cheese frosting and extra pancake syrup on the side. They were the fluffiest pancakes I have ever eaten and we both agreed that they were delicious.

The cheese and zaatar manaeesh was very fresh-tasting and the flat bread was soft and not dry as I have found to be the case in many other eateries. With just the right combination of pineapple and coconut, the pinacolada was refreshing and hit all the right tastebuds. One of the best I’ve tasted here in Jeddah.

The service was very good with waiters greeting us as we entered and making sure we had everything we needed. Prices were very reasonable at SR 60 per head. Portion sizes were generous, as we even had some pancakes left over to take away. Will definitely go back.

Do you think we’ve missed a great breakfast spot?Leave us a comment or write us a review, and let us know.

The Road Home. An Exclusive Interview with Director and Film-maker Rahul Gandotra.


Rahul Gandotra’s short film, The Road Home was short-listed for the Academy Awards in 2012. The Road Home is a short film about a boy named Pico who runs away from Woodstock, a boarding school in the Himalayas, with a return ticket to Britain in hand. Pico may look like he belongs in the Himalayas or that he’s from an Indian descent but his British nationality is something that others around him find hard to accept. Pico tries to get to New Delhi and encounters people who softly push him into realizing that others don’t see him the way he sees himself. After finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, Rahul attended the London Film School for Masters in Film Directing. For his Masters thesis he traveled to the Himalayas to shoot for The Road Home. He released the short film for free, and intends to make a full-length feature using the same plot. The trailer and additional information can be viewed on The Road Home Official Site. The underlying issues in the movie are pertinent in understanding today’s globalized society, and particularly poignant for the expat community. The short film leaves you with a deeper understanding of certain emotional issues surrounding globalization and the lingering feeling of displacement it leaves in many people. We at Jeddah Blog were very excited when Rahul Gandotra agreed to be interviewed, and our brilliant and resourceful writer Zareen Muzaffar set out to capture this exclusive story. You will all be surprised also, by a certain connection Rahul has with Saudi Arabia. Read on to discover more about Rahul Gandotra, his short movie, his life and experiences. How did you enter filmmaking and what was the journey like? I was pursuing professional sports at university when I got injured. To pass my time I picked up a camera which later graduated into a video camera and I started taking photography and film-making courses. At the same time I was about to graduate from university and started applying for management consultant jobs. My professor who had seen my work during the course told me I should seriously think of getting into the field. I think my fear of going into film-making had to do with the fact that I was disappointed with a lot of the films out there. So you could say the interest was there, but I kept delaying the decision till the very end. I started making short movies on my own. Sure, I was making mistakes but I was learning on my own. Honestly, I just slipped into this film-making profession and it has been a long path. The Road Home was part of my master thesis project. What led you to make this short film. How did this concept and idea come to you? While I was in Prague for a year, one of my teachers really encouraged me to make a movie about my life. I became interested in the idea, especially as I had built some connections, and had even written a script whose theme revolved around the search for home and identity. The topic was very close to me. The idea kept on flipping in my head till I decided to make an autobiographical account of my time spent at Woodstock.  Search for home and a search for identity became the main underlying theme of my short.

Rahul Gandotra filming on set.

Rahul Gandotra filming on set.

How long did it take to film this movie? I didn’t have the proper film budget but it took 2 years for the whole process and six to seven months to write the script. Once the script was finalized we got into some intense pre-production. We spent about two months in India shooting for the film. While you were making this movie, did you have a particular audience in mind? Who were you reaching out to? In a way it was in defense of my ‘self’ and my experiences as a traveler. There was always this constant question of who I am. It gets frustrating with time because how you feel is different from what people see you as. When I went to India to shoot the movie, I was introduced to this book Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds by David C. Pollock and Van Ruth E. Reken. The book is basically about the children who have been raised in multiple cultures during their foundational and developmental years, such that they don’t really fit into any one culture. That book described me really well. I realized these are the type of people I am making the film for and that this film is for anyone who questions where they are from, at any time of their life. Any one who has had an outsider experience or has left their country can relate to this movie. You have traveled extensively and lived in different countries. Tell us about your experiences as an expatriate (particularly while you were in the Middle East). I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, grew up in eight countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and America. I lived in Riyadh between the age of 6 and 9. So my memories are from a child’s perspective. It was a lot of fun, I went to an American school, and lived in a compound. I spent some time living in Yanbu as well. The time I spent in Saudi Arabia was very enjoyable and I am sure my parents’ experiences were different than mine. So, where do you feel ‘at home’? Nowhere [laughs] Would it be safe to say home is everywhere? No [laughs again] What do you think is the impact of globalization on one’s authentic self? Does it survive? I would say in my case, it is a very extreme version because I have moved around quite a lot. I think it’s a double-edged sword. At one end, I had a very unique upbringing, for example I didn’t have to read about Ramadan, I lived through it while I was in Saudi Arabia. The sound of call to prayer is very soothing to me, so for me, all these are good memories. It may be something completely different to another person, so it depends on one’s personality too. You get to see the world in the flesh rather than reading about it. On the flip side, I moved around so much I feel I’ve lost the sense of community. I’ve lost count of the number of times I had to throw away things and then had to buy them again. Building your community and home again gets tiring. People think its a vacation, but its not. They associate travel with vacation but it’s not the same thing. You are not coming back to your surroundings, you are building it all again. There are some unintended consequences of moving around too much; you forget how long it takes for people to put their trust in you or how long it takes to build your community. Can you tell us about your next project? I have written a full-length feature version of The Road Home and that will be my directorial debut. Working with Andreas Eigenmann, I have turned Pico’s story into a coming-of-age adventure road movie. The feature script is faster-paced than the short. Lastly, since The Road Home was an autobiographical account, what would you tell Pico, or how would you address the internal conflict he goes through in the movie? That’s a tough question. When I was a nine year old, I wasn’t so eloquent or knowledgeable. I didn’t have the third culture book to tell me whats happening. There is a certain level of restraint, and its too much to ask of a nine year old. I read that a lot of third-culture kids handle culture in 3 ways: There are chameleons, the ones who blend into the society and basically avoid sharing their rich history; there’s the wallflower, those who avoid people and don’t interact much and then there’s the screamer. They are the ones who say “I am going to tell you who I am no matter what you think I am”, and obviously Pico and myself is the screamer. I wouldn’t stand anyone telling me who I was, and the number of hours of discussions I’ve had in life are too many to count. Ironically, if I hadn’t been through all these experiences, I probably wouldn’t have made the film. It has been something that has been a large part of my life. Special thanks to Rahul Gandotra for sharing his thoughts and views with us. To see more, you can go through this sampler pack  including commentaries, interviews, photos, wallpaper, internet resources, and a link to the film for free.

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