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SASO RESTOLOUNGE
Your food. Your mood.

By bazaar magazine, bazaar goes dining
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SASO
SASO
 

We live in a city, do we not? Perhaps not as densely populated as our neighbors in the UAE, but we qualify as a bustling metropolis, don’t we? As a country girl, turned city-person, one of my favorite things about the city life is the strange small-town community phenomenon that happens to the people who work in a downtown area and the restaurants and shops they frequent. The land of over-grown skyscrapers and  constantly moving traffic veins shrink to small town as you interact with the same handful of people in your daily routine. Some of the greatest meeting spots in that mini-community are the lunch destinations and the after work stops. Saso has the feel of a swanky metropolitan eatery that just might become one of those irreplaceable places.

Located in the Shurooq Tower in Sharq, Saso is the creation of MWG (Marafie Works Group), which is a cooperation between Marafie cousins, Nasser, Anwar, and Mishari. The restaurant-lounge is the trio’s first joint endeavor and everything about the place, from conception to creation, has been thoroughly researched, tested and personally approved. Positioned to capture the busy weekday market around Jaber Al-Mubarak Street’s growing business hub, Saso is the ideal place for a quick breakfast, an intimate business lunch, some out-of-the-ordinary take-out, or a casual dinner after work.

“We wanted to create something that we can all be proud of and there is a great sense of satisfaction seeing people sitting in the restaurant, enjoying the food, unaware of all the hard work that has gone into the launch of Saso,” says Nasser, the Concept Manager responsible for developing and monitoring each stage of the project’s evolution. Fourteen months of hard work, in fact, is what it took to create the place. The trio’s first ideas evolved into bigger, better plans and resulted in a completely unique menu, custom-made for the eclectic tastes of Kuwait.

“There are many franchises here in Kuwait, which is great, but they don’t really capture the spirit of the country. We aim to provide consumers with original concepts tailored directly to the market” explains Anwar. The aesthetic portion of that concept was directed by Mishari and his passion for interior design. You may remember reading about Mishari’s other venture, Le Cercle, in last years’ bazaar Living Spaces and Design guide, and it is this same eye for ambiance that gives Saso its suave lounge vibe.

Alas, no matter how pretty a place looks, a restaurant needs to present food worth coming back for and, as the critics say, the proof is in the pudding, right? So, we let our appetites do a little critical investigation. It’s a tough job, folks, but somebody’s got to do it. Speaking of proof, try the warm Date Pudding from the dessert menu. Very satisfying.

Saso’s menu is an eye-brow raising blend of Asian and Italian cuisines with a little bit of the American Southwest tossed in for fun. We started our session with the Spicy Crab and Avocado Salad (crab, avocado and cucumber dressing with a saucy Japanese dressing), a Saso Maki (tempura prawns rolls in sushi rice, served with special Saso topping), Buffalo Chicken (fiery fried chicken on a stick, smothered in buffalo sauce and served with ranch dressing), and Jalapeño Poppers unlike any others we’ve encountered (Philadelphia cheese and bacon bits infused with jalapeño peppers and mashed potatoes, Panko fried and served with green pepper sauce and tomato basil dip). As a lover of moderately spicy food, the only dish giving off certain heat was the Buffalo Chicken. It will give your mouth a little kick that you may still feel a few minutes later and will definitely get a craving for when your next snack attack hits. You may need to order a Bosco (sweet melon, mint and fresh pineapple), one of Saso’s signature fresh, fruity drinks to cool off.

Our main courses had to be good: it would have been too easy to stop after the ample serving of appetizers, but we forged on and were doubly rewarded. The Shrimp ‘n’ Hammour, a beautiful plate of fluffy, rich hammour fillet and perfectly cooked prawns served on small pile of cubed, herb roasted potatoes and drizzled with grated parmesan and pepper coulis. The rosemary potatoes were a subtle Italian influence without overwhelming your taste buds with herby cover-up for less-than-fresh fish. Each flavor, hammour, potato, cheese and sauce complimented the overall dish wonderfully.

The Saso Lamb Chops is an interesting twist on the usual lamp chop was the addition of a light bread crumb coating before the meat is grilled, glazed and served with hearty steak fries. Remarking on the freshness of the potato side dish, Nasser informed us that no French fries are served with any of Saso’s meals. They have instead opted for the more nutritious side dishes, such as steak fries, mashed potatoes or grilled vegetables.

Sitting at a quiet table, talking about food, over the remnants of good food, Nasser told us: “Ever since I was young I have always dreamt about opening my own restaurant. Whenever I travel, it’s the first thing I like to do, discover new restaurants and try new kinds of cuisine, you could say, I’m a big food fan!”

It shows. Congratulations to the Marafie cousins for creating the new Kuwait standard in casual, atmospheric dining. 

 

Saso Restolounge is located on the street level of Shurooq tower on Jaber Al-Mubarak Street in Sharq. They are open from 12 noon – 11pm, with breakfast and delivery offerings coming soon. For more information call 2247 6852 or check out their menu online: www.saso-lounge.com.

 
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