I was invited to the soft opening of this restaurant, which is considered the first fine dining authentic Saudi restaurant in Jeddah. The owners are the same people behind the success of Square Meater, Semsom, Kalila, and Margarita.
The efforts are very clear just from the exterior of the restaurant, where you feel you are entering one of the old houses in Jeddah ”Al-Balad”. Once you enter, you are taken back in time as you see the interior decor and how they used items from traditional Saudi life, carefully placed on the walls or in the corners. With Mohamed Abdo songs playing in the background, and the traditional Saudi coffee and dates presented to you as you take your seat.
We were started off with brown bread which is famous from the Makkah area, with dips of tahini and yoghurt. The bread was very fresh and the dips all tasted home made.
For starters, we were served with mento (Saudi style dumplings), E’eash belaham (Arabian meat pizza), megalgal (meat cubes cooked in a clay pot), fried squid rings, and Hail Kafta (spicy stuffed grape leaves). Everything tasted amazing and very ”homely”, the only comment was that the pizza needed to be a bit thicker.
We actually felt really full after the starters, but the Arabian coffee that was always served after each course made digestion easier.
The main courses were then served: Fish Sayadeya (fish with arabian rice), Matazeez (a raviolli style dish with potatoes and meat), and Jareesh (minced chicken and dough covered with a layer of cheese). Everything was spot on, they even served the fish in a way where it is ready to eat with no bones but while maintaining how the fish looked. The meat in the matazeez was very tender and just melted in the mouth. And it was my first time to eat Jareesh and I have to say it blew my mind away.
After 2 more rounds of Arabian coffee after that, trying to free more space in our stomachs for desert. They served us ”Jobneya” (fried dough balls stuffed with cheese and covered with syrup) , frozen sorbet (didn’t understand how that is Saudi really) , and ”Mahalebeya” with mango (custard style desert). The Jobneya was spot on, we had to fight to see who gets the last piece! The sorbet was ok, nothing to write home about. The Mahalbeya was nice and tastes like something your mom or grandmother would make.
I guess thats what you have to love about this place, that everything tastes as if it was made just for you. It’s not mass produced and cooked in a hurry like you find in many restaurants. I even heard from the owner that the cooks are actually Saudi women! You cant get any more authentic than that!
We had a sneak peek at the full menu, and it really looks promising. With over 20 appetizers and 30 main dishes covering the corners of Saudi Arabia, from East to the Hijaz, from Hail to Jizan. Prices are the same what you would pay in any fine dine in Jeddah, if not less. Plus it is the perfect answer if you want to have some good old Saudi food.
Enough with the burger joints, pizzerias, and sushi , its time that Jeddah had a traditional fine dine Saudi restaurant for a change.Aseil Restaurant,
Try the Premium version now FREE Download it TODAY!