The Mira Hotel is a beautiful building in Tahlia Street. Its modern Andalusian architecture and design and warm, creamy yellow orange facade emit a welcoming vibe that speaks of comfort and luxury at the same time. You know when a hotel is a bit intimidating because of all the displays in there that you’re afraid to touch? Well, we’re not sure if Mira is the same because honestly, we only got to walk down their red carpet in front and enter their sliding doors and turn right to what is probably one of the best not-so-hidden gems in Riyadh… Kitchenation.
While the sign is right outside the wall of Mira Hotel, you wouldn’t be able to see the interiors of the restaurant unless you enter. Kitchenation is unique in terms of its layout and design. For a hotel restaurant, it doesn’t look obnoxious and snobbish. It looks inviting. It looks like a place where your creativity can flow all day long. I was tempted to bring out my Macbook, my notebooks, pencils, and Sharpies and invade one of the tables for the whole day, considering how I’ve been struggling with some sort of a writer’s block over the past few months.
The restaurant is airy and the spaces are wisely-utilized. There’s no uniformity but everything goes together so well; from the mix and matched chairs to the nooks filled with books, figurines, and trinkets to the juice bar filled with colorful fruits and beverages to my favorite dessert display where meringues and cheesecakes and candy apples and brownies are arranged in sweet abandon. I honestly felt like I already belonged in this place, even if it was just my first time to set foot on it.
The tables have – get this – a canister of crayons and pens and also a placemat that has a game we used to play in the Philippines. I guess this game of listing famous personalities, countries, animals, plants, etc. that starts with the letter A, B, C, and so on… is a universal game after all. So while waiting for the food, we went back to our childhood and scribbled away.
Each table has its own knick-knacks which will help you tide the time away. I was also fascinated with this huge shelf filled with books, tin cans, photo frames, and clocks and the nearby roll of manila paper filled with scribbled quotes that stretches from the ceiling to the floor. Even the IKEA sofa sets and colorful chairs are interesting. They all held my attention because looking at the setup, I did not get what cuisine they were serving. If I had to take a guess, it would have taken me a few tries to get the answer (or maybe not at all) because…
Kitchenation serves a fusion of Turkish and Italian cuisine.
Weird huh? But I tell you, Kitchenation actually got their fusion right. I mean pizzas with yoghurt and kebabs? Pastas with seafood and Turkish flavors? Yum! There are some items in their menu that look American and Asian to me but oh well. Their slogan says “Turkish Kitchen and Italian Hospitality” and that’s a legit thing as far as I’m concerned.
Here are the food items we truly enjoyed:
This salad is fresh and bountiful… what more can I say? Ask my friends who devoured this for further comments. Haha!
The Crispy Shrimps appetizer is so simple yet once you start eating one, you can’t stop! The succulent shrimps are enveloped in a pillowy cover that is surprisingly crispy. One piece packs a lot of flavor.
|Unveiling the goodness beneath.|
And here I am again forgetting to take photos of the menu thus forgetting the names of the dishes (why do I do this to myself every.single.time?!?). Anyway, this seafood spaghetti is served in a clay pot and covered with khubz. There goes the fusion of Turkey and Italy. Our waiter took his time showing us how to release the steam of the pasta. He carefully cut the thin, flat bread on the sides and followed the circular pattern of the pot and voila! The wonderful seafood aroma seeped through and we finally saw the spaghetti doused in a pale orangey sauce that is savory and delicious.
Another successful creation that fuses both countries’ bestselling dishes is this pizza that features a light tomato sauce, tender beef cuts, and creamy yoghurt sauce in the middle. I slathered my slice with the white sauce and ate with gusto.
The mini burgers garnered a lot of raves in Foursquare but I didn’t find anything special to it apart from the kebab, almost sausage, they used as patty. And also the generous heaping of french fries on the side.
The salmon didn’t taste quite as fresh as we imagined it to be and the sweet chili sauce was a bit off-putting. We’re not too sure they go well together. If you order this, have them put the chili sauce on the side instead of pouring it in the fish.
They also offer interesting beverage mixes. Try their mojitos. Or if you can’t pick just one fruit, make your own kind of juice! We didn’t have the chance to try their desserts but I’m leaving you with photos of some sweet treats that made my eyes full. Let me know if you tried any and I’ll surely go back to try them out.
|A tray of sweets|
|is there anything more chocolatey?!|
I really felt like Kitchenation is a home that just transformed into a bigger venue and welcomed more people in. I felt like I belong in one of their table sets because it’s so whimsical and boho, almost like being outside Saudi Arabia for a moment. Their staff are friendly too. Kitchenation is open from 7:00AM to 11:00PM. Can I be a citizen on this nation? Haha.
KitchenationMira HotelTahlia Street,Riyadh Saudi ArabiaTwitter: @kitchenationmInstagram: @kitchenation
Directions: Mira Hotel is the same building where Elevation Burger and Zaatar Wa Zeit are located. If you’re coming from Olaya, turn to Tahlia Street and make a U-turn when you reach the Chili’s intersection. It will be on your right. If you’re coming from Dabab Street, just go straight, pass the signal light and you’ll see it in your right. (Map photo from Foursquare)