… will no longer be a secret when you read this entry.
And since I’m hurrying up writing this post (I still need to put on sunblock, lip gloss, and my abaya… and uhmn, my shoes to go to work), beating around the bush is no longer an option. So here it is, Anthurium. That’s what’s it’s called. Anthurium is one of Riyadh’s best-kep secret.
I’m curious why a restaurant in Riyadh is named ‘Anthurium.’ When you come across the word Anthurium, you’ll immediately think of the red flower with a white spike that looks plastic when seen from a considerable distance. Or maybe you don’t even know about that flower and reading Anthurium creates a momentary ‘huh?!’ in the brain. Yet, here it is in the middle of the desert nonetheless!
Anthurium is a restaurant along Abdullah Al Hamdan street just off Tahlia Street. The building is so discreet you won’t even think of it as a restaurant when you first see it. I thought it sold plants when I first saw the gray box-like building. Haha! But then again, I got curious and Googled it. Foursquare answered my curiosity and based on the comments of Riyadhizens who went to Anthurium, I should definitely try it asap. So before I left for Riyadh in March (yeah, yeah, this has been a long pending entry in my drive), my friends and I decided to check the place out. When we stepped inside, we were awed with the elegance and sophistication of the place. I had to check if I was wearing a good abaya (and not the one I had worn to bits when I’m on errands). If you have an expensive, embellished abaya in your closet reserved for special occasions, this is one dinner where you should wear it. This is where you make sure you’ve called in for a reservation. We just got lucky that when we went, it was after salah and the manager accommodated us (also, one of my friends is an editor of a Riyadh magazine so instant passes, hehe!).
I have nothing more to say on the interiors of the place. It was impeccable in its elegance. Dinner is fancy with the lights dimmed and muted to create a nice, subtle ambiance. The attendants were courteous and friendly. They offer the menu but you know what? Shuck the menu and ask what’s NOT on the menu because the makis that are not on the menu are the best makis I’ve tried in Riyadh. Of course they came with a hefty price tag but sharing is always welcome.
The Lobster Maki Roll is everyone’s recommendation. Look in Foursquare and everyone’s saying it’s the best dish in this restaurant. So of course, we have to try it! It came in a long white plate. The maki pieces are hidden underneath lettuce shreds and roe making my mouth water just by looking at it. I was willing to let go of our rule to “shoot first, eat later” in restaurants just to take a bite already! That never happens. When I finally gobbled one piece (you have to eat a maki whole so that you taste everything), I tasted perfection. It has a great depth of flavor without the rice overpowering the lobster’s taste. I can clearly taste the lobster in there. The mayo dressing is super nice, adding a light smoothness to the maki’s texture.
The Ran Maki is also off the menu so you have to ask the waiter for it. It’s also a good maki and it’s my favorite. The maki is topped with a smooth and creamy crab mix. The nori is treated like a tempura; it has a nice crunch that blends wonderfully with the softness of the rice. I don’t know what they placed in that maki but it ended up being very flavorful and tasty. I can’t get enough of it! (I have to apologize to my friends because I think I got the most number of pieces from this plate, haha!)
You have to pardon me for forgetting the name of this dish.It came before the makis but I totally forgot its name because I concentrated on the Japanese treats instead. However, I can say that this dish is great too. This dish is made up of scallops and potato balls in a very light yet creamy sauce. Amazing combination! I’ve never had anything like them in my life and I should consider having a different view on French cuisine.
This is the Prawn Thermidor, also one of the most-raved about dishes in Anthurium. Thermidor is usually reserved for lobster but on this dish, they made use of shrimps. It has a creamy consistency of shrimp meat, yolks, and vegetables. It’s very creamy; its flavor is bursting in every spoonful of the mixture. I also love how this dish looks like. It has three small mounds of mashed potato with potato chips stuck into them. Smooth and crunchy… what did I tell you? They get their combinations perfect in this restaurant.
Everything on our table that night were delicious and wonderful. However, that dinner made a dent in our wallet (or was it my friend’s wallet?! haha!). The food’s prices are more than what you want to spend on food but with food this good, every riyal is worth it. Of course there are more dishes to try and I haven’t returned to Anthurium since I got back in the desert last May but let’s just say the makis are really worth the rave they’re receiving. So when in doubt, stick with the Japanese items in their menu. They also serve French and Italian dishes though. There’s a ravioli i pink sauce that I’ve been dying to try. Oh and a steak and an eggplant canneloni and so on and so forth…
So, any secrets you want to share with us too? Indulge us in the comment section please.
Abdullah Al-Hamdan Street
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
From Tahlia Street, turn towards Dairy Queen and go straight. Anthurium is among the cluster of Munch Bakery, Sheraz, Roma Cafe, and Ketchup.