My husband and I celebrated our 33rd monthsary last night and he asked me where I want to be treated (hooray!). Actually, he always asks me where I want to eat because I have a list of “to-try restaurants” in my mind and he knows that I want to go to somewhere new that I can review for The Pink Tarha, haha! And so I told him about this restaurant that I’ve been meaning to try since I saw in Instagram that it opened. He asked where and I told him and he nodded and said, “yeah you’ve been suggesting that for quite some time now”. The thing is, I was a bit hesitant in pushing to eat in this restaurant because it involved cooking your own food and the comment of my father on these DIY restaurants is echoing in the far corner of my ears, “why would I pay to cook my own food?” I nod. Indeed, why?! And so I moved on and forgot about this restaurant until I get asked where to eat next again.
Last night, I finally got to try it with my husband and you know what? We like it! My husband more so. He’s not that hard to please when it comes to food but him claiming to be eating the best chicken steak ever is something! Okay okay, I’m talking about Grill Session. Let me start with what it is and what makes it different from other restaurants in the city.
Grill Session is a buffet restaurant where you grill your own food. Each table has a range hood and grills will be placed in each table. And mind you, it’s not an electric grill but a manual grill that has hot coals beneath it. The range hood catches oil splatters and vent smoke, steam, and cooking smells out of the booth and restaurant immediately. The only time you smell of barbecue is when you’re actually cooking the food in front of you. It’s pretty nice actually especially for people like us who can’t BBQ our own meats in our own homes for the fear of making the whole building smell like sweet, smoky meat and getting complaints. So, this is a reprieve. We get to grill, and in a legit manner. Haha!
The premise of Grill Session is simple: you get to grill and eat all the meat you want for SR 125 per person and if you’re more than one then you get a discount. For two, it’s SR 225. If you ask my husband, it’s super sulit especially when you’re a serious carnivore. We also got unlimited appetizers of bread, hummus, mutabbal, chili paste, and corn slaw. Even the sides of fried potatoes and mozzarella sticks are unlimited! (This will surely get you full easily so stay away from the carbs.) Drinks are not included in the price but when we ordered soda and water, we got them “bottomless” too.
Our friendly waiter brought the hot grill on the table. He removed a wooden panel on the table and put the hot grill. It was really hot and we felt the warmth of the coals from where we were seating. We just considered it as an express face sauna: I’m pretty sure my pores were wide open the whole dinner time. Haha! He then asked us to pick from the small saucers filled with appetizers and told us that if we want more, we can just request. He then placed a board with shish tawouk (chicken BBQ), awsal (lamb/beef BBQ), beef burger patties with cheese, and chicken steak. These are pretty much the meats diners can cook and grill the whole night.
We were given tongs to maneuver our way into the grilling process. It was a bit funny when we entered the restaurant and the manager eyed us like he wasn’t sure if we came to the right place or what. He asked us if we know about the concept of the restaurant and I wanted to tell him that “yes boy do I know it!” I’ve been stalking their Instagram account for the longest time so yes, of course! To me, this is the Arabic version of a Korean BBQ restaurant. He asked us if we know that we will cook our own food and my husband said yes. I think he wanted to add that “even though my wife is a failure in the kitchen, she probably knows how to grill.” Haha! Of course I know how to grill! How bad can I be at it?! Haha!
Well, I was a pretty decent griller. I first put the beef patty not because it has the longest cooking time but because I just feel like I want to eat that first. Haha, so much for a decent griller. The grill can pretty much accommodate the entire lot of meat that were first given but we want to eat hot-off-the-grill food so we spaced out the grilling to how much food we can eat at a time.
The shish tawouk and the awsal were okay; just your average chicken and beef in a stick. The burger patty was a bit salty, maybe because of the cheese, but it was really flavorful and savory. The big hit, and my husband’s favorite, is the chicken steak, slices of chicken that were marinated so well. He proclaimed this to be the best, softest chicken steak ever! And I’m not taking that proclamation lightly especially when he followed that up with “this is so worth it!” He tasted it first so I was a bit skeptical. I mean, between the two of us, who is the long-time food reviewer?! But I guess I rubbed off some of my “Pink Tarha” dust on him and he too can review now. Haha! He was right. This is one of the best pieces of grilled chicken I’ve ever tasted in Riyadh! My knife went through it like butter! It was soft, tasty, and really juicy. We love it so much we ordered a round two of it. Our waiter wasn’t surprised. He said this is also their favorite!
My order of regular Pepsi came in a can and my husband’s water came in a bottle so we were surprised when they said it was “refillable”. Turned out they’ll just give us another can and another bottle if we wanted more. I think this is great because I get a fresh new soda complete with spirit in a new can as compared to just refilling my glass with the carbonated drink from a dispenser.
We also had their brownie dessert and just by looking at it, I could already tell that I will not like it. I just want to eat the ice cream. But again, this is another revelation because the brownie was really good. If the hardened chocolate on top will be removed, the brownie is good on its own; it wasn’t too sweet and cloying. It has a bit of grit to it but when combined with a spoon of ice cream, it’s an ultimate melt-in-the-mouth treat.
So yes, we enjoyed Grill Session and we didn’t mind paying for cooking our own food because the food is unlimited. Well, until you surrender from being too full that is. You can order as much as you want and you can even take out your left over food. But of course, don’t be abusive and order as many as you want without finishing most of it. Our tip would be to come hungry and come with your families and friends because grilling is meant to be a family chore you know. Haha! The restaurant is clean but I’m just a bit confused with the decor, haha. I don’t like plastic plants all over but oh well. I like how the booths are well-covered and has its own range hood so the whole restaurant doesn’t smell like smoke. Also, don’t worry about your phone running low on battery; they have electric outlets and phone holders. If you need the waiter, you can just press on a red button and they’ll come in a jiffy.
However, if you have your own backyard (eh ikaw na! haha) or have the means to grill your own food in your houses or flats, then you might not appreciate this because it’s easier to just buy or marinate your meats and cook them yourselves in the comfort of your own venue and time. You can even mix your own sauces (the ones here are pretty basic: ketchip, mayo, and barbecue sauce). I can only wish that Grill Session comes up with Korean barbecue to spice up and level up their grilling game.
Anyway, visit Grill Session for a special night out with your loved ones and enjoy grilling!
Thalateen Street (Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Road),
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [MAP]
PS. Thank you to my husband for feeding me. Haha! Happy monthsary, my love!