Melwin Joy
AUTHOR

Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy
Zaatar Arabic Restaurant- A Travelogue through Arab Cuisines

Religion has a huge role to play in determining the way food enters and influences a particular nation. Indian food is different from rest of the world not only in taste but also in cooking methods. It reflects a perfect blend of various cultures and ages. India’s role in global food culture has been extremely significant all over the regions of Central Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. India’s cuisine is something that can only be defined by its indefinable nature. The remarkable diversity and variety of foods it encompasses makes it in many ways appealing.

The Indian cuisine has absorbed many influences from its ancient civilizations. Each wave of immigrants brought their culinary habits and with passage of time all of these got absorbed in the local cuisine of India. Arab influences revolutionized simple Indian food and the Indians have always tried to bring down the Arabic touch in their dishes. The Arabic cuisine is mainly a combination of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian food. It has been affected by the mingling of Arab and non-Arabs over the centuries. The essential concept in the Arabic cuisine is hospitality and generosity (Karam).

Following this tradition and retelling the Middle Eastern folklore ‘Thousand and One Arabian Tales’, the two young Indian entrepreneurs bring in an exotic restaurant which is woven around Arabic Cuisines.

Zaatar Arabic Restaurant

Zaatar is a unique Arabic restaurant, which offers customers with the opportunity to taste exotic range of gastronomic delights in an authentic Arabic setting. The restaurant’s name ‘Zaatar’ is a mixture of sumac, sesame seed and herbs frequently used in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas. ‘Zaatar’ aims at serving the genuine Arabic food with its unique Arabian flavour and taste with pure ingredients, charcoal with exquisite flavour and aroma.

With a range of mouth-watering traditional Arabian dishes and delicacies, the restaurant prides in offering an unparalleled culinary experience. This Arabic Restaurant features distinctive Middle Eastern design and décor that not only lends an authentic oriental atmosphere to any meal, but also creates a beautiful and tranquil environment to enjoy the ultimate dining experience. It is a restaurant like none other, A ‘Gracious Al Qasr’ (Palace) that summons our entrance. The restaurant offers an enchanting experience with the starlit-ceiling, the rich scent of Oudh and the harvest-gold coloured tables set apart by shades of greenery, which is satiating in itself.

Celebrating the Arabian Hospitality

The Arabian hospitality brims with warmth of welcome and generosity – from the traditional serving of Arabic Tea to an absolute dedication to the highest standards of modern service. The Zaatar Restaurant takes you back in time, through the royal cities of the Middle East unfolding the thousand and one tales of Arabian hospitality. This restaurant celebrates the festival of culinary artistry. It believes that the Secret of Sultan’s Chef, for which the dish to turn out as it should be, are that the ingredients and the cooking pot must be clean.

Inception

‘Zaatar’ restaurant is the resultant of a beautiful friendship between two friends – Mr.  Firose and Mr. Shihas. A friendship founded on loyalty and belief in one another. They founded ‘Zaatar’ to start a journey of exploration of diverse possibilities in an ever expanding modern market universe. And this journey wasn’t easy. However, excited and passionate in this journey, every new day has, indeed, been worthwhile. In each and every nook of this restaurant, we can see the reflections of their relationship. And they are indeed happy on their accomplishment and journey so far.

Two Sides of a Gold Coin

Taking friendship to the next level is what both Mr. Shihas C. Hamza and Mr. Firose S.M.V. dreamt of. And they are adding success stories to their tale each day.

Mr. Shihas C. Hamza, is a young entrepreneur from Kochi and one of the founders of ‘Zaatar’. Shihas believes in spreading happiness and a home filled with loved ones and all having a good time, is what makes him the happiest. He has influenced ‘Zaatar’ with his irrepressible joy of living and contagious sense of humor. After completing B.Com. degree from Maharaja’s college Mr. Shihas was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Following his passion, he ventured in to a catering business and eventually co-founded one of the best Arabian restaurants in Kochi, Kerala.

An ideal mentor Mr. Firose S.M.V., also from Kochi, the other mentor of innovation and co-founder of ‘Zaatar’, is an B.B.A. graduate from the Bangalore city. After completing his working life in academia, he entered the wilderness of the business world. His diplomatic empathy and counselling traits won him the best of deals in diverse industries, like automobile, retail market space, etc. A young man with a unified configuration of attitude and action, Firose, is the kind of person one would love to chat over a cup of Arabic Tea, on a rainy evening at ‘Zaatar’. It is a place where an abstract co-operator and a passionate performer can have a harmonious interaction at the patio over a hookah pot. These young entrepreneurs have been inspiring many people and stresses on unity and urges to focus in doing on what one is interested in. They believe that “When you are fun loving, playful and expressive, you are a natural performer. You radiate charming warmth and a tinge of festivity. And you cherish to arouse pleasurable emotions with your friends at work and at home.”

Success Mantra

When it comes to opening a restaurant, nothing is easy. From deciding the right cutlery or table linen to hiring staff to negotiate with vendors for consistent supply of grocery, each step leads to bigger hurdles. The only solution for this is meticulous planning. Both the founders of ‘Zaatar’ stick to the idea that, “Variety is the Spice of Life.” According to them, variety does to our lives the same thing that spice does to food. New and exciting experiences make life more interesting. They believe in spreading positive aura and for them the only way to look at life and business is to be selective for the brighter side.

‘Zaatar’ comes to life every day with an art learned every day and practiced for years to reach the current perfection. With its culinary artistry, ‘Zaatar’ is an ideal optimistic portrait by two young businessmen that creates an impact and a mark on the hospitality industry landscape. For them, experience is not just coming to a great place and eating in a great cutlery. Experience is the amalgamation of the process, the way one has been greeted at the restaurant to the way they have been served food.

Memorable fine-dining

In a changing economic landscape where Arab food and restaurants are mushrooming in every nook and cranny of Kochi, what makes ‘Zaatar’ stand out is the passionate approach of the young duos. Zaatar Arabic Restaurant provides a fine-dining experience which is both enjoyable and memorable. The menu is full of creative and varied items that is Authentic and flavourful. The dining experience is a travelogue through Arabic cuisines in an inviting and exciting atmosphere.

‘Tafathalo’ of a cultivated court

‘Tafathalo’ in Arabic means “Do me the honour.” It is an invitation to come to the table. Sharing a meal with others is an old honoured tradition in the Arabic world and an expression of hospitality and this is what ‘Zaatar’ focuses in achieving. Maintaining the tradition and values of Arab Culture, this restaurant greets its customers with ‘Tafathalo’.

The Paradox of Choice

‘Zaatar’ lures in customers with top-notch dishes in their menu. Being one of Kochi’s favourite restaurants, their motive is to provide best experience for their customers. Fifty varieties of Sulejamani (Arabic Tea), Kozhi Rice and Laham Mashwi, Kunafa (a well-known Middle-Eastern dessert) are some of the most sought-after items at ‘Zaatar’.

Awards

Being rated among the best Restaurants in the city, ‘Zaatar’ has garnered recognitions in short period of time. It has been awarded as the Best Arabic Restaurant by Kochi Kitchen Awards, 2018 and Best Restaurant of the Year in the 7th Kerala State Business Excellence Awards hosted by Cochin Herald.

Casting Spell

Zaatar Arabic restaurant spells a casting charm on its customers. It lets the refined flavours of Arab bountifulness awaken all of the senses. The bountiful journey starts with a rich memory-provoking aroma of finely blended spices, unleashing to the bite of the juicy and tender meat ending up with a mouthful of savoury delights. All in All, ‘Zaatar’ provides a unique experience with a mind-blowing Arabic Menu, with service that is unmatched in an array of atmosphere.

Melwin Joy
AUTHOR

Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy