Within the heart of Artspace blooms a clean eating-friendly concept that refuses to be anchored by one singular description. Rather like the café’s décor and flatware, which is a joyous celebration of a hodgepodge of eclectically mismatched influences, the menu is experimental and always evolving.
It seems the mainstay of Alice & Co’s existence is the sheer enjoyment of the staff that comes from curating a menu with a variety of textures, flavors and unexpected pairings; as delightful as it is too, for the customers.
It’s like stepping into a small haven, walled off by hanging plants woven into a newly handmade but yet still dilapidated wall frame of recovered wood. A secret garden willing itself to be discovered by those adventurous to step through into the unknown, whispering to diners its culinary tales.
As we have been invited by Alice & Co to a menu tasting, the café team, with the assistance of Nivin (Viv) and Michael, have beautifully set up a table for us. This is easily done for other customers too, if you wanted to make a reservation ahead of time to ensure your place.
There is limited room at once, perhaps 16 at the most and take note seating is not all traditional “dining table and chairs” so be prepared for the odd pouf cushion, bench or stool, which certainly is part of Alice & Co’s charm.
Already waiting for us on the table is a welcome drink chilling in a hand-painted clay carafe. To grapefruit juice we can add sparkling water and infuse the lot with our choice of freshly cut rosemary, lime, mint or slices of juicy ruby red grapefruit. I threw it all in and was met with a taste so lightly refreshing it was tough to leave the cup long enough for all the tastes to combine.
There are “oohs” and “ahhs”, as a sharing plate called “breaking bread” is set down on the table. It’s a long wooden sleeve of a platter so everyone at the table can reach something. Each element is so delicious that we didn’t really move from the one closet to us.
What stood out were the dips of creamy avocado and feta, a smoothly rich tahini and dibs (imported from the village in Lebanon), and a sharp, citrus-yet-sweet, crunchy zaatar with fresh pomegranate seeds and olive oil concoction that danced heavenly on the taste buds.
The accompanying vegan scones had a hefty nutty profile which seems at odds with the crumbly nature of the blissfully baked beauties, the best I’ve ever had. The paratha-inspired unleavened breads had a feel to it that gently sighed comfort with as ululating a vowel sound as you can have. We each looked at one another with an excited glint; if this was the high bar set from the beginning, what more could we expect.
It took all the strength we could muster to not polish off the lot, so we distracted ourselves with the expressively creative surroundings and also in conversation catching up on really getting to one another, a rare gift of time bazaarites seldom have.
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We heard y’all! Our plain and chocolate scones will be available everyday on the menu starting tomorrow, and for our vegan friends, we’ve added vegan scones for you too🔅 . Bon Appétit! . . . . . . . . . . . #cleaneating #scones #bohobistro #cheese #love #food #الكويت #سحور #foodphoto #foodphotography #kuwaitfood #foodart #dine-in #instaq8 #q8bistro #q8 #kuwait #q8food #q8foodies #organic #cleaneats #bohofood #foodpics #menu #kwt #kuwaitfood #foodinkuwait #aliceinfoodland
The most colorful “Kay’s Salad” is next presented alongside its dressing with a base profile of peanut that complements well the crunchy red cabbage, carrots and crisp romaine. Explaining to us just how organically comes the creation of the Alice & Co dishes, Yusra Ahmad, Kitchen Manager and biotechnologist, tells us the story of when she came up with a glorious combination of sesame paste to make tahini and date jam, but had no idea what to put it with.
The team played about and ended up devising the recipe for “Mystic Shrooms” an earthy salad featuring thin slices of chestnut mushrooms matched with walnuts and avocado but starring a ginormous parmesan crisp, so large that nobody felt hard done by as we all got a sizeable piece of the smoky, baked cheese.
The entire experience was so delightful so far that we all were smiling and chattering excitedly. Our online producer jigged about in her seat, keen to dance and naturally high from the music, the vibes, and the shared plates of food.
The “Deconstructed Jamie” appeared next, an open-faced omelet sitting on a bed of homemade naan which actually is another unleavened bread hybrid, an unleavednedhybread if you will, that forms the ideal base for such a layered meal, with tomato, mushroom, garlic, green onions, asparagus, in-house hollandaise and cilantro.
Perfect at any time of day but packed with enough goodies to keep you going for hours so it comes highly recommended by bazaar for brunch.
To tide us over, a steaming cup of skin-on fries sprinkled with salt and herbs of cumin and coriander lands on the table, closely followed by cheesy “All 4’s Pizza” resplendant with fresh mint and fresh thyme leaves, and “The Green Pizza” which is vegan, if you don’t cover it with thick shavings of parmesan like we did.
This is topped with homemade green olive pesto, Rocca, avocado and asparagus and drizzled with a glaze reduced in house from balsamic vinegar to get exactly the right consistency and flavor.
The thing that really is a taste sensation on both pizzas is the tomato base. A home blend of several different tomato varieties including tomatoes that have been dried by Alice & Co, the orange-russet color belying the sauce’s freshly flavorful depth.
The “Butternut Squash Bake” is a satisfying winter dish, where the vegan béchamel topped off with beautifully roasted, nutty caramelized garlic is welcomingly creamy, tasty and wholesome. Ours was also topped off with a layer of bubbling cheese, but without it, the dish would be a very clean vegan offering.
We still had two desserts to come however and were slowing down considerably, and thoughts of hunger satiated beyond doubt. Still, another forkful of something delicious would make its way to my mouth, “stop eating!” I told myself; it took real effort.
Luckily, because it could slip into any minuscule space left at all in the stomach, one of the desserts was an ice-cream like affair, frozen bananas buzzed in a blender and topped with a sugary-sweet sand of oats, pecans and shredded toasted coconut.
We all loved it but nonetheless gazed at the “Choco Molten Cake” as it was set down before us. As stuffed as I was, I had to taste this three times and still couldn’t grasp the flavor profile that was just at the tip of my tongue, pun intended. Turns out, this vegan dessert has an avocado foundation! Another example of Alice & Co’s ingenuity.
Alice & Co is located within Artspace Studio, Salmiya, Block 9, Sayeed Yaseen Al Tabtabie Street. Opening hours are every day at 12 noon, except Friday which opens at 3 pm. Last orders are 9.15 pm. To keep up with what’s on the menu follow Instagram @AliceandCo. Photography by Tareq Alaskar @urbanq8.