This holy month, give yourself a break from slaving over a hot stove, (and the torture of smelling delicious food on an empty stomach) with a lovely Iftar outing at Khaneen. This local concept offers just what you’re looking for when it comes to breaking your fast: culture, hospitality, tradition and a touch of modernity, complete with all your holiday favorites on the menu. And furthermore, their locations in the scenic Murouj complex or urban, historical Mubarakiya souq make for the ideal venue to visit, or host!
Walking into Khaneen’s colorful restaurant is always welcoming, and between its specialties in Kuwaiti fare and hospitality, it never fails to make you feel like you’re walking into your beloved mama 3oda (grandmother)’s house for an unforgettable feast that somehow has the ability to tell tales of tradition with each bite. Enter their Ramadan menu, presented to you in the midst of brightly colored table settings of a pure aqua with lovely lights and indoor trees adorning the restaurant’s interior. Visiting an old Kuwaiti house is always comfortable, and Khaneen’s successful objective is to replicate this.
Sometimes, taking a break from Iftar routine means that you’ll have to compromise your Ramadan traditions! But Khaneen’s menu offers enough diversity that stays true to culture, so there’s no need for any of those sacrifices to be made. At a fixed price per person, you can take your pick from any of your Ramadan favorites – and believe us when we tell you that all the cult classics have been included.
Everyone knows that a classic Iftar meal comprises of the following elements: soup to start, followed by a salad, accompanied with a cold and hot appetizer, an indulgent main course, a little something sweet, a traditional juice or Vimto, and a bit of tea or coffee to finish. Khaneen takes this flow of tradition very seriously, and has curated the perfect spread on their menu to have you feeling like you’re dining at home, and all for great value!
But first, dates and something cool to drink. Local customs encourage breaking the fast with a healthful date or two, which is why the sweet fruit is always at the Iftar table, and a nice cooling drink of laban. Khaneen’s special concoction of laban and mint does the trick nicely, and quenches all thirst built up from a hard day of fasting under Kuwait’s unforgiving heat. If you’d like to go towards a fruitier route, the refreshing and flowery Rose Sharbat, or flavored Bethan Bil Ward will satisfy. You could also nod in appreciation towards a local Ramadan tradition and try Khaneen’s take on Vimto – iced and frothed, sipped through a straw! Just like field berries on a hot summer’s day.
For our Iftar experience, we chose the beloved lentil soup out of their two soup offerings (lentil or mushroom), along with a fattoush salad to follow. Both tasted exactly like home, with hints of cardamom and pops of lemon in the soup making the porridge come alive, and the salad offering a fresh and authentic blend of crunch within veggies with their little pieces of deep fried pita bread – an essential when it comes to mimicking your grandmother’s all-star fattoush recipe.
To join your starters in that oh-so-decadent Ramadan fashion, hot and cold appetizers are a must! Khaneen has handpicked everybody’s favorite staples for the Iftar table to enjoy at their restaurant. Hummus, muttabal or grape leaves are on offer, and adding a hot mix of a kubba compilation, cheese and vegetable samboosa, delicious, paper thin Uroug bread, or the famous, traditional Kuwaiti jareesh or harees porridges. In our humble opinion, based on what we’ve tried, hummus is essential, as is samboosa – especially when filled with cheese! They also make a delicious kubba platter consisting of the classic bulgur and meat, potato croquette, and dill infused shell. It’s definitely an appetite whetting variety!
The main attractions pull the whole meal together, and Khaneen brings it home with gusto! Just look at this spread they have offered: Lamb or chicken Machboos, the same Lamb Machboos with added laban, shrimp-laden Murabian, Kuwaiti savory Gabbot dumplings in saucy tomato-based (marag) stew, Marag Bamya (okra stew served with Basmati rice), or Rice with Kabab – all the Kuwaiti favorites! We had their chicken machboos and everything from its presentation to its taste was mesmerizing in such an authentic way. Served in a little classic jidr pot, the spiced rice mixed with sweetened onions served alongside a perfectly roasted chicken leg looked small but delivered a whole lot in flavor. Just don’t forget to add a generous drizzle of daqoos!
And to finish off your feast on a sweet note, because we all know that Ramadan is code for “eating dessert every day without guilt”, treat yourself to a choice of your all-time favorites: Kunafa, offering both traditional styles made with cream or cheese, depending on your preference, the Kuwaiti Elba milk and saffron pudding, the regionally loved Muhallabiya pudding, or our personal favorite, Lugaymat—sweet, fried doughnut holes mixed with a sticky sweet syrup and dusted with pistachio. They also have these addictive lugaymiyat that we thoroughly enjoyed, in NUTELLA form! Could anything be better paired with a steaming hot cup of tea?
Khaneen is located at Murouj off of 6th ring road, and Souq Al Mubarakiya in Kuwait City. For delivery, call them at 185 0005, or order through Talabat and Carriage. Follow them on Instagram @khaneen.restaurant, and Facebook as Khaneen Restaurant.
Photography by Caroline Ericson, Instagram @PixbyCaroline.