If you have been wowed by the Marina Crescent with its spectacular sea-view, then you will definitely be charmed by Ayyame. The restaurant located on the second deck of Marina Crescent overlooks the sea, providing the perfect al fresco dining spot in the cool wintry months. The contemporary Middle Eastern restaurant is not only beautiful on the outside but has a lovely interior to boot. Its chic interior gives a whole new meaning to Middle Eastern flair, exuding both modernism and traditions in playful elegance. Chairs embroidered with Suzani flowers sit amicably next to shiny leather couches, while similar Persian floral prints artfully adorned its walls. In line with its international leaning are its cutleries and tableware which have been amassed from all over the Middle East. With so much emphasis on appearance, it is no wonder that Ayyame bagged the Gold Award at the 2009 Taste of Kuwait for its food presentation.
But Ayyame is not just about looks. The fact that they garnered the Bronze Award at the same event certainly attests to the fact that they are no pushover in the taste department. Indeed, with the kitchen headed by honcho, Chef Ali Bata who has spent almost a decade toiling in the kitchens of JW Marriott, Ayyame is a forerunner in Kuwait’s rapidly expanding food scene. And Ayyame’s management is certainly not one to rest on their laurels. To ensure that authentic flavors are faithfully replicated, all their chefs underwent grueling training to master the different cuisines housed under the Ayyame name.
However, what really sets Ayyame apart from its counterparts is its interpretation of the international concept. As Assistant Manager Ahmad Abdel Aal aptly puts it, “You don’t need to go to different restaurants for different MIddle Eastern cuisines. Ayyame has it all under one roof”. Its menu is a diverse amalgam of the very best from cuisines hailing from the Middle East and Africa. And to tell the truth, I’ve never been so fascinated with a menu before. Besides your typical catalogue of dishes and their descriptions, the menu also reveals the origins of each dish. So for the astute food aficionados, here’s the right place to put your food trivia to test.
Do note that Ayyame is not just about taking different dishes and plucking them into their menu. Indeed, dishes like the Spinach Hummus, Falafel Salad and of course the Eggplant Salad have been perfected in the kitchens of Ayyame. And on the topic of the Eggplant Salad of award winning fame, a whole chapter could be dedicated to it. Simply put, if looks could kill, this dish would certainly do it without breaking a sweat. The Eggplant salad is a heavenly combination of beautifully grilled eggplants tossed with chickpeas and herbs and then topped with smooth-creamy yoghurt, pomegranate and toasted pine nuts. The luscious texture of the eggplant yoghurt mix between bites of crunchy pomegranate seeds had even my partner, who supposedly hated eggplants, raving about it. Another must-try on their menu is the Arugula Salad; good old rockets, scattered with Nabulsi cheese and drizzled with molasses sauce. However its deceptively plain looks, behold a sophisticated flavor with the sweet molasses sauce complementing the rocket leaves flawlessly.
For the mains, go for the Tabliya which comes with five different combination of toppings. A dish reminiscent of the German pflammkuchen, it even comes served in the same manner on a wooden pizza peel. Our chicken Tabliyah was a fun mix of Moroccan chicken bastilla, Arab chicken musahab and Palestinian chicken musakhan. So instead of the typical one flavored pastry, Ayyame’s Tabliya offers three different cultural takes on poultry all within the same plate!
Not only are the dishes culturally-diverse, the drinks menu too boasts an exciting array of interesting quenchers like the Ayyame chai; tea with milk infused with cardamon, Moroccan mint, Saffron milk, all with different origins. Dessert for us was the Ayyame Gerse Ogaily; a Kuwaiti pound cake which came on a beautiful oriental-styled tray with two glasses of Kuwaiti chai to complement.
And so it was with the cool sea breeze caressing our faces that we sat indulging in our Kuwaiti chai while polishing off every last tasty morsel of Ayyame Gerse Ogaily. With its original concept and finesse in the kitchen, Ayyame has won over fans all over the region. Even Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama pops by for dinner sometimes.
For a culinary trip around the region visit Ayyame or call 2571 2189 for more information or to make a reservation.