Huddled in one of the corners of the scenic Souq Sharq, there is a new eatery that is sure to fill our tummies with joy. Artisanal kitchen, café and bakery Baker & Spice is now open in the lavish shopping mall, overlooking a gorgeous view of the harbor and offering both indoor and outdoor seating options.
Since Baker & Spice’s Middle Eastern debut in 2009, the region’s interest in clean eating and wholesome ingredients has increased, and now that this renowned yummy haven has made its way from Dubai to our seaside plates, our organic needs can continue to be fulfilled.
Baker & Spice, for those who are unfamiliar, is a restaurant group that is known for making everything from scratch – bread and baked goods included – in its own kitchen. The result? Everything tastes amazing, and the menu is interchangeable as the restaurant is adamant on using local and seasonal ingredients. For example, if you were to order a decadent piece of cheesecake for dessert to pair with their amazing fresh ground Arabica bean coffee, then expect to see it topped with blueberries one season and strawberries the next.
Baker & Spice is designed thoughtfully with all types of diners in mind. It emits a calming atmosphere decorated in a simple color scheme of soothing grays and powder clouded blue hues with earthy wood tones and light sea foam, contrasted with pops of pumpkin orange detailing adorning the space. The seating is rustic and has a communal feel to it, making for an optimal setting to dine with friends and family. At the same time, the environment exudes chill vibes without pretention, making it perfectly acceptable and accommodating for solo diners to come alone, laptop or book in tow, to sit down and get some work done in peace while enjoying a quick meal, snack or refreshing beverage.
The ethos of using simple and local ingredients is what sets this place aside from others. Baker & Spice is a concept originated by Yael Mejia, who collaborated with Kharafi Global in Dubai, which lead to its recent opening in Kuwait and future expantion in the GCC. It makes the effort to personalize itself according to each city where it is housed, with the belief that by using local ingredients, you’ll get a taste for the locals. In this case, it’s evident that Kuwait’s local taste is comfort food made with uncomplicated ingredients and wholesome flavors.
And what better way to get to know the locals than with a local market? When food consultant Yael Mejia spearheaded the farmer’s market initiative in Dubai’s Baker & Spice, her vision was to raise awareness of local agriculture and its importance as part of the global food solution. In doing this, part of the Baker & Spice experience is the Farmers’ Market On the Terrace project – an event that the restaurant will host outdoors, and an opportunity for both locals and the good people behind Baker & Spice to discover what public growers and fellow organic food makers have to offer – and what could eventually end up on the restaurant’s menu! The operating details of the market are still under works, but it’s without a doubt that we will be able to enjoy this fun-filled morning activity shortly.
Though Baker & Spice is absolutely brand new in Kuwait – so brand new that we were invited to sample dishes before their launch – everything about the place, from the food and beverages on offer, to the seating, to other elements that promise to make the place a quick favorite are all on point.
We were greeted with thirst quenching drinks served in old-fashioned glass milk jars, which enhanced the eatery’s rustic feel. We sampled both their Pomegranate and Pineapple Juices, which appeared to be thick in texture as though frothed, but lacked the syrupy sweet taste of added nectar that such a thickness would allude to. Instead, the juice seemed to be presented in its true form: never tampered with, and refreshing, preparing our taste buds for the yumminess to come.
Next, we indulged in dishes from their deli counter. Displayed beneath a glass casing at the counter, Baker & Spice freshly prepares an exquisite selection of interchangeable dishes daily, and allows you the option to choose up to four portions at a time. We selected the Roasted Eggplant Salad, Beetroot Hummus, Mung Bean Salad featuring beets and leafy greens, and an expertly prepared Muttabal eggplant tomato puree with surprise chickpeas glittering the laden-with-goodness plate. We also opted for a sneaky portion of the Meat Pie from their Daily Special menu. This is a recurring feature offering a dish that is neither on display nor on their regular menu. The Meat Pie – a more local twist on the traditional Shepherd’s Pie – was the perfect addition to this feast that boasted fresh “farm to fork” flavors.
We were also graced with a sample of the Beetroot Gnocchi, which was just a glimpse of the hearty goodness that Baker & Spice’s fixed menu would have on offer. Though the title suggested indulgence, and the presentation displayed no less, the dish was surprisingly light yet bursting with flavor. Beetroot pockets coupled with an airy pumpkin cream and topped with shaved Parmesan was just what the doctor ordered to hit the spot.
And finally, the Focaccia Blanca. Where do we even begin with this tantalizing teaser? The Italian bread, brushed with a seasoned olive oil, was paired with a delicate medley of cherry tomato and olives, and a side of homemade spice sprinkled local favorite labna. One would not necessarily think of marrying the two, but the combination was genius, and the focaccia’s discreet roasted cloves of garlic baked within the folds of the bread gave the melt-in-your-mouth flavor a kick.
The restaurant, with its Dubai branch receiving high praises for its amazing breakfasts, suggests eclectic and locally influenced fare that can be enjoyed throughout the day, and an out-of-this-world bakery containing goods made with imported flour. From sourdough bread, to English muffins, kaak and even bagels, the endless selection of bread products and freshly baked pastries are enough to excite anybody to pop in for a quick pick-me-up. Desserts are aplenty as well, with a selection of freshly made cakes on display and homemade ice cream on their menu.