Chef Adlah ‘Adoola’ Alsharhan’s innovation and energy are awe inspiring, and just when we thought we said all there is to be said, she delivers us a fabulous concept that’s all her.
Drop Off, her latest project, is fine dining meets the comfort of your own home. Offering flavors invoking your childhood, with a twist, your next gathering will be elevated with this culinary experience. So naturally, we at bazaar decided to try it out, and as usual we over ate. The food was exquisite to say the least. The Chicken Machboos was fragrant and flavorful with all the elements in perfect harmony. The Andalusian Seafood Paella transported us straight to Spain. The freshest of seafood seasoned to perfection cooked with beautifully tangy saffron treated rice. And finally the Braised Spicy Lamb Shanks with a side of Parmesan mashed potatoes was the star. The lamb was cooked to perfection and the potatoes were a cheesy mashed excellence.
Nothing was overpowering or overwhelming; yet the components and flavors of each dish were in superb unity with their respective dishes. We ate to our heart’s content, and then some, but it was all worth it. Chef Adoola’s Drop Off will be our go-to destination whenever we’re hosting a party of sorts.
Kind enough to give us a few minutes in her very busy schedule, we managed to sit with Chef Adoola to find out more about this incredible concept.
I have to ask, but what exactly is Drop Off?
Drop Off is a unique way to experience my creations in the comfort of your own home. I have hand picked my team of young innovative chefs, and we took on the challenge of creating the perfect meal to be shared between family and friends.
We use only the freshest ingredients to try to create those flavors that bring you back to childhood memories.
How did you come up with the idea of creating a “drop off” service? Why not a full catering experience?
I am glad you asked because sometimes there are some misconceptions when translating the Drop Off experience. Drop Off is one of the products from my catering line, which allows me to extend myself over a wider audience and reach to all those who care to experience my unique creations.
What inspires your dishes?
Inspiration mostly comes from my traveling. I love Asia and Asian cuisine. Some ingredients you find over there speak for themselves and you would notice them as beacons of flavor in some of my creations.
How many people does each dish serve? What’s the difference between the “Regular” and “Large” dish size?
We cater two different portions, the regular size serves up to 6 guests and the large size serves up to 10 guests. The idea behind these portions involves the synergy of mixing and matching that is most common in the Kuwaiti palate. Our culture brings particular attention to our social gatherings, and Drop Off allows hosts and hostesses to present a vast choice to their guests.
Your dish options are vast, how did you decide to go for an array of dishes as opposed to sticking to a cuisine?
I believe that my experience allows me to explore and create in an array of “cuisine” types.With Drop Off being a reflection of my experiences in cooking, it made sense to be diverse and at the same time have an academic approach to the menu. This will be evident for the ones that appreciate my style of creation and take inspiration from it to try at home.
Now I really have to know, what pushed you to create Braised Beef Short Rib Lasagna? Why not use the more conventional Bolognese? Is the meat pulled?
Simply because, once in a while in the kitchen you just have to let creativity take over. If I did the common bolognaise sauce, I would not enjoy making it any longer and would lose interest in cooking. The difference is that I try embracing all of those flavors that you and I have come to love and combine it into one balanced dish with a twist. This results in the creation of that all-time comfort food that brings you complete satisfaction.
As per your particular question regarding the meat, by properly braising it, the meat literally just falls apart. By allowing it to soak in the sauce for a certain time, a new edge is brought to a long loved dish.
What was the inspiration for a Far East-Meets-Middle East fusion ala Korean Kimchi Roast Lamb? Also, to be honest, I didn’t even know one could braise a barbeque chicken, how did that come along?
I think that’s an easy one. When it comes to the palate we are no longer divided into countries with their own unique cuisines, but rather a cosmopolitan nation of flavor seekers searching for mouth-watering moments no matter the origins. It is a fact that the more flavors we allow our taste buds to come in contact with, the more they evolve and start to demand their own exotic variety. And so the challenge begins for chefs to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for new innovative flavors, exploratory techniques and new culinary experiences.
Are there any plans to move toward desserts too?
We took a very brave approach to tackling the sweet tooth side of the Drop Off menu. We challenged ourselves to see how extreme we could go in the pursuit of that perfect overload of sinful decadence, and have come up with 4 creations. It won’t be long before they will be available to order and try for yourself, but for now let’s just say that Drop Off has something exciting lined up for its flavor followers and culinary explorers.