Ten years ago, one of the first local food concepts in Kuwait started with a jar filled with incredible, fresh and delicious chocolate chip cookies. The yellow, purple and pink logo from Choowy Goowy was bound to make anyone smile. Now, the creators of this one-of-a-kind concept have something more adult coming soon to Kuwait for those of us who grew up with Choowy Goowy, and it’s adeptly named Jar.
“The whole thing started with a jar,” said Fajer Hayat, Marketing and Public Relations Senior Coordinator at Al-Manar Food. “We were the only place that made cookies in a jar, freshly sealed every day. Also the jar is so diverse, you could put anything into it. You could use it for spices, pickles, someone even put a goldfish in there.”
Jar is a concept based on these same ideas. Their food is fresh, and the entire concept is the result of the hard work of the Al Manar Food team. Founder Essa Behbehani gave invaluable experience on creating a menu and concept that is successful in Kuwait. Yousef Al Munayes, their Business Director and Essa’s longtime friend, was integral to the menu creation and helping curate ideas of local chefs and foodies. Their designer, Khaled Al Awadhi debuted his architectural talents in Kuwait with the design of the space. The result of this labor of love is a welcoming restaurant, with incredible dishes.
We pulled up to the new restaurant hub next to the Sahara club, and were immediately struck by the modern yet quaint feel of the area. Two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows enclose Jar. Sunlight pours in throughout the day and strikes the light wooden fixtures, colorful paintings and decorative copper hangings. It feels natural and as welcoming as the jars have been for the past ten years.
Our adult palates were amazed by dishes that were fresh, healthy and gorgeous. It started with a plate of welcome bread. We love welcome bread. Whether it’s a crispy piece of fresh baked toast or a soft buttery roll, the welcome bread makes us feel like we are really appreciated at any dining establishment. At Jar, the thin and crispy French baguette with a balsamic glaze and fried garlic showed just how excited Al-Manar Food is to welcome people to this new restaurant.
We started the meal with two delicious salads. The crispy salad featured a delightful mix of red and white cabbage, carrots, and cucumbers, topped with a fried pastry sheet, cashews, peanuts and parmesan cheese. The refreshing mix was topped with a dressing that was just enough to add a sweet and different taste. Our personal favorite was the pumpkin salad, a simple medley of pumpkin, carrots and spinach. On top, the pièce de résistance, a lightly-battered piece of goat’s cheese.
When it came to appetizers, we left all thoughts of a diet at the door, and it was well worth it for the Potato Bomb. This incredible pile of thin potato slices is topped with amazing shredded beef, fried onions and cilantro and topped with an array of sauces. We also had delicious beef tacos, with pickled onions and red radish accented by sweet pomegranate and pineapple. With fresh arugula leaves and parsley, the tacos were fresh and juicy, a perfect start to a delicious meal.
As the main course approached, we were excited to see what they had in store for us, and we were not disappointed. The chicken mushroom fettuccini burst with the flavors of creamy mushroom and balsamic vinaigrette. A few small slices of red pepper on the top gave this dish the perfect kick.
No restaurant in Kuwait is complete without a delicious burger, and Jar is no exception. Their fresh meat creates a juicy wonder topped with cheese tomato onions and pickles. Their potato bread brings it all together for an excellent burger.
When the Short Ribs with Gratin arrived, we weren’t sure we would have room for one more. All it took was a single cut with the knife to see how tender the meat was. Though pink on the inside it was fully cooked. At this point we had to know. How does Jar get their meat to taste so good?
At Jar, all of their meat is sous-vide for 48 hours. Sous-vide, French for under vacuum, is a method of cooking that involves sealing food in an airtight plastic bag, and placing it in a water bath or a steam environment. The result is tender, moist and incredibly delicious meat.
At the end of our meal, despite Jar’s long list of offerings, we were full without being run down. A tribute to how light even their seemingly heavy dishes really are. Of course, at Jar, the good people at Al-Manar have installed their cookie ovens so you can continue to enjoy the cookies that started it all.
Jar is expected to welcome you to their location in Murouj at Sahara after Ramadan. For more information on their scheduled opening, please follow them on Instagram @jar.choowygoowy