At the Il Terrazzo terrace cafe at Ibis Hotel in Salmiya, you’ll find a concept that takes everyone’s favorite pastime to another level. Designed by buddies Ed Alkhammach and Bashar Deeb, co-agents of the exclusive Meduse shisha brand in Kuwait, the cafe pays homage to this collection of innovative shisha pipes that are shaped like jellyfish! “We were looking to bring something in that people would enjoy, which is of course, smoking shisha and relaxing. We knew that the Meduse pipes would be a hit in Kuwait, as they boast luxury, are pretty to look at, and smoke softer than the traditional shisha does.” Ed vehemently illustrates, as an attentive waiter sets up a visually pleasing, fresh mango, strawberry and melon cocktail infused pipe wedged within the translucent jellyfish corpse of the shisha. Everything about the pipe resembles its namesake, which automatically clears the mystery behind naming the pipe Meduse, which is the French term for jellyfish. From their tentacle-inspired stands to the jellyfish themed tongs, to the logo etched on the translucent pipe. What’s also nice about these pipes is that they sit at eye level, allowing the smoker to see the entire process of shisha smoking upfront, making it all the more enjoyable. Certain shishas also have the option to hold two smoking pipes, making it easy to share without sacrificing any smoking time.
As we enjoy sampling the fruity flavored shisha from the Sepia line of pipes, a line that incorporates fresh fruit concoctions creating pleasurable and aromatic flavors, we learn that the Meduse shisha pipes come in three different classes: Sepia, (see above), Nautila: a class of shishas that are more dedicated to traditional smoking flavors with an added twist, and Craft: a line of super luxurious and exclusive pipes that are available only for purchase, and start at the thousands in dinars.
The Sepia line’s aforementioned fruit infused shisha, The Mango Boy, is extremely enjoyable, and the Nautila’s Karkade Miste is a flavour that is indeed show stopping. Inspired by Karkade, a classic Egyptian drink comprised of pomegranate, plum and strawberry, the aromatic outcome of this tobacco mixture is nothing short of heavenly and pairs beautifully with Il Terrazzo’s breathtaking view of the coast.
Though the cafe faces one of the busiest areas of the country, sitting on one of the comfortable couches and gazing at the busy streets of Salmiya from the third floor terrace is surprisingly tranquil – especially when perched on a handmade base couch designed and built by engineer by day, co-agent Bashar Deeb. Bashar is passionately precise when it comes to design and operations, and this is made clear with the structured tent that creates a sturdy, makeshift “indoor” seating area, providing strong shelter from Kuwait’s hot summers and cold winters. Coupled with Ed’s expertise in the furnishing industry, the two have managed to create a down-to-earth and chilled out cafe that still manages to be chic: qualities that surely reflect their dynamic as partners and individuals.
When hunger strikes, Chef Harshal Dilip Tamhaney is armed and ready to cook up some amazing savories for you to enjoy. With starters such as the Grilled Chicken Bruschetta, a creative twist on the Italian classic that blends traditional bruschetta toppings with flavorful goat cheese and tender bits of grilled chicken, and the Shrimp Caesar Salad, grilledto-perfection jumbo shrimps adding a little oomph to the always-loved Caesar fixings, you’re guaranteed to find small accompaniments to munch on. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, consider an amazing main such as the Angus Beef Burger. Served with a chic tin of crispy golden French fries, this burger is a winner, especially if you like your patties thick. Another great main on offer is the Mixed Grill Plate, a platter consisting of classic Middle Eastern barbecue favorites ranging from chicken, to lamb, to kafta, to shrimp.
To end your experience on an even sweeter note, we recommend the Chocolate Fondant Cake. Do you remember when you were in elementary school and someone would bring in homemade chocolate cupcakes for special occasions? Consider this a grown-up version of nostalgic chocolate desserts, with a pool of chocolate molten lava spilling out of the cake, paired with vanilla ice cream.
One also must not forget the drinks offered to complement their shisha experience. Refreshing juices such as the Passionate Punch, made with passionfruit, ginger, lime and soda only enhances the relaxing and pleasurable ambiance of the cafe, serving as a delicious conterpart to your shisha.
This cafe is extremeley laid back with a clientele that ranges from college students wanting a place to study or hang out after classes, to ladies who lunch and are looking to book a peaceful spot with a breathtaking view for a little get together, to married couples who wish to romantically gaze at the beautiful view the Ibis Hotel has to offer.
Try the Meduse experience at Il Terrazzo Cafe, located in Salmiya’s Ibis Hotel on Salem Al Mubarak street. Follow them on Instagram @meduse_society