Here at bazaar we’re always on the lookout for home-grown concepts. Munch Barbecue is a concept that’s been growing at people’s homes for a few years and no gathering or event is better than when the Munch Grill-Meisters are applying their grill expertise to the proceedings. Pair this with Munch’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Sharq and Munch is establishing itself as a major player in the competitive sport that is gastronomy in Kuwait.
You know even as I write this, the memory of Mini-Burgers is still nestled warmly in my head. Just writing the word Mini-Burger has made my mouth water – I feel like one of Pavlov’s dogs! And I’m pretty sure some in the office here would kill to get their hands on the Chocolate Bread Pudding, but that’s another story…
But let’s start at the beginning. We arrived at the new Munch restaurant, located at The Village in Abu Hasseniya, with empty stomachs (we like to plan ahead at bazaar) and monstrous appetites. Owner Dana Al Salem greeted us and told us how the new location is a culmination of the Munch Barbecue catering concept and deli elements from their first opening in Sharq.
Inside, the décor is simple, modern and cool. The oversized cutlery hanging down from the industrial design- influenced ceiling seems to be a nod to my appetite – giving me the go ahead to indulge – and wouldn’t look out of place in a modern art gallery. Greeted and seated, our first tough decision of many is what to drink. The Energizer delivers on its titular promise, the blend of citrus, mint, basil and brown sugar packs a punch strong enough to invigorate even over-dedicated culture vultures like ourselves. If it’s cleansing goodness you’re after then the Antioxidant is where it’s at. The combo of mixed berries and pomegranate can be felt delivering their payload ofvitamins and nutrients as you slurp it down. Who said healthy can’t be tasty?
Speaking of healthy, the salads are so light they hardly made a sound as they hit the table. We tuck into the Moroccan Couscous with gusto, loving the subtle flavors and crunch of the carrots and mixed peppers. Maybe it’s just me, but when a dish on any menu shares its name with the restaurant, I’m in and just have to have it. I campaigned to order the Munch Salad and am thrilled it lives up to its name – the freshest rocca leaves serve as a bed for the divine marriage of goat cheese and home-grown dates. Pine nut crunch balances the texture of this must-eat salad.
As the appetizers arrive we are torn between our loyalties; to keep the faithful bazaarites informed on our Twitter feed, or to keep our appetites satisfied. Luckily there are a few of us so we divide responsibility, and I dive straight in. The Wagyu Bites melt in your mouth and are cooked to perfection. This is how beef should taste. The vegetable root chips are a refreshing take on regular potato chips, using sweet potato, pumpkin and beetroot instead and served with a delicious guacamole. Then I tuck half of one of those Mini-Burgers in my mouth and I am in love. I like simple pleasures and that’s what a burger should be to me. Freshly ground, quality beef topped with balsamic fried onions and cheddar. I manage two before I realize I probably should be sharing. Then I move onto the Quesadillas and their cheddar and jalapeno deliciousness. Served in flour tortillas and accompanied by salsa, sour cream and, more tasty guacamole.
When it comes to main courses, we first tuck into the Kobe Beef burger; juicy Australian Kobe beeftopped with Swiss, tomato, and lettuce, and the Italian Sirloin Sandwich, perfectly tender marinated steak, with rocca, parmesan, and divine sun-dried tomato mayo on a crisp French baguette. Both are served with perfectly crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside fries presented in the coolest way I’d seen in a long time (you’ll have to pay them a visit to check it out yourself). The pasta at Munch is all made in house, from scratch, and cooked al-dente to perfection. The Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli has a delicate yet authentic winter flavor that warms the soul. To say we fought over the Mushroom and Ricotta Tortellini might be going a bit far, but those handmade pasta parcels, covered in exquisite Alfredo sauce had us all going back for more.
As I stated the concept of this new Munch location is to marry the barbecue and restaurant concept. They cook most things over a flame grill in the kitchen to keep the barbecue element authentic and they want this to be a place where you come and get your munch on. But they also want it to be a place where you can come for coffee and a little something. That’s where the desserts come in and you’ll be spoiled for choice. The Milk Chocolate Fondant, warm, subtly flavoured and paired with vanilla ice cream, is served in a funky beaker that adds that extra touch to the experience. The Nutella Crepe, served with fresh banana and juicy strawberries, delivers as Nutella crepes always do. But dessert for us was all about that Chocolate Bread Pudding. Now we may not have come to actual blows over the pasta but there are definitely crossed forks when it comes to this bread pudding. Served with a chocolate sauce, this gooey, spongy dessert is certainly what you would call delectable. We have just enough left in us to experience the Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows. At Munch though they do this with a twist and serve it deconstructed – you add shaved chocolate to steamed milk, top with marshmallows and then simply enjoy.
That’s what we did at Munch. Enjoy. From delicious appetizers, to speciality grilled mains and homemade pastas, to sumptuous desserts, Munch can be anything you want it to be – and it won’t let you down whatever you drop in for.