This bazaar editor might be on an extreme diet, yet when the opportunity presented itself to try the new menu at the rustically chic Q café located at The Village restaurant complex, I quickly scheduled in the date with a huge smiley, followed by, “Celebration meal day”. I’ve heard countless raving reviews about the desserts, homemade pastas, and a tantalizing Saffron infused Striploin on skewers that were gaining momentum amongst bloggers, and our very own bazaar designer.
Envisioned to deliver a full dining experience, the concept of Q café has evolved greatly. Greeting us at the new location is Arwa Behbehani, who passionately explains to us how Q café’s journey is reaching new milestones. “Before, Q café was focused on sandwiches and finger foods, a menu that effectively catered to our Kuwait City customers. According to this new location, we wished to offer customers more options, and a full dining experience. Rather than a quick bite to eat, we offer customers much more—simple food made well. The food is familiar, as if you are having it at your house, neatly served on a clean, white plate.” Desiring simplicity is a tribute to the concept of less is more, when a simple dish is pure in form; it delivers a bounty of tastes. Arwa further adds, “I wanted simplicity, a restaurant untethered to a certain kind of cuisine. Our definition of fusion is offering different plates from different cultures, presented in its purest form, like pure Egyptian and Persian, all in one menu. Not only so, the menu is also prominent with recipes created by local moms throughout our appetizers, entrees, and even desserts. For instance, the Chinese chicken salad and the Mom’s cake, to create that ‘made at home’ taste, that uniquely defines the culinary experience at Q café.”
Staying true to Arwa’s words, the décor at Q café is an ode to purity; the design is focused on elegant typography portrayed in its signage and concrete raw materials. The space is rough, yet the naked floors and bare walls are charged with a cozy ambience. We couldn’t help but notice the seating areas fashioned out of blocks of cement, delicate light fixtures hanging off the untreated ceilings, the sun’s rays infusing the inside with warmth though the large, floor to ceiling windows.
As we settled down to our meal, we are first presented with one of many sharing platters, “just for nibbling”, as Arwa mentions, comically cautioning us to save space for dessert and Vietnamese coffee later. The Eggplant platter arrives, with sour cream topping, and a diced concoction of herb-infused eggplant. A pleasure to consume, we generously spread the freshly baked bread with a dollop of olive oil, followed by the diced eggplant, added the sour cream, and voila—we were willing to spend the entire afternoon enjoying this platter!
Soon after, our appetizers followed. We decided to dig into the Sicilian Eggplant Boat, with a half roasted eggplant stuffed with cheesy tomato sauce, croutons, and Parmesan, topped with a layer of slightly crisped and golden mozzarella. Paying attention to using seasonal ingredients, we immediately noticed how the vegetable was vibrant with taste. The famous Striploin on skewers closely followed, and the Saffron marinated cuts sprinkled with mustard sauce offers an unusually delicious taste. One would imagine that Saffron, a strong, aromatic spice, would overpower the beef, yet the Saffron wonderfully tenderized the beef, making us wish we ordered ten portions of this appetizer.
Yet, we cautioned our greed and waited for the salads, which, if served alone, can make for a filling entrée. The star mom recipe, the Chinese Chicken Salad is another personal favorite, with Romaine lettuce tossed in soy dressing served with a choice of caramelized shrimp or grilled chicken. We also enjoyed the Strawberry salad, a mix of crunchy Rocca and baby spinach, finely chopped onions, and the opposing texture and sweetness of fresh strawberries served with a balsamic dressing had us salivating for more!
When it came to the pastas, Arwa recommended we try the homemade stuffed gnocchi with a smooth blend of sundried tomato and cheese, topped with a spicy creamy sauce. Bursting with fragrant rosemary, we loved the softness of the gnocchi, urging Arwa to continue blessing us with these Italian delicacies. Soon enough, we tried the Saffron and shrimp risotto; sensually blended and expertly cooked. We also sampled the Roast Salmon, succulently roasted, and served with a lemon-infused couscous with sautéed fresh spinach. We personally loved how a Western dish like roasted salmon was given a fine Mediterranean flair.
As for desserts, we were so surprised by the abundance of sinful dishes on offer. We started off with the signature Butterscotch Chocolate Pudding, drenched in a delicious homemade butterscotch sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Another dessert delicacy presents itself with the Chocolate Fondant that is baked to order; chili-flavored rich chocolate if desired, with vanilla ice cream and sprinkled hazelnut. After this diving intervention, we tried the ever-so-light and airy Tiramisu. For those who love their coffee, a shot of espresso is served alongside this heavenly dessert to caffeinate that Tiramisu as you see fit. Genius idea! Arwa further stressed that we could not leave without trying the Guilty pleasures. This dessert is the utmost indulgence one can imagine, envisioned in one dish. With golden slices of brioche, secretly prepared to ooze with buttery yumminess and seasoned to surprise the taste buds, a side of a specially prepared Nutella ganache, toffee sauce, and an added edge of flavor that is present in rock salt is served for you to assemble as you please. One cannot leave Q café without trying this dessert; we absolutely devoured this plate to its very last drop of Nutella ganache.