Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Najd Dining

For traditional Saudi dining, Najd Village Restaurant is the place to go.

Apparently there are two Najd Restaurants. The one we went to was in Takasussi Street.  When Noor dropped us out front I had to ask him where it was because the front is quite unassuming.  No blaring advertisment in neon announcing it's existence which is not a criticism.  In fact, the lack of flashing neon in this city is something I like about it, though it is slowl,y but surely, creeping in.

The restaurant reflects the traditional mudhouses of the area and, as you enter, you find the walls adorned with traditional art, craft and wares.   The main lobby has more antiques and tidbits of interest to look at before heading to the eating areas which, for families, are out the back. 
Our friends had pre-ordered a private room.  Our shoes were left outside the door and there was more than sufficient space for we seven expats to spread our legs because the seating in our little space was traditional Saudi style - long, flat cushions on the floor with a leaner or two spaced here - and sitting cross-legged for many of us (moi included) doesn't happen easily. 

An empty fireplace occupied the back wall (we went to Najd in summer when fires are definately not required) and above it were shelves adorned with dullah (arabic coffee pots), weaved baskets and enamel tea pots reminiscent of days spent camping on the farm with billy's on the campfire, except these pots were painted with pretty patterns.  

The ceiling exposed typical materials of Najd yester-year -strips of wood beneath which thinner natural twine bound wood panels could be spotted.  It reminded me of tukutuku panels.

The evening began with qahwah and dates and a bit of chit chat about life and Saudi living. One of our crew was more au fait with the menu, and Arabic food in general, than the rest of us so was in charge of ordering.    Requests were put in for something lamb, something camel and something trraditional we've never had before.

The food, when it arrived, was served on the floor on a small weaved mat which meant manoeuvring our less than lithe bodies around the mat to serve our food into painted plastic plates.  The effort was worth it.

The food was delicious. 
I can highly recommend a night of traditional Najd dining.

Ka Kite,

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