Kitchen Nation is a culinary incubator which has opened recently with the objective of encouraging f&b entrepreneurs to bring their unique concepts to the city. So basically, the space and the equipment are used by partner members and the idea is for them to bring their brainchild to the market without having the burden of paying ridiculous amounts of money for the rent.
The concept of a kitchen incubator has been enormously successful around the world in cities such as New York and London, but it is still a novel concept in the UAE. Kitchen Nation hopes to grow and become a world-renowned brand in the world of culinary incubators.
So having created a lot of buzz recently with its opening, we visited the Kitchen Nation to try out the Rumman Levant Cuisine. We arrived at around 6:30pm and it was not busy with only one or two customers dining outside.
When we entered, we saw these chairs that although looked plain was a good sight to see as they all looked uniform and complemented the whole theme of the place. The kitchen is open so everyone can see some behind-the-scenes action. I love how they made use of the pots and other kitchen staples as decor.
Since it’s our first time to try it, we asked the only waitress around for her recommendation. She pointed to the menu and when we asked what’s the bestseller, she just said: “I don’t know”. We were a bit surprised to hear that as of course, we were expecting her to be knowledgeable about the products that they are selling.
So scrap that idea of asking and we just checked the menu and ordered what we thought would be the best tasting out of them all. We decided on the cheese rolls, Arabic salad, freekeh with cheese, spinach fatayer and kubbeh.
Luckily, all of these tasted great especially the kubbeh and the surprisingly scrumptious freekeh with cheese. It was my first time to try it and I really liked it.
Then I don’t know why we did it again but we asked her what’s the good choice for the main course and although there were only 4 choices, she again said: “I don’t know because I’m only new here”. When I asked how new she was to the job, she said she’s only been there for a month.
So again, we just turned to the menu and ordered what we thought might be a good choice. We figured chicken and lamb would be safe choices so we settled for the Jordanian mansaf and the chicken with freekeh.
I honestly think we waited longer than usual for the mains to arrive. I mean, we were the only ones dining during that time but they probably have a few orders for delivery so maybe that’s the reason why. Anyhow, I liked the chicken but not really a fan of the mansaf. I think some people will like it but it’s not for me because it was a bit sour for my taste.
I have noticed that the prices were really affordable though. Starters range from minimum AED12 to AED28 and the mains cost around AED40 – AED48 which I think are priced fairly. Our bill was a total of AED184 only including water because aside from the soft drinks, they didn’t have any juice or tea.
We didn’t bother to have some dessert because they didn’t have anything that we fancy so we just paid the bill and left. And I honestly don’t think I really enjoyed that at all. Out of all my experiences, this would fall in the not-so-good-ones category. I mean, hands down, the food was good, possibly great and I would probably suggest it to my friends but have it for delivery because the atmosphere of the place wasn’t welcoming at all.
So if anyone would ask me if I will recommend a visit or not? I would sincerely say, no. The lack of knowledge of the staff about their products was a turn-off, the longer than usual wait time was a letdown, the chairs were uncomfortable if you sit for a while and the other staff including the manager were just not friendly and accommodating. Yes, we came here for the good food but the overall experience was bad. It’s a pity the concept was great but the quality is just not controlled and I think that’s where the problem lies. There’s a lot of room for improvement here and I believe it’s new, too new that it’s not yet ready for primetime.
If you’re interested to know more about Kitchen Nation, you may visit their website here.