Less than half a
minute later, a perfectly shaped seashell emerged from the rock that my
daughter had cut out armed with a sharp stone. Within an hour, we had found
carbonised wood, more seashells, a perfectly formed fish and pink coral. All
this, in the heart of the desert.
surface in Saudi Arabia literally means taking a long journey down one of the
most fascinating and undiscovered countries and regions.
May it be
archaeology, natural history, anthropology, geography or simply curiosity,
Saudi Arabia has it all. It may not be signposted or available in a pocket
guide book. But it is there to be discovered with a little bit of effort as
history unfurls in every corner of this kingdom.
As like thousands of expat families in Riyadh, Jeddah or Khobar, the Kingdom has drawn us to deserts and shores alike. A favourite family past time has been to identify a region or site of historical interest and research it and discover it. Armed with a shovel, sometimes a camera and other times an internet search engine, every corner of the Kingdom has something to fascinate even the new and the young.
It’s not just us
expats who seem to have found the country a treasure trove to discover. Our
Saudi friends marvel at the idea that their country is opening, including to
account of pre-Islamic Arabia.
In Abha, in the
Asir region, we found sites of great historical significance. Habala was a
village suspended against the mountain. Originally inhabited by a tribal
community known as the “flower men”, it was used as a refuge aginst the Turks
at the time of the Ottoman Empire.
al Balad in Jeddah is one of the most enthralling cities of the kingdom. The
UNESCO heritage site is a medinah of narrow streets full of shops and mosques,
open markets and old restored houses. Get lost. This medieval city wears its
identity as one of the most cosmopolitan cities on earth as travellers from the
four corners of the earth flock here on their way to Mecca and Medinah and have
done for centuries.
Houfouf is just
a train ride away in the Al Ahsa region. Also a UNESCO heritage site, it is
known for its dates but also its incredible souk of al Qaisariah which to this
day reminds visitors of its Ottoman origins. Al Ahsa is also perhaps the
greenest areas, and its population prides itself on being the most integrated,
often overlooked but never forgotten once you sample its hospitality. Nearby
caves are reminders of another era.
Al Faw, close to
Wadi Dawasir in the central region is another gem for any history lover. Qaryat
Al Faw was the first capital of the Kindah kingdom. It is one of the most
important pre-Islamic cities not just in the country, but also the region and
is about to be recognised as yet another UNESCO World Heritage site.
Riyadh are Masmak fort and Ad Derriyah, an all-time favourite now with its
restored At Turaif old city and Budjeri plazas. Ad Derriyah has become synonymous
with the e-Grand Prix and various events. But its charm remains its place as
the birthplace of the first Al Saud dynasty, a heritage that His Majesty King
Salman has renovated and celebrated with a project over 15 years in the making.
Taif further North
is another trove of historical sites, with on its way Al Ula and Madinah Saleh.
While these are featuring heavily on Saudi’s entertainment and tourist map,
they are first and foremost historical sites that have attracted historians for
roam, our favourite is however the simple treasures under our feet. May it be
in Wadi Hanifa, the Camel trail close to Riyadh or lost corners of the desert,
fossils are everywhere. The legacy of a bygone ear is everywhere, at our finger
In some ways, scratching the surface in Saudi Arabia has, for our family, not just been about the past. It has become about the future because the more you discover here, the more want to spend the time ahead travelling back in time.
“Don‘t forget to fall in love with yourself first.” Growing up, I‘ve realized, that this is my favourite quotation from Carrie Bradshаw. The heroine’s main goal was the existential search for love, totally opposite to the contemporary movements, centred around feminism and women‘s self-sufficiency, and perhaps too confusing for the youth to decide where they belong.
love themselves, I think, is the basic skill one ( but especially a woman ) has
to acquire. That love has not to be mistaken with selfishness and egoism, so
common amongst the milennials nowadays.. That love is a behavioral tool, any
parent has to start the relaitonship with their children with. Self love means confidence within
inside, it‘s the foundation of love in general. If one lacks lessons on self
love and self respect since childhood, that can easily lead to problematic relations with the others at the future – toxic friendships, family issues etc. Good news – it is never too
late to start loving yourself.
It‘s not about the unrealistic high self esteem, some parents are keen to nurture their kids with..It‘s about teaching one to observe their own values, strengths, flaws. To know yourself, to be able to practice self-criticism, are signs of maturity. Maturity is what a person needs to posses, so they can enjoy fruitful relationships and partnerships. Maturity is essential against the diseases, caused by our digital era, like the bad habit to compare our daily lives with influential social media profiles or celebrities, for example..
of thinking how to impress the others, the mature person usually is accepting herself with all positives and
negatives. If that is not real lоve, what is it?
loving people are less likely to be manipulated, they have their own lifestyle and
are more conscious. They are not copying the majority, often they are
creators, critical thinkers with independent opinion.
Knowing and loving yourself is always a process and needs a kind of literacy. For many girls or women, self-love simply means practising girly things, like shopping, spending time at beauty salons, etc. While these are really nice ways of spending some good #metime, they are far from the self-love I‘m talking about. One which is focused on our inner beauty and power. You can care for that inner beauty, while practising, not exactly shopping, but while you‘re observing yourself, instead. By treating yourself the way you want the others to treat you. It is sort of a spiritual experience when you are witnessing your own reactions from a certain distance. That can help you to improve them a lot and to become confident, to avoid constantly seeking others approval and attention. There are many options for you to develop that personal growth – through art, social inclusion via volunteering, some sports activities. Reading can be very helpful as well, but I wouldn‘t pick the trending self-help books. My current personal choice and recommendation is a classic one – “Man‘s search for meaning“ from the Austriann neurologist and psychiatrist, founder of logotherapy and a Holocaust surviver – Victor Frankl. A simplified scientific explanation, based on an autobiography and inspired by Nietzsche, on the meaning of life – having a goal and love, of course. And what love is greater than the love for yourself, the love for life… You have to start from that love, so you can set your goals for the future and can feel valuable and spread love for your family and society.
the end of the day , the longest relationship you will ever have is with
yourself, as per another valid cliche.
You can love in many different ways. I love
my family, my friends, my pet but when I thought about writing a piece about
celebrating the bonds of love I immediately gravitated to my love for my home
I have been thinking a lot about Belfast since
I moved to Riyadh just over a month ago. Thinking about how maybe I didn’t
appreciate it as much as I should have. Like any relationship it can be
complicated, there are ups and downs, there are plateaus and distances, but
ultimately that love always draws you back.
I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland –
the UK part of Ireland. I was born in the 1970s in the dark days known as ‘The
Troubles’. Belfast had deep political and religious divides which spilled out
into violence and impacted every part of life. Growing up as a teenager Belfast
was not a fun place to be. Each evening the city went into effective lock down.
I did not feel much love towards Belfast at that time. All I wanted to do was
move far away. I left as soon as I could and went to study in Glasgow which was
a complete revelation. Glasgow was vibrant, alive, dynamic and creative. Nights
were a blur of bars, restaurants, clubs, theatres. It offered everything a
young person wanted – I was never going back to Belfast!
But in 1998 there was a political
settlement in Northern Ireland and the violence ended. Belfast began to stir
from its years in the wilderness. I could see the change on trips home and
suddenly Belfast began to look like an attractive option. There was a buzz and a
lure of new opportunities. The cranes on the skyline were a symbol of the
transformation the city was undergoing. It felt like the time was right to move
back. I was beginning to feel a new pride in my city.
I have now been living back in Belfast for fifteen years and I absolutely love it. My husband and I (who I met and married in Belfast so I also have that to thank the city for!) live two miles from the city centre. We live by the river and are surrounded by beautiful parks. In half an hour we can be by the seaside. We have everything we want on our doorstep. The city is alive and flourishing. There are always new places opening and new things to explore. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive, there is sufficient investment and the creative industries are experiencing a renaissance – a sure sign of confidence and growth.
Today I am proud to say that Belfast is my
home city. Of course it has its problems, as any city does, the dark days still
cast a shadow, but what relationship is perfect? I might currently be living in Riyadh, but I
will always return to Belfast, the city that I love.
I have been living in Riyadh since December
2018. I trained as a journalist and worked for a number of news outlets
including the BBC. Before moving to Riyadh I was the Northern Ireland
Communications and Public Affairs Manager for one of the leading UK children’s
So with the celebration of love just around the corner, are we feeling loved, thought of, or wondering why we celebrate this crazy day at all!
Love…. Love is why we celebrate! It doesn’t have to be just that day though, we could add another 364 days to the formula and feelings and make it a permanent fixture to all!
Love comes in so many forms: love of children, a parent, partner, puppy, friend, plants, life and the universe. All are just as wonderful and magnificent and deserve the time and honour, so as to create that feeling of warmth and ahhhhh!
Love makes us feel wanted, secure, happy and blessed and gives us
the energy to continue especially when things are difficult or broken!
But where does it all start?
It starts with us, with love of SELF! Not always easy to take on
board, I know, but I believe it does. If we can love ourselves from the
beginning, it helps us feel the same emotion to others, without a need to
receive it back. Really, I hear you say?
This is a mantra I was blessed to have been taught growing up,
through family, understanding, being shown how to do it. Many times it comes
wrapped in different ways, not everyone has the same start in life, but if we
look around us, it comes to us in many ways and not always as we had hoped or
However it began, it doesn’t mean we can’t receive it, honour it and
learn to accept it – under grace in the perfect way (you probably hear me
saying this a lot). We are all worth receiving it and in doing so we learn to
pass it on – even in difficult situations. Did you know you can turn a tricky
situation around by showing love to another person (which can include
compassion and forgiveness).
So look for those signs and remember to accept, learn and pass on.
Love is so powerful it moves mountains and helps us often turn an issue into a
joy – it does!!
All our actions in life have a reaction, so let’s make love our main
one and watch those results come flooding back to us.
Love creates Miracles upon Miracles!
Let’s create for ourselves this whole lifetime and beyond.
I’m Nelly Attar. I was born and raised
in Riyadh. I’ve spent 22 years of my life in Saudi. I currently work in sports.
Previously, I used to work in the mental health domain. I completed my Bachelor’s
& Master’s Degree in Psychology and then I worked in that field for 2-3
years before I decided to switch to sports full time. It’s now been over 5
years working in sports on a freelance basis, then it turned into a part time job.
Before I knew it, sports took over my life from my hobbies to after work hours
to my weekends, pretty much everything. Then I started feeling like my actual
work was a distraction from my sports. That’s when I took on sports full time.
What made you start Move?
A little over a year and a
half ago, I was going to start delivering free boot camps under an initiative
from the GSA (General Sports Authority) and I had just signed up with Nike to deliver
free classes under the Nike Training Club. I was finding it difficult to find a
place to deliver them as a lot of gyms were not happy to be delivering free
boot camps that were open to the public.
At that time, my stepfather suggested
I use his warehouses and offices as a place for me to start teaching my classes.
I grabbed the opportunity and started teaching all my classes there. I started
the free boot camps & Nike Training Camp within a few weeks. The momentum
was great and students started asking I continue. I started teaching regularly
and invited more trainers to join us, especially for unique dance classes. From
there, Move was born and we eventually took over the building and expanded the
studio. We are now a team of 15. Fast
forward a year and a half later, we offer dance, dance fitness, fitness classes,
annual adventure trips and a seasonal running club. We just aim to get people
to move in any way that suits them. Not just women, but even their kids. We work
currently with people in Saudi but would love to work across the Middle East
How long have you been in
business in Riyadh?
We’ve been in business now for a year
and 8 months. We started in April 2017.
Have you had formal training or are you self-taught?
I have had formal training. I got my first fitness certification in 2011 just after I finished my Master’sdegree. I had completed my degree and a few internships but was finding it hardto find a full time job in both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon where I was residingat the time. I decided to make use of my time to get certified in dance fitnessor fitness and develop my skills further as I love training & dancing. Idecided to become a freelance dance fitness instructor. I taught my first fewclasses in Lebanon. When I moved to Saudi, I started teaching in the hospitalwhere I worked at the time. I slowly expanded to Compounds & Embassies,different gyms. Week by week, the hours would increase exponentially. It wentup to 12-15 hours a week, and I decided it was time to start to make the shiftto full time. In the last phase of psychology and preparing for the shift, I dida lot of training – Dubai every weekend or Paris occasionally. I am nowcertified in dance fitness, cross fitness, personal trainer, group fitnessinstructor, spinning instructor, Nike Master Trainer, animal flow, holistichealth coaching. I may have missed a few courses. This is something I am verypassionate about. I feel like it’s a pleasure to go and attend these kinds of fitnesstraining, even if I don’t immediately teach those classes. It’s great to havethe knowledge and see different theories, different philosophies in trainingand understand how to work better with people in training.
What does Move offer?
Move offers Dance (Choreography),
Dance-Fitness, Fitness (Functional Training), Yoga, Pilates, Circuit Training. We
will introduce Animal Flow soon. We focus on Body Weight Training but do use
some equipment like Kettle Bells and Resistance Bands. Our aim is whatever our
clients learn at Move, they should be able to do anywhere – home, while
travelling etc. We also have a seasonal running club when the weather permits and
an annual adventure club. This year, we organized a trip to Kilimanjaro and
last year we travelled to Dubai.
What makes Move unique?
It’s hard for me to answerthis as I am likely to be biased. What makes unique is the community that wehave, the people (trainers, staff members, clients). The energy that comes intothe studio is amazing and is really hard to describe. There is so much love andrespect and support for one another. It’s a really nurturing community ofpeople that come together. A lot of people share similar values – free of judgement, respect others, respect diversity – hence we reinforce these values.A lot of our clients ended up becoming trainers or collaborating with Move indifferent ways, some clients collaborate with each other on different projects.Beyond the studio, I feel the energy opens up different bonds and opportunitiesfor people. This really amazes me. Everyone who walks into Move has become anambassador for what we try to convey. Everyone is an ambassador for Move and arenow encouraging others to move for a better, happier life. You can move anywhere,anytime.
A lot of the classes we offer are unique to Saudi. We are one of the first few places to focus on Dance, we are one of the first gyms & studios to offer annual adventure trips and a seasonal running club. Where we feel there is a gap, we try to fill it up. The aim is to get people outdoors and active.
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
The people I work with – the clients,the trainers, my staff. This is what I enjoy the most about my work. They inspire me. They teach me so much. I feel like I have grown a lot and learnt alot by becoming an entrepreneur. It’s a new field for me. The learningexperiences have been challenging yet very enriching. I also love being able tomove all the time, as this is what I do full time. It’s great to do what Ilove.
What is the hardest part about your work?
I think having
changed careers. Being a trainer and a psychologist is one thing, being an
entrepreneur is entirely different. I learn everyday on the job and mainly
through mistakes and trial and error.
challenges used to consume me but now I’ve learned to embrace them as they are
the source of growth and development.
Tell us about your goal of climbing MountEverest? What inspires you to take on the toughest peak in the world?
For me, one of the Goals of the Everest Challenge is to embark on one of the biggest physical and mental challenges of my life so far. The preparation leading up to Everest is what excites me the most – especially as a trainer. It’s amazing to experiencehow much our bodies can significantly adapt to different training modalitiesand external conditions. Everything prior to Everest is the iceberg, climbingEverest is the just the tip of the iceberg.
I would also like to take the opportunity of inspiring the Arab
Community to become physically active.
One of the things I plan to do is to share my journey with others – training,
nutrition, lifestyle and know how of extreme sports. I’m hoping the information
I’ll be sharing will help pave the way for many to become more physically
active and athletic.
I will be fund raising for a charity – to be announced soon.
My final objective is to learn lessons from this experience to apply to my daily life. Climbing a mountain teaches me a lot about running mybusiness, crazily enough. The team work, patience, perseverance, goal orientation, compromises, creative solutions and risk management are all lessons I can apply at work.
Where can creative women go
to network in Riyadh?
I would say WSB events. They really helped me to meet and connect with other like-minded people and meeting very inspiring people. I say studios & gyms are also a great place to meet people. I know a lot of friendships and partnerships have been built at Move. I would also encourage people to attend Embassy functions as they often have a networking agenda. I think Sports events are also great and there are a lot more Sports events taking place in the Kingdom now. Formula E just happened. Many different running events organized by the Government, Universities etc. I would also suggest checking out Saudi Design Week. I would encourage people to consider attending networking events, sporting events and entertainment events for anopportunity to meet interesting people.
Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?
Just do it. If you don’t try, you will never know.
Moving abroad is always an enriching and exciting experience. Nevertheless, it can be stressful at the beginning. One may find difficulties to adapt to a new environment and people, while missing home, relatives and friends… But the struggle is doubled, when you have to cope with someone else‘s blues, especially when this is your own homesick child..Whether you’re a part of an expat or of diplomatic family, your children are ‘victims’ of that nomadic life you have chosen to live. No need to blame yourself for thatchoice, of course, or evenconsider giving up on it. No, This is not the proper example for your children to learn from. Since famiy is the reason ,family is the answer, as well.
Stay always in touch with your child, regardless of their age or gender. Conversations and good preparation before your family farewell, are essentials. Always explain honestly what to expect in the future. Let them be part of the moving process, with the packing, etc..Do not underestimate them and their abilities to understand the adults. Tell them about the place you’re going to move to – their new home, their new city and country. Don‘t count on the misconception that is natural for children to start a new life from scratch. While it‘s true that youngsters are better in dealing with changes and making new friends, that doesn‘t exclude the benefit of family help to help them settle in better.
One of the best favours you can do for your children is teaching them to communicate in an international environment. The best way is to start from the earliest possible age. Nowadays a good command of English is necessary wherever you might go. No need to neglect your maternal language, but the lack of English literacy can be an obstacle for one‘ s adaptation, or even, for school enrollment. Speaking about school, if you have a social kiddo, don‘t hesitate to send him there. Research together and choose the best educational option, so you can ease that settlement period. Being with people at their age is always important for our children‘s development. Plus, attending a school or kindergarten is a step forward to get connected with the society you‘re now part of.
For the spare time, you can become a family of explorers. Do not stay isolated at home, waiting for invitations and trying to beat the boredom by yourselves. Invent your new home city on your own and let the children follow your example. Try more local kitchens, learn about the new culture you have to deal with. Visit the landmarks, make plans for future trips. If you are not open-minded and communicative enough, how can you expect that from your kids. Show them your way of making a new living with new people, but do so patiently step by step.
Too much new information can be stressful for the little ones. Keep your family routines, like bedtime reading, dining together, working out during the weekends. Sports activities are a proven cure against any sadness. Sadness and nostalgia are just normal feelings, at the end of the day, and you have to discuss on them openly with your children. Kids shouldn‘t feel ashamed of their emotions and parents are role models for what really matters. Just have patience and keep calm, you will grow through this together
Make it work for you… a little stress is healthy….
Stress as a physical,
mental, or emotional response to events that causes bodily or mental tension.
Simply put, stress is any outside force or event that has an effect on our body
Common stressors in academic life include: greater academic demands, adjusting to living on your own, financial worries about school andfuture job prospects, time spent away from family and enjoyable activities,exposure to new people and ideas, and relationship stress. One of the mostcommon university stressors is procrastination.
Why would I want stress: a certain amount of stress enables you to meet the day’s challenges. What’s unhealthy are large amounts of stress or prolonged periods of unrelieved stress. Negative, excessive stress may be a key element in half of all illnesses, ranging from the common cold to heart disease. Studies suggest that your stress level effects your immune and nervous systems, heart function, metabolism, and hormonelevels. The key is to adapt to changes and figure out how to deal with thestresses of life.
How to manage stress: You can’t avoid all stress. If you find that you’re showing signs of too much stress for too long, pick and choose from the following strategies to manage it:
Take a 2-hour mini-vacation. You don’t have to go to the Bahamas. Go see an enjoyable movie. Listen to your favorite CD. Talk with a friend.
Spend some time alone every day.
Find out how much sleep you need and get it. Set your alarm for 8 hours. If you wake up refreshed for 4 days in a row, set it back 15 minutes. Keep doing this until you’re getting just enough sleep to feel rested.
Pick a form of exercise that is stress reducing. Some possibilities include: Bike riding, Dancing, Walking, Swimming and Yoga.
As January is fast approaching, I have started to look forward to the New Year butalso reminisce about the year, we have left behind. I came across this pictureand it inspired me to think ‘what makes me happy?’
All of the above are very valid to a peaceful co-existence but I would like to add a few more…
I really am happiest, when I have a sense of fulfilment at the end of the day. It’s lovely to regroup and chat with the family. The candle that my child bought from her pocket money, makes me happy! When my other child, makes me a cup of tea because I am tired, well that’s just bliss!
It’s the simple things in life, a smile, a funny joke, a nice message…
Sometimes we focus on material possessions for our happiness. It really is far simpler to look around and be grateful for what we already possess.
From a mental health perspective, there are certain elements that can enhance a positive outlook on life. For example, finding mental toughness in a difficult situation. When you can get through a tough day and still have belief in yourself, that you did the right thing for theright situation.
Also having confidence in yourself. That you are so secure in your belief system, that you do not need to compete withanyone or anything. You do not have time to worry about things, that are simplyout of your control.
Courage is listening to that quiet voice atthe end of the day. It can be so powerful that it resonates like a roar. It is having self-belief and that ability to carry on…
Self-improvement is gratification. Learning a new skill and using it effectively. When your child comes home and tells you all about their amazing day! How everything was great! It makes the small struggles seem so worth it.
Often, events occur and afterwards, we see the wisdom and power of a higher being. Having faith in The Almighty, enables us to count our blessings. We look and admire those who are perceptively higher than us, be it in wealth, health or attractiveness. Yet when our fortunes are reversed, we suddenly realise how fortunate and blessed we really are.
Do we practice thankfulness and encourage our loved ones to do the same? The small things in my life matter tome and with age and maturity, they have suddenly become so important. I take pride in my child, repeating phrases so familiar to me, kind words from an outsider.
Rain in a desert, a flower that has bloomed, fruit that is ripe from the sun. All these things so small yet so satisfactory!
Otherthings that I am grateful for, clothes that fit! Hurrah! Finding that lastpiece of ’carefully’ hidden dark chocolate in the back of the fridge, having the TV to myself to watch my never-ending cookery shows!
The baby turtle that shows me love, by placing his head on my hand, at the end of along day. He is a voiceless creature but in that one look, I know my little one is ready for his bed.
A nice smell that diffuses from the oven, whilst the kids bake. The sound of laughter and coughing and spluttering, when something funny has happened…
All so worthwhile to HAPPINESS in my life. At times the world is bleak, and times are hard but taking a moment, to focuson my inner core and well-being is tremendously important.
“You only live once,
but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West.
I’ve been a student of
personal development for many years and the study has helped me in all aspects
of life. Though I have a long way to go, here are 5 tips that have helped me,
and will hopefully give you some food for thought in the new year.
Make health a priority. I’m talking about all of the components of health beyond healthy eating and exercise; including getting sufficient sleep, maintaining social connections, finding a compelling vision and purpose for your life, among others. It’s almost impossible to eat well if you are exhausted or don’t feel there is a purpose to your life. We all have periods when we don’t prioritizehealth as much as we should. If this becomes the norm, however, it’s time to re-evaluate and make some changes. The greatest gift you can give to those who love you is your health.
Put it on the schedule. Whether it be date nights, family time, get togetherness with friends, a business meeting, or a day of nothing, schedule it! With our busy lives, if it’s not scheduled it’s unlikely to happen. Once you determine your priorities in the new year, get them on the schedule.
Master self talk. How we talk to ourselves impacts how we feel and act. For any positive change in life, it must start with encouraging self-talk.
Take action to find your passion and purpose. We don’t discover our passion or purpose in life by reading an article about how to find our passion. Most people who have found their calling in life have found it by taking steps towards areas of interest for them. And there’s often many missteps along the way. By taking action we discover both what we like and dislike and what we are good, and not so good at, which eventually leads us to our “passion”.
Take 100% responsibility for your life. Of course, things happen that are outside our control, and some of us have experienced unthinkable hardships. For our own wellbeing, we must accept responsibility for our life and choose to think about it in a way that empowers us to create a bright future for ourselves and future generations.
This week I had the pleasure of dining at the Riyadh branch of Urth Caffe, the famous California based organic food restaurant. Urth Caffe is buzzing on weekends and has a really welcoming vibe. My favourite bits of the décor were the two olive trees in the two sections. “Urth Caffé” was named because Urth is an old Welsh root spelling of Earth and Caffé is Italian for coffee. The founders wanted a name that embodied the natural richness of the earth and delicious organic, heirloom coffee.
The Urth Caffé Team including Chef Nihad Allahverdizade & Chef Mohammed Baz shared how they serve only the highest quality, all-natural ingredients—organically grown whenever possible. The Urth Caffee menu caters to all kinds of diets—from strict vegan to pure decadence – with all the food made from 100% natural ingredients supplied directly from local and or organic farms. None of the products contain any artificial ingredients or GMOs. Urth Caffe offers organic, gluten-free and vegan dishes for diners.
Urth Caffe is also renowned for their organic coffee and teas, most of it sourced from the Pacific North West. Urth standards for coffee include 100% certified organically grown, heirloom, sustainable agriculture, shade-grown, direct trade, and award-winning quality. Urth fine teas come from organic estates or ancient tea farms that use traditional, sustainable methods. You can opt for soy, rice, almond or organic milk substitutions.
My trusty dining partner, the hubby, had an Urth Boba – these are exotic tea cocktails made with organic tea, natural flavours, milk & tapioca pearls. His was a blended Organic Green Tea Boba and he loved the creamy chunks of tapioca and the mild green tea taste. I had a refreshing Berry Refresher with a flavourful mix of berry, apple, lime & mint flavours.
To eat, the chef recommended the delicious Urth Farmer’s Salad. You could taste the freshness of the ingredients ranging from baby spinach, grilled artichokes, tomatoes, French radishes, red onion and glazed pecans. We also tried the Caravan Kale salad with yams and quinoa, pita chips tossed in a pomegranate vinaigrette.
We then feasted on the Wild Mushroom Pizza which was a new favourite dish. I do love a good mushroom dish. It had Sautéed wild mushrooms, balsamic onions, wild arugula and 3 kinds of cheeses. They were kind enough to just serve a couple of tasting slices so we could taste our way through dessert as well. I tried the Panini Portabella and loved the earthy taste of portabella mushrooms, pesto goat cheese & grilled artichokes. Something very satisfying about the food here as it feels very wholesome and flavourful. My husband had a steak sandwich which was really good, he said. The thinly cut steak was done just right and the cherry tomato relish and mustard was the perfect compliment.
We took a break before dessert to talk to the chefs again and on their urging, we ordered a chilled Spanish Latte (one of the most popular coffees here as the condensed milk infusion seems to suit the local taste). I could definitely order that again. My husband decided to try the chef’s recommendation of Moroccan Mint Tea which he enjoyed. The chef told us how they try their best to cater to diner requests and to create vegan or gluten-free options of popular dishes. The pastry chef talked about their introduction of the Earl Grey Tiramisu which he hopes will be a crowd pleaser.
We tried the yummy Honey Cake dessert which was so good. I was in a happy food coma. My husband had the Hazelnut chocolate cake which is a must try for chocoholics. The rich dark sauce in the middle and mix of the chocolate sponge and hazelnut pairing proved a winner.
All in all, Urth Caffe is a great all-day dining restaurant and offers both a Breakfast and a Lunch & Dinner Menu. Go there for coffee & cake, for a healthy or decadent meal and you will go away happy. We can’t wait for them to open in the DQ early next year.
How to find Urth Caffe
Urth Tahliya – Riyadh
5090 Prince Muhammed Bin Abdulaziz Road
As Sulaimaniya District, Riyadh 12243-7058 Saudi Arabia