The Pink Tarha

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fine Italian Dining at Da Pino

I have truly changed the way I look at hotel restaurants. They have changed my perception because so far, most of the restaurants inside the hotels I've eaten in have provided good food and great ambiance. I've tried Hotel Al Khozama's Garden Barbecue, Al Faisaliah's The Globe buffet, and Radisson Blu's Shogun. Now I return to Al Khozama to try their Italian restaurant, Da Pino.

Charming is the first word that came into my mind when I stepped in Da Pino Restaurant located at the Al Khozama Center. If you've been in this centre, the first thing you'll notice is it's empty, especially the ground floor. The only activity you'll hear is the ding of the elevator that takes you to the restaurants. Anyway, Da Pino is one of the best Italian restaurants in Riyadh. A claim to enjoy authentic regional Italian cuisine is at hand. Who am I to refuse? (Even though I have no idea what authentic Italian cuisine tastes like... I haven't been to Italy!)

See how small? You're halfway to the kitchen!
Da Pino is a small restaurant. It encourages intimate gatherings of family and friends. This is where you'll be tucked in your own little space and enjoy conversations in between bites of good food. The colors of the place remind me of an outdoor rural setting near a vineyard. The dim, yellowish lighting however didn't give me enough light to take good photos.

Ahhh the Italian colors with a dash of sunshiny yellow
As per almost all our Italian meals in Riyadh, dinner started with bread and butter. I love one of their breads that resembled our very own pan de sal. It's a bit salty and sweet and with the butter melting into its fold. What a nice opener.

An assortment of yummy breads
We also ordered the Calamari Fritti (SR 75), again, another dish so familiar to me that no peculiar execution to this dish can surprise me anymore. While the pieces of squid rings were lightly-seasoned and perfectly-fried, this contained no surprise. It's just delightfully satisfying. However, I think I wished for more of these.

There's something ordinary on this calamares.
I ordered the Lasagne Fatto in Casa (SR 75), a classic dish with spinach pasta sheets sandwiching meat and cheese in its layers. This pasta is highly-recommended and for good reason! I love how saucy and meaty it is. There's little embellishment when it comes to this dish. It's perfectly rich and creamy with the bolognaise sauce rounding all ingredients up nicely. 

Uhmn no, that's not a pizza.
Underneath is the gooey pasta! It's almost a sin to destroy the top cheesy crust.
The star of the night belongs to my friend's Cotoletta Milanese (SR 135), a dish of veal escalope accompanied by baked potato. The meat is so tender; it almost has the consistency of chicken! Granted that the thinning of the veal made it more tender and cooked with less moisture loss, it's still an incredible feat to have this juicy, flavorful dish that is absolutely lip-smacking! The sauce, while liberally poured, has a sublime yet luxe taste. I've told my friend I wanted to steal her dish because it was so good! 

Can you be mine?
Seriously, you're veal?! So tender like chicken!

The dishes are good for sharing. Except the veal escalope... keep that to yourself! Haha! Check out Da Pino's menu here. Their lunch and dinner are ala carte but they have a live pasta station where you can choose your own kind of freshly-made pasta and sauces from Tuesday to Thursday. 

Now, I'm truly a believer that hotel restaurants can be true to their word of high-quality food and top-notch service. They're still expensive but for quite good reasons. That's why, I'm suggesting you dine in these places on special occasions unless you want to dine here every day then I'm not stopping you also. Buon appetito! ~ Sundrenched

Da Pino Italian Restaurant
Al Khozama Center
Olaya Street, 
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
T: +966-11-273-2222
Twitter: @al_khozama

Friday, July 4, 2014

Ramadan Promos and Offerings 2014 (Restaurants)

So, we've done the hotels, now it's time to bring you the list of restaurants and their Iftar offerings. I thought we've done this last year and I've been looking for it in our archive. Turns out we only shared them in our Facebook page and didn't make this kind of list in our blog. So this is the first time. And you know how many restaurants are in Riyadh? A LOT. Gathering them up will take me the entire Ramadan. So here's an initial list of the restaurants that made a good effort in making their Ramadan menu known through their social media. 

Indeed a tender way to break fast.
Piatto Italian Restaurant offers a menu of delicious pastas, pizza, and meat dishes at a reduced price specially for Ramadan. You can start off with their creamy Warm Artichoke Spinach Dip and dig in their free fresh garden salad, soup of the day and rosemary garlic bread. Check out their Ramadan menu HERE. Piatto has branches in Exit 5 and in Panorama Mall.
T: +966-11-211-4678

TSC Signature's good food (photo from their FB page)
One of our faves, TSC Signature, has a set menu for their Ramadan Iftar. If you order any of their main dishes ranging from SR 65 (sandwich/burger), SR 75 (pizza/pasta) to SR 95 (for their yummy steak), you get a free soup, appetizers (includes sambusa and Italian and Arabic salads), homemade desserts, and a choice of beverage. Visit their menu HERETSC Signature is located just off Tahlia Street.
T: +966-11-293-9693 

An array of starters from Trader Vic's buffet
Trader Vic’s in Panorama Mall is one of the restaurants that offering a buffet during Ramadan. Last year, we enjoyed their appetizers and main courses. This year, we haven’t tried it but you can beat us to it. SR 109 per person.
T: +966-11-281-4782 

Lusin, the first and only restaurant that serves Armenia cuisine in Riyadh is having a buffet for Ramadan. So if you’re trying to find something new to your palate, then get ready to fork over SR 225 per person in Centria Mall. 
T: 9200 02690 

BBQ Chicken delivers!
BBQ Chicken ushers out their cold buffet, soups and desserts at SR 55 per person and free for kids under the age of 6. Then you can choose your main meal from their a la carte menu. From SR 39 chicken dishes to SR 39 pastas, no item in their Ramadan menu is over SR 50! You can check out their menu HERE. BBQ is in Thalateen Street.
T: +966-11-462-3343 

Best Ramadan deal ever! :P
You know where you’ll get the best Ramadan deal ever? At a furniture shop! Yes, IKEA is offering a Ramadan combo priced at SR 19. You read that right: SR 19! For that price, you’ll get a main meal, desert, salad, and soup! Your kids get an even sweeter deal because it’s only SR 9 for them. 

The steakhouses in the city are all ready for Iftar! Check out the following offerings from the authorities of grilled meats: 

What are you having?
Steak House will welcome you with an Iftar menu that’s almost fit for 2 people because just a trip to their soup and salad bar is enough to fill your hungry tummies! You get those for free if you order any of their special meals included in their Ramadan menu which you can check out HERE. Reserve as early as possible because branches to tend to get packed. Steak House is located in Exit 5 and in Thalateen Street.
T: 800-249-2222 

Outback Steakhouse in Localizer Mall has an SR 67 Ramadan menu. Choose from their Alice Springs Chicken, Mahi Hearts of Gold, Grilled Chicken on the Barbie, and Prime Rib Pasta and you’ll get to enjoy their free selection of dates, Arabic coffee, sambousa, soup, and salad. With a dessert of vanilla ice cream to boot! 
T: +966-11-217-4633 

You'll already be full with Applebee's appetizers!
Applebee’s is offering two choices for your Iftar meal. A Set Menu where you can order one of their selected dishes and you’ll get a free drink, salad, soup, and dates. The other is their Unlimited Menu where you’ll get unlimited soups, salads, and appetizers when you order one of their pre-determined entrees. Unfortunately their menu is not available online so you have to visit to see it. Applebee's is in Tahlia Street

Try checking out food delivery sites, and too. Restaurants in their list are also offering Ramadan specials. Just make sure to chat with their representative online to make sure that your resto of choice is already open for delivery. Ramadan timings vary.

There are more iftar offers for sure but I can't research them all in one day, especially when some of them encourages you to go to their restos instead to find out what they're offering. I'll be updating this list as we encounter more offers and try some of them as the holy month of Ramadan unfolds in Riyadh. Check back this entry from time to time. Or follow us in our Facebook page. :) 

Ramadan Kareem! ~ Sundrenched

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ramadan Tents and Buffets 2014 (Hotels)

A lot of our readers are waiting for this list of tents and buffets in Riyadh now that Ramadan is here. There are a lot of options as you can see. It's up to you to choose! Again, we suggest you enjoy and cherish these special meals with your families and friends... the more the better!

Lavish Ramadan tent at the Ritz
The Ritz Carlton in Riyadh has two venues for their Ramadan offerings. One in the Al Orjouan Restaurant and another in their Ramadan Tent. Both are priced the same and serve international cuisine. 
Price: SR 325 per person 
Reservations: +966-11-802-8020 

Al Faisaliah Hotel's Grand Ballroom is open for after at SR 330 per person. The renowned Globe Restaurant with panoramic views of the city is open for suhoor at SR 330 per person also. Its sister Hotel Alkhozama is also offering after buffets in two of their restaurants: For Al Nakheel, it's SR 160 while in Garden Barbecue, it's SR 195 per person for after and SR 135 for suhoor. 
Reservations: +966-11-273-2000
You can get the Al Faisaliah deals at 50% by getting the vouchers in Groupin!

The grand Ramadan tent of Four Seasons 
Four Seasons Hotel in the Kingdom Centre offers an exquisite Ramadan tent at their Kingdom Ballroom. 
Price: SR 345 per person 
Reservations: +966-11-211-5544 

The appetizer table of Marriott's Mosaic Restaurant entices!
The Riyadh Marriott Hotel is welcoming you to their buffets both for after and suhoor. We like the Marriott's friendly managers and staff, and of course, their delicious food! 
Price: SR 235 for iftar | SR 145 for suhoor 
Reservations: +966-11-477-9300 

Sheraton Riyadh Hotel and Towers is serving their rich buffet after at their pool garden. 
Price: SR 240 
Reservations: +966-11-454-3300 

Four Points by Sheraton Khaldia celebrates the holy month of Ramadan with special treats from their Al Nakheel Restaurant. 
Price: SR 155 for iftar | SR 110 for suhoor 
Reservations: +966-11-268-2222 

That chocolate fountain is a super sweet treat!
Meanwhile, the Intercontinental Hotel in Al Maather Street is inviting you to try their sumptuous after with mouthwatering cuisine. 
Price: SR 265 for after | SR 185 for suhoor 
Reservations: +966-11-465-5000 

The Hilton Garden Inn in Olaya is having a promo so bring your friends because if you go there with four of your companions (making you a group of 5) for iftar, you'll only pay for 4! 
Price: SR 135 for after | SR 95 for suhoor 
Get the voucher from Cobone and you'll only pay SR 99 per person. 
Reservations: +966-11-293-5533 

Deals on other hotels can also be found in Cobone. Try them out too! 

Now that is a dessert buffet!
Golden Tulip Hotel offers traditional and international food in their Andalusia Restaurant. Only SR 55 if you buy the voucher here: Prebooking required so call in your reservations. 
Price: SR 55 via Cobone 
Reservations: 0548457215 

The modern vibe of Business Hotel
The Business Hotel, also in Olaya, boasts of an after and suhoor buffet created by Executive Michelin stars awarded Chef Charles Andreou. Try their cuisine by buying the voucher for their after tent here: 
Price: SR 99 via Cobone 
Reservations: +966-217-3777 

Carawan Al Fahad Hotel serves a feast!
Carawan Al Fahad Hotel in Oruba has a wide variety of Arabic, International, and Oriental dishes in their buffet line-up. Their Cobone voucher is only SR 80 so get it here: 
Price: SR 80 via Cobone 
Reservations: +966-11-217-2345 

So what's next? The restaurants' offers and promos, of course! Don't hold your breath; it's coming! :) ~ Sundrenched

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

For Your Eyes Only

With Ramadan here upon us, shopping becomes challenging. The malls are open during the day but some stores inside the malls are closed. We have to wait for 9:00PM, or the time after the isha prayer to do our shopping. At least during that time, we're sure that all the stores are open. No second guessing and no time is wasted. Of course, this little sacrifice on our part is nothing compared to the greater sacrifice behind the closing of the shops. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are fasting and sacrificing during this holy month of Ramadan.

What I don't get though is this new ruling to close the shops at 9:00PM before the end of this year. In the Philippines, malls and stores typically close around 9:00PM too but they don't close during prayer times. So how many hours are left for us to shop and do our errands? Don't even start talking about the 6:00AM opening of shops because who wakes up at around 5:00AM to go shopping at 6:00AM and be ready for work at 7:00AM during a week day?! Seriously, does that even makes sense? I laughed at this news and infographic from Arab News. I wonder where they got their positive feedback? All I hear and read are the opposite. Oh well... 

When physically going to the stores becomes challenging, online shopping enters and our problems seem to magically go away with a click of the "Buy" button. Retail therapy for The Pink Tarha ladies has been transferred online nowadays. And I've tried a few over the past few weeks. Try them too because their products are worth it and their ordering and shipping service are extra good!

Enhance Your Eyes With Candylens
I pretty much wear clear contact lenses these days. But once in a while, I want my eyes to pop and have that special effect brought about by the ever popular Circle Lens! If you're Asian, you've probably heard and seen circle contact lenses. They're the kind of lens that gives your eyes an effect that makes it look like a doll's pair of eyes. It makes your eyes bigger and sparkling and everyone who see you will definitely take a double look. 

There are no readily available circle lenses here in Riyadh. The choices for colored contact lenses are limited and expensive. Good thing, I chanced upon Candylens, an online shop that sells these circle lenses. Going through their catalog took me quite a while because I couldn't decide. 

Choose the right circle lens for you!
There are so many brands and kinds and effects to choose from! I tend to gravitate towards the lenses that will just slightly alter my eyes' appearance. Nothing drastic like these crazy Halloween lens! Finally, after three days of going back and forth in the website, I ended up getting the Hana SPC Barbie Circle Brown Lens and the G&G Diamond Black. I also gifted my friend the G&G Diamond Brown. Both my lenses are graded -2.00. All lens come with a free animal case (cute!!!).

My eye companions. With their cute companions. 
Shopping in Candylens is super easy and effortless. They offer popular brands like Geo Medical, EOS, and Dolly Wink. They also gathered the lenses in categories so it's easier to look for lenses that suits your needs. If you have prescription like me, they offer lenses from -1.00 up to -10.00! Each pair costs around $20-$33. Sometimes, they also go on sale. When shopping, just add the lenses to your cart and proceed to checkout. You can pay through your credit card or Paypal. Candylens offers shipping to Saudi Arabia at a very reasonable rate. Only $5.00 for Global Mail (15-20 days) and $23 for FedEx (estimate for one pair).

Natural with a hint of enchantment
When my orders arrived via FedEx (took them 3 days to deliver it), I tried my contact lenses immediately! Despite their dimensions being bigger, they're super comfy to wear. I also like that my choices enhanced my eyes instead of making them appear weird. My friend who wore her pair of circle lens almost every day received a lot of compliments. Truly, it's a worthy purchase! Candylens also sells eye care products, false eyelashes, BB creams, and eye makeup. I love the Rohto C3 Cube Cool Moist Charge Eye Drops. It keeps my eyes and lens from getting dry.


Tired Eyes Be Gone
Speaking of the eyes, do you have dark circles under them? Or maybe your eyes just feel tired and stressed all the time? Well, worry no more because a Hollywood secret just came out of the open! 

Eyes by ToGoSpa has been getting rave reviews online. These moisture-packed collagen gel pads provide instant cooling relief for eyes that suffer from dark circles, under-eye bags, fine lines, stress, and fatigue. Famous Hollywood celebrities have been using them; their praises for this instant wonder eye product are non-stop. We Riyadhizens can buy and try this eye pads too through Instagram shop, Cornelia KSA

Cornelia KSA at your service
Cornelia KSA is an online IG shop that sells beauty products like popular nail lacquer brands Essie and Ciate and bestselling blush brand Tarte. They sell mostly American makeup brands. They ship  anywhere to Saudi Arabia via FedEx for SR 35 only. 

One of their popular products is Eyes by ToGoSpa and I just have to try it! I got the Ice Water (Refreshing) variant and had it delivered via Fedex. Payment is via wire transfer. I had to get the package from their branch in Oruba. On to the product... Each pack of Ice Water Eyes includes three pairs of undereye patches. One use of one pair promises to soothe, moisturize, and de-puff tired eyes in just 15-20 minutes. 

Instant eye pick-upper
When I tried one, I didn't get to see and feel immediate results. And yup, there was no major changes but I felt that the delicate dermis below my eye improved its texture and appearance a bit. It also felt refreshed and hydrated. I would like to try the other Eyes variants next time. The coconut and green tea Eyes look interesting too.

Cornelia KSA

So while the shops are closed during Ramadan, we still can shop... online and on Instagram! Don't let the situation limit you remember? Shop on, Riyadhizens! ~ Sundrenched

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Classic 50s Act at Bud's

Guess how many times have we written about restaurants that specialises in BURGERS in the blog? Nah, don't count (but it will help our stats if you go through our blog over and over, haha!) because I couldn't count either. There are just so many burger shops that I wonder why most people are fascinated with it. Why do they like burgers so much?!? Yes, burgers are quite handy, basically a complete meal, and affordable.. uhmn yeah what was the question again?! Haha. So okay, here we go with another burger restaurant. Again?! Sorry not sorry.

If you pass by Tahlia Street, our favorite Riyadh street at night (NOT!), you will notice the area where the lighthouse-looking building is (used to be Hediard), you'll see a gathering of new restaurants merging with the classics (like Buffalo's). That's called the Galaxy Center. And then you'll notice a shop called Classic Cars or something, that has to do with... old, expensive cars. No, I will not talk about that but it's just apt that it's situated a stone throw away from Bud's Road Classic Diner, one of the retro-ish burger places in Riyadh with half a car and motorcycles as decorations inside!

Bud's Road Classic Diner is a Saudi brand serving American fast food cuisine. It promises a cheerful ambiance that represents the happy 1950s. When you go inside Bud's you'll be reminded of the Frosty Palace in Grease or the Chok'lit Shoppe in Archie's Comics where the characters hang-out after school. A diner is an old-fashioned ice cream parlour slash soda fountain shop that capitalizes on nostalgia in the United States. Bringing it here in Riyadh however makes for a novel restaurant that brings the customers out of Riyadh for a bit. 

Hello to the 50s!
I love the stainless and leather seats, and the car that has a table and chair in between! Coolio! It would have been cooler if it's not in the men's section. The black and white checkered walls are adorned with vintage prints and road signs. The counters are shiny and the tables even have swivelling tiny doors! Awesome! I bet you're counting on a sing and dance number coming out but alas! None.

A nod to the good 'ol happy days of America
Can't use that car, er, table... it's in the men's section. Sigh.
I was honestly gawking at the massive motorcycles above me when I ordered. I mean if you didn't get curious at that retro gas station then you will tie up the theme when you encounter the motorcycle and and vintage car inside. I ordered one of their burgers with barbecue sauce (it has always been my default to anything sweet and savory) and a strawberry milkshake.

Pinks and motorcycles huh? Bring it on! 
Hat's off to the presentation of the burger. It was served on a canteen tray complete with French fries and coleslaw. Now I am not ignoring the burger but I have to tell you, those fries are great! My friend had to steal some from my tray because she ordered salmon! (Hello, who orders salmon at a burger joint?! Someone who wants to rebel against the student pack, that's who!) Anyway, the burger is meaty and juicy. It was not a WOW burger but its definitely good. 

Now this is making me miss my school days! Caf time!
No compromise on this tray! There are condiments though.
One more item that I truly enjoyed, making me wish I can lick off my fingers without losing my poise is the Bud's Wings! They're sweet and spicy and sprinkled with cheese. All my favourite flavours and things in one bucket! I'm salivating just by thinking and writing about them!

Ahhhh my precious!
Lickin', I mean... looking' good!
My friend wasn't awed by her salmon dish (again, her fault for ordering the non-burger dish in a burger restaurant) but she liked it. She had a lemon mint drink with it. The whole green and yellow food ensemble she had going on looked like she's a vegetarian on a burger diner! Crazy right?! Haha!

This dish is screaming healthy to me! Hello green and yellow!
Refreshing, zesty tonic
Anyway, the drink was refreshing and my milkshake was think and creamy and oh-so-sweet! It was sinful and good at the same time. Goodness, the huge motorcycles and leather seats might have brought out the rebel in me! Haha!

Sinfully delectable
So, if you're missing Archie comics and want to be transported to the 50s for an hour or so, visit Bud's Road Classic Diner! Yep, it's a classic! ~ Sundrenched

Bud's Road Classic Diner
Galaxy Center, Tahlia Street
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
T: +966-11-4611058
Opening Hours: 12:30PM - 1:00AM
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