OMAN Magazine sits with Hamza Al Lawati to find out his foodie-journey which brought the first Chocolatier-Patisserie-Restaurant to Oman.
The brand itself demands well-sourced produce for all of their dishes, from the very best cuts of meat to the locally-procured fish (purchased daily at Mattrah fish market by a bright-eyed-bushy-tailed chef who wakes at 5am to collect the fisherman’s catch!). If the words ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Lounge’ conjure a vision of a relaxing space with copious amounts of cake and lashings of melted chocolate, then you are not far off the scene found at S&H Chocolate Lounge, found in Shatti Al Qurum. The only difference is, it’s not all about the chocolate. They serve everything from Aberdeen Angus Burgers to Italian Risotto, which caters to those without the sweet tooth, or those simply looking for a spot of lunch or dinner. The only difference is, it’s not all about the chocolate. They serve everything from Aberdeen Angus Burgers to Italian Risotto, which caters to those without the sweet tooth, or those simply looking for a spot of lunch or dinner.Founded by brothers, Salman and Hamza Al Lawati, the ‘humble hosts’ devised the concept after studying overseas and experiencing cafes which fell outside of the typical chain of barista-brands. During Hamza’s time in Melbourne, Australia, he encountered the quirky world of cafe-concepts and his exploration of food began to unfold. From street food to unique venues, he realized that the idea of an authentic ‘chocolatier’ is something Oman would welcome; and so came the birth of the first S&H Chocolate Lounge in 2012. Today, the brothers strive to provide an ‘all under one roof’ solution to dining well. This month marks the launch of a new breakfast menu, featuring everything from the full english to a slice of continental petit déjeuner heaven! “We are certainly not restricted to chocolate in our offering” marked Hamza, “whilst we are immensely proud to create handmade praline and truffles using our premium Belgian chocolate, it’s the fusion of dishes on offer which ensures our guests have a plentiful menu to choose from”.Whilst other chocolate rooms have a heavy focus on the patisserie and tea pot synergy, S&H distinctly leans towards an all-day-dining service style with personable waiters on hand to deliver everything possible to the guest “Our rule is to offer yes’s, we never say no”. Restaurant Manager, Madhur Agnani, who hails from a long career in the UAE, describes the restaurant’s service style as “a smile and a true service, whereby we can recommend dishes that pair well for the ultimate dining experience”.
The decor, equally, boasts the same sentiment as the food; quality. The blown-glass chandeliers and lighting fixtures are none-other than Murano Italian glassware, whilst the warm wooden panelling gives a flavour of Omani design, and of course, those deep chocolatey tones.
“2016 offers many developments for us, from the introduction of the ladies’ brunch (which is 50% off on Sundays) to the highly-anticipated breakfast menu, we look forward to welcoming both new and existing customers to try out the latest dishes and foodie-creations that we dream up and invite people to sample”.
So in keeping with the brand message of authenticity and simplicity, we asked Hamza Al Lawati which of the dishes are his personal favourites;
“For main it would be the Mantu, followed by the Chocolate Sensation or Signature Waffle and paired with the freshest Passionfruit Mojito”.[metaslider id=4224]