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Food: Mayrig: Where Authentic Armenian Flavors Meet Family Recipes

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  • Food: Mayrig: Where Authentic Armenian Flavors Meet Family Recipes


    Arab News
    May 29, 2012 Tuesday
    Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    It all started in the town of Jabal Moussa, Armenia, when Manouchag,
    an Armenian grandmother, who though was not rich or famous, had one
    particular talent that set her aside from any other grandmother in
    the town; Manouchag was a fantastic cook.

    Manouchag, Armenian for violet eyes, was a little girl when a big war
    broke out in her native country forcing her to set sail to Cyprus. She
    grew up in a children's home, where she stayed until she graduated
    from high school. She then moved to Lebanon where she met her future
    husband. They both lived in a beautiful mansion overlooking the sea
    in Ayn Mreisseh, where she raised her six children.

    Manouchag used her cooking skills to quiet down her grandchildren,
    asking them to help her in the kitchen; her mission was to create
    wonderful Armenian dishes for her family. She was extra careful in
    guarding her secret recipes. However, she made one important exception:
    her children and grandchildren.

    Manouchag inspired her grandchildren to start a business to celebrate
    her talent. They opened a restaurant that serves traditional Armenian
    cuisine and named it Mayrig. The restaurant was born in Beirut with
    an army of professional mothers working as chefs and using only
    Manouchag's ancient recipes.

    In February 2011, Mayrig opened its second branch in Jeddah. The
    restaurant is located in a small villa overlooking King Road and the
    Andalus Street. The exterior of the villa is done in Armenian style -
    with wood, stones and marble. Inside is a two-story restaurant: The
    ground floor serves only men while the second floor is for families.

    The interior of the restaurant is colorful with walls made of beige
    rocks and wood and Syrian-designed marble floors. Mayrig can seat
    250 diners at once and 50 diners in the terrace area.

    The menu comprises a range of authentic Armenian dishes. Among their
    fresh salads is Itch, an Armenian tabouleh made with buckwheat, onion,
    tomatoes and parsley. The dish is eaten with cabbage leaves as serving
    spoons. Sempougov salad is a cold eggplant salad with onion, tomatoes,
    parsley and lemon and olive oil dressing. Vospi salad is a lentil
    salad with chopped onions, tomatoes and pomegranate vinegar sauce,
    eaten with crispy bread, and it is highly recommended here.

    For cold entrees, Derevov Sarma is a dish made with zesty vine
    leaves wrapped around juicy rice mix. The Mayrig Selection is highly
    recommended, which is a dish of kebbe with lentils served with chopped
    white onion and olive oil. Kebbe with potatoes is served with chopped
    tomatoes, onion and parsley while the raw meat kebbe is served with
    minced meat, onions and pine nuts.

    In the category of hot entrees, on offer are different appetizing
    dishes such as Gdzou Patates, consisting of diced, spicy fried
    potatoes. Sou Beureg is a layered pastry made with three kinds of
    cheeses. Soujok Fekhara that is made with Armenian beef sausage with
    tomato sauce is cooked and served in pottery.

    As for the main course, Mayrig serves authentic Armenian dishes cooked
    with Armenian spices and baked in pottery. Mante is a minced meat
    dumpling cooked in a stone oven. Tomato sauce and yogurt is added
    when serving the dish. Fishnah Kebab is another popular dish here
    and consists of a grilled kebab dish topped with wild sour cherries
    and french bread.

    Tika Kebab is a diced beef grilled in skewers and served with diced
    fried potatoes and salad. Missov Frikeh is another recommended dish
    made with Frikeh pilaf, beef and topped with wild sour cherries.

    Every good meal has to have a sweet ending. For dessert, diners should
    try the Armenian style walnut pakhlava or Achtalieh, which is a milk
    pudding topped with pistachios and served in a pottery jar. Anouch ser,
    a sweet rolled pastry filled with cream, is a smart choice too.

    The restaurant offers Shisha indoors and outdoors for its diners.

    Expect to pay: SR150 to SR200 per person.

    Opening hours: From 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends and from 1 p.m. to
    12 a.m. on weekdays.