Three Maudies – good
I wrote a previous article about how many fast food places there are in Kuwait City, Fast Food Hell. And, indeed, there are.
It seems that the main street food one sees in Kuwait is schwarma, minced meat kebabs, and manakish (like a pizza). Right now, I will discuss a Kuwaiti fast food chain that specializes in schwarma and some kebabs. I don’t believe that they offer franchises (yet), but there are two locations in Kuwait City and one is opening soon on the Australian Gold Coast.
The menu is fairly extensive, so I will only comment on what I had there. It is very unusual for me to give a fast food place three Maudies, if I review them at all. I hate fast
food. But Kurdo has redeeming qualities and, for the most part, the food was good.
I went to the location on a busy four lane street in Salmiya. There is also one at Marina Mall. In Salmiya, the restaurant is in a narrow, long storefront, with a counter and stools for seating. One of their concepts is that everything is made in front of you, so you have a glass barrier and you can indeed watch everything being made, including the thin, non-leavened flat bread that are like wraps and cooked traditionally on a convex, heated, metal surface after being rolled out. I don’t like this bread as much as the leavened flat bread, but Kurdo’s is as good as any I had in Kuwait and does make for a good wrap.
Another feature is the huge chicken schwarma rotating in its area in the front of the place. The cooks slice off chicken pieces that fall to a heated plate (that also catches fat drippings, etc). You will also see parsley and tomatoes being chared on this plate or on another flat surface nearby. They also had a smaller lamb/beef stack. The plate ensures the chicken is cooked and keeps it warm. In my experience, it wasn’t there long enough to dry out.
One thing I noticed is that, for such a small place, there seemed to be way too many wait staff. They all wore bright yellow uniforms and were tripping all over each other. It turns out that they do a lot of delivery, plus they stand out on the sidewalk to attract drive-up business. In Kuwait, you see this all the time. Cars pull up to the curb in front of a restaurant, waiters go over and take the order, money changes hands, and the food is brought back to the car. This can tie up traffic sometimes, but wasn’t really a problem here, except for drivers jockeying for position. Those waiters are hustlers.
Kurdo also has a lot of fresh juices. I mean, 100% fresh juices made on the spot, in this case in a separate space next door. Kurdo’s prices are reasonable, I thought, if not exactly cheap for juices. Kuwaiti’s drink a lot of juices and juice mixtures, perhaps because alcohol is illegal there. My standard was lemonade with mint. Prices for food were also quite inexpensive.
I also tried a shish kebab meal, made with spiced minced meat, that was quite good. This came with fries, as well. Fries were served with a ketchup/mayonnaise mixture that
was good. The one meal that I was dissappointed is was the eskandar. Eskandar is essentially doner kebab (thinly cut marinated and grilled lamb served in a sandwich or plain). I ordered plain. I also had the chicken plain and it was excellent. Unfortunately, it appears that this eskandar was cut from one of those preformed lamb or beef schwarma stacks that you used to see in the Gyro franchise in the US. Not sure that restaurant is still around. While the Gyro franchise version is not fit to eat, Kurdo’s was, but I would stick with the chicken.
As a fast food place, the vegetables were like any other you see at fast food places, not overly impressive. I am talking about tomatoes that weren’t completely ripe and your standard boring lettuce. For a fast food place, this one is pretty darn good. With a little tweaking of the menu, this is a chain that would probably do well in the US.