“Al Housh offers traditional Sudanese cuisine, and recreates a souk layout and experience whereby customers are brought back to a time and place when the ingredients were at the core of the food they ate,” explains Daniel During, Principal and Managing Director of Thomas Klein International.
“Similarly, the interior design was inspired by the ancient street markets and souks, and we have created similar courtyards and alleys throughout the eatery, to create an authentic dining experience.”
The food and beverage concept was designed after scouring the country to learn about traditional cooking methods, recipes and ingredients.
“We visited every hook and cranny in every souk, every street and stall and spoke to many locals about the Sudanese food and their ways of eating.”
“After months of unrelenting research and education, it all became clear. This amazing food, and culinary traditions, along with the ancient recipes and cooking methods where all hidden in back allies in a huge city, accessible only to the male population, unreachable to women and children and families.”
“We needed to frame this proud heritage and make it available to the wider public and expose it to the world. We needed to showcase Sudanese traditions in a way that would make the Sudanese proud of what their land has to offer. Most of all, we were inspired to create a place that would appeal to Sudanese families and foreigners alike.”
TKI worked with several local and international companies to replicate the ancient Sudanese cooking methods while meeting modern standards of food quality, hygiene and safety. El Seref also has its own on-site slaughterhouse and butchery, as well as a fishmonger. Local breads are baked on site, and most vegetables and herbs are sourced locally.
The main focus was to create a buzzing, dynamic food hall/market concept, rich in sights and sounds, that truly celebrates the native cooking of Sudan. The restaurant features 25 different food stalls, including a spice market, fruit and vegetable market, a deli, bakery, pastry shop, as well as a butcher and fishmonger and traditional street food stalls.
“We also have many live cooking stalls to showcase a host of traditional methods of cooking such as Agashe – a western Sudanese method of grilling meat, whereby the meat and chicken is placed on sticks nestled in the sand around charcoal in a circle.
“There is also the Sudanese Wok and a Salat – a typical Sudanese grilling method whereby hot charcoal is placed in a sand hole and covered with pebbles on which marinated meat slices are cooked,” said During.
Al Housh also offers customers the option to buy fresh produce and ingredients, as well as hot dishes, from the various stalls, complete with expert advice. Diners can order from the stalls or from the menu, and dine in the restaurant or take their freshly-cooked meal home.
“Ultimately, the freshness of the food is very important to the entire concept, and diners are encouraged to watch their food being prepared at the stalls, thereby enjoying the action and traditional skills of the experts,” added During.
Thomas Klein International worked closely with Iskan, a Khartoum-based design company, for the design of Al Housh, which is owned by El Seref Tourism and Hospitality