Khashoka — a flashback to the 70s

Khashoka, which is a Turkish word meaning “Spoon”, is a rustic Arabic restaurant located in the Khalda neighborhood. It serves food that is great for families who want to get their hands messy while having a hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner. (Photos: Zeid Odeh/Jordan News)
We all have those days when we like to treat ourselves to a full-service seated dinner, with a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay in the summertime. And then, we have days when all we want is simple service, good food, and full satisfaction. اضافة اعلان

While reflecting on my New Year’s resolution to adopt a healthier lifestyle, I realized that I had completely neglected working on my summer body. But I also thought that one day will not make that much of a difference, so I made my way to Khashoka to indulge in some delicious Arabic cuisine.

Khashoka, which is a Turkish word meaning “Spoon”, is a rustic Arabic restaurant located in the Khalda neighborhood. It serves food that is great for families who want to get their hands messy while having a hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

The ambiance at Khashoka reminds one of simpler times, with wooden tables, decorations on the walls depicting simple farm life, straw chairs, and uniforms that take one back to Amman in the 1970s.

I had already been to this restaurant, a couple of months after its opening, and the entire experience was beautiful, so I had high expectations from my next experience. Yet, I was honestly a little disappointed by the lack of attention to detail — an aspect that was mesmerizing on my first visit.

As we walked in, we were hosted, seated, then ignored for a good 10 minutes until a server took our order.

Looking at the menu, which also serves as a placemat, I was tempted to try items from each category. We ordered shanklish, muqalqil lahmeh, qallaieh, hummus, spicy falafel, shepherd’s salad, potatoes with cheese, creamy freekeh, and a halloumi manakeesh.

Shanklish, which is a dry labaneh with mixed peppers, is one of my favorite Arabic appetizers. The sourness of the labaneh with the peppers and olive oil give it a distinguished taste that is almost addictive. The flavor was good, but it missed the touch of the server smashing the labaneh and mixing everything together.

The muqalqil lahmeh, which is a fillet of beef with onions on a clay platter, was full of flavor but lacked a liquid component. The onions were caramelized but sometimes felt bitter. The seasoning was good overall, but I would not consider this as a highlight or best dish on offer.

On the other hand, the qallaiet tomato was beautifully seasoned and done well. The tomato sauce was not overly dry nor too watery. I kept going back to dig into this plate between bites of other dishes.

The hummus was creamy and tasted good.

Once you cut into the falafel, you could see the visually appealing vibrant green color of coriander, but the size of each piece is a little too big.

The shepherd’s salad, consisting of tomatoes and onions, was simple and dressed in a light lemon vinaigrette. 

The potatoes and cheese pot added no value to the menu or the experience. Even if it is reimagined as Belgium fries with cheese sauce, the entire dish still needs reevaluation. The cheese sauce was grainy and ultimately underwhelming.

Creamy freekeh, which was definitely not a dish found in the 70s, is a great hybrid of Arabic and Western cuisine, especially when picturing the freekeh as risotto.

The halloumi manakeesh was a pleasant ending note. The dough was homemade, fluffy, and flavorful. I used the manakeesh as a bread base and topped it with the tomato qallaieh; a great medley of flavors.

The overall experience of Khashoka was good. It will always be a solid choice for Arabic food if you do not want to make the trip downtown. As for the consistency of products, I advise a relook at the menu to adjust a few items and improve the ones that need work. 

Most importantly, the professionalism of the service staff in the dining room needs refinement, and the uniforms should be worn properly without aprons half dangling down. Giving attention to guests, not letting them wait for a long time, and offering assistance before approaching the table are essential rules that must be adhered to.

What I absolutely loved about this restaurant was the choice of plates; they are rustic with vintage colors that truly bring the concept to life.

If you are looking to have a meal with friends or family without the formalities of dining rooms and upscale restaurants, Khashoka is the place to go. Prepare to put your spoons down and dig in using your fingers and pieces of bread. Just do not double dip: one of the unwritten rules in my book.

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