The warmth of the casual dining restaurant, its unique interiors and the personal touch of the owners turned it into one of Amman’s favorite dining spaces. The eye-catching white furniture, the open kitchen and the attention to details makes it irresistible not to walk in the restaurant and order some of its comfort food cooked to perfection. It felt like ‘home away from home’ while I was sipping my peppermint tea and enjoying the relaxed and chilled atmosphere of Karmah’s Kitchen. Chef Karmah Tabbaa, the Jordanian female chef and owner of Karmah’s Kitchen tells us more about her culinary journey and the evolution of her Kitchen from being a delivery lunch service to a casual dining restaurant.
Two years into studying hotel management chef Karmah found her passion was more in the practical side of the industry, more precisely in the kitchen. She interned at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva and then moved to Florence to learn basic Italian cooking. A year after, chef Karmah joined the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York, known as one of the best culinary schools in the world. Since then she worked at a one Michelin starred farm to table restaurant in NYC, then moved to Spain’s culinary capital San Sebastian. Chef Karmah worked at an up scale tapas bar and then got a position at Akelarre, one of San Sebsatian’s oldest three Michelin starred restaurants. Akelarre’s culinary approach was a very clever blend of traditional Basque cuisine while incorporating modern cooking techniques. After a long journey abroad chef Karmah came back to Amman and began a “plat du jour” delivery service that many customers appreciated. Amman was lacking simple cooked food that was healthy yet appetizing. After teaching for a year at Les Roches Amman, chef Karmah decided to go back to her “plat du jour” concept, expanded it and turned into a one of a kind dining restaurant.
The philosophy behind the Kitchen’s menu that serves limited number of dishes is to incorporate different ingredients, flavors and tastes while satisfying the palate of the restaurant’s guests. “You can call it a fusion kitchen!” says chef Karmah. The shawerma steamed buns and the freekeh salad with an Asian twist and the recently introduced flour-less chocolate cake with vinegar light caramel proves that Karmah’s Kitchen was able to have its own print in the culinary scene in Jordan. “We try to take comfort food Jordanians are used to and slowly modify it so it appears more exciting, yet still seem familiar.” adds chef Karmah.
As the manager of Karmah’s Kitchen, Amir believes in the teamwork and the effort that the staff places to create such a pleasant experience to its guests. “We work as a team at Karmah’s Kitchen, we are all one big family and our main goal is to make our customers feel they are at home once they enter the restaurant.” explains Amir. The word of mouth of the restaurant’s database of local customers and nationalities from around the globe helped the Kitchen to be one of the hot spots in Amman in the last few months.
“Changing menu items and adding new ones is what I enjoy doing the most, our New Year’s Eve menu was very successful. We will definitely be having seasonal menu changes and personalized menus for special occasions.” says chef Karmah. The passion, love for food, dedication and their guests’ satisfaction always pushes the team of the Kitchen to go that extra mile. “Its important to us to keep our guests happy, that’s why we always be on top of everything and try to please them, whether its by the food we prepare, the service we provide or the overall experience that the guests go through once they walk in our restaurant” added the chef. At the Kitchen, both chef Karmah and Amir try to create new menus emphasizing their philosophy of using available local products while indulging their guests with their exclusive dishes mouthwatering combinations.
*Pictures courtesy of chef Karmah