Authentic cuisine and family recipes are part of Sima Mohamad Jabbary’s successful Shahnameh Restaurant. OHLALA chatted with the entrepreneur for a glimpse into her work.
“Eat, drink and be merry. Experiencing food is enjoying it and creating memories.”– Sima Mohamad Jabbary
OHLALA – When and how did you discover your passion for cooking?
Sima Mohamad Jabbary – I was around the age of 16 and, other than perfecting boiling an egg, I was inspired by a friends’ mother that used to cook delicious macaroni béchamel. I took it as a challenge to cook the same dish, if not better! That was when my passion for perfection in cooking started, which led to a culinary career, dedicating my time, experimenting and presenting what I like to call art.
OHLALA – Why have you decided to open Shahnameh Restaurant? Aren’t family recipes supposed to be kept as a secret?
Sima – I supported my family through cooking at home and offering catering services. With God’s blessings and my parents’ help, along with the encouragement and support of my young adult children, we decided to take up the adventure to open Shahnameh Restaurant to serve the best home-cooked and authentic Iranian cuisine. The recipes we use shall remain a family secret. However, our clients have the pleasure to relish our secret ingredients and unique creations.
OHLALA – What is comfort food for you? Do you have any personal favourite dishes?
Sima – Comfort food is the one that brings happy memories and emotional comfort stimulated by our senses. To me, the dishes that best represent comfort food are Tahdig (a Persian way of cooking rice, leaving a crispy bottom. Tahdig actually means the bottom of the cooking pot) and Macarona Khaloo Zaman (a pasta delicacy). And my personal favourite dish is my perfected secret recipe for a popular rice dish called Tahchin which we proudly serve at Shahnameh Restaurant.
OHLALA – Which dishes do you think customers must try at your restaurant?
Sima – I always encourage others to stimulate the senses with flavours that they haven’t had before. Regarding the Shahnameh Restaurant menu, we have a variety of dishes that are uncommon in the restaurants of Bahrain, and we are always open to customers’ personal requests.
OHLALA – What message do you want to spread with your food?
Sima – Eat, drink and be merry. Experiencing food is enjoying it and creating memories. And I believe that quality must never be compromised.
OHLALA – Apart from cooking and running a restaurant business, what else do you love doing that not many people know about?
Sima – I enjoy gardening. I like providing some ingredients for Shahnameh Restaurant dishes with my garden produce. It also pleases me to help and share with the needy, care for all and plant for a greener future.
OHLALA – What do you like most about Bahrain?
Sima – The generosity, friendliness and how Bahrainis open their homes to people. Also, the support of our benevolent government, history and much more. What’s not to love about our Land of Eternity called Bahrain?