Restaurant Review: Maiz, Riyadh

Restaurant Review: Maiz, Riyadh

12 April 23

Maiz: Reinventing traditional Saudi cuisine for a new era and for new palates

Bujairi Terrace’s reputation as a fine-dining hub grew when Maiz opened alongside international names such as Hakkasan and Angelina.  

Maiz, however, opened with the aim to reinvent Saudi cuisine for a new era and new palates. But it doesn’t turn its back on tradition: with incredible views of the 18th-century At-Turaif ruins, this restaurant acknowledges the past while presenting a very contemporary take on the region’s recipes.  

Behind the terrace and adobe walls, the interior is a jewel box of a space, with huge centrepiece chandeliers casting a golden glow over bold green and blue fabrics and richly detailed wooden panels, all imbued with a friendly welcome and the scent of warm spices.  

Maiz is the latest project from Al Khozama, which up until now has focused on bringing international flavours to the Kingdom with restaurants such as the Mediterranean-inspired La Cucina and Mamo-Michelangelo; this, though, casts around Saudi Arabia’s 13 regions for dishes such as the familiar saleeg and kabsa.  

But it’s the fusion items on the menu that really showcase the intention here. Masabeeb is served with caviar from locally farmed sturgeon and loomi whipped cream, while the fresh jarjir and smoked eggplant salad, mixed with Saudi cheese, yoghurt and sumac croutons, was a perfect alignment of sweet and salty.  

For the main event there’s hashi steak (with Al-Kharj Farm camel) and Red Sea catch of the day but I went with lamb manta, a wonderfully tender lamb dumpling dish in a spiced tomato sauce; I also tried the najil fillet, marinated with the house spice mix and served with sayadyah rice, a fresh herb salad, and dagoos sbara and tahini sauces.  

A creative side was titled Saudi Farm Garaa Texture, which, on the plate, translated as spicy pumpkin stew spiced up with a granola cilantro vinaigrette and pomegranate BBQ sauce. Dessert was massabeeb, a local take on tiramisu with farm honey, Arabic coffee and mascarpone.  

Maiz is plating up contemporary Saudi cuisine worthy of a global audience.