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HomeMiddle EastEmirati man goes full throttle to promote UAE's food and culture

Emirati man goes full throttle to promote UAE's food and culture

UMM AL QUWAIN // Nasser Sultan bin Yousef is a man that has the drive to make his cafe business a success.

The Emirati businessman has gone full throttle into a unique cafe experience that aims to offer traditional hospitality and food, with a slice of automotive history.

He has fashioned the Kashteh Cafe from a 1980 Land Rover Defender 011 that has been decorated with Emirati items as dallah, teapot, trays and dirham coins.

The 44-year-old, who also works at a government organisation in UAQ, bought the Land Rover – itself a symbol of the UAE’s past – at an industrial area, removed its interior and kept its body. He painted it red and then added its distinctive finishes. And, of course, the cafe is a mobile eaterie.

“Kashteh is an Emirati word that means picnic, and citizens in the past used to go for a picnic or move from one place to another in this car, so I combined the name with the car and Emirati food and culture, but I coloured it red as that grabs the attention,” Mr bin Yousef said.

The idea for the cafe came to him about four years ago, due to a shortage of restaurants that prepare Emirati food, and he thought that it would be popular among tourists. He then spent three years designing the Land Rover.

“There are only traditional kitchens that prepare traditional food and they are only known among citizens, not tourists,” Mr bin Yousef said.

“I came up with the idea not for business but because I love my country. I want to present Emirati hospitality and food in a manner that suits customers, specifically tourists, who have no idea about the culture of the UAE.

“I want to go to tourists wherever they are and open the cafe in tourist destinations, such as JBR, Dubai Mall and Yas Mall, in Abu Dhabi.”

The cafe moves from place to place with its mobile library, traditional metal pots and wooden chairs and tables. The motifs on the table tops were taken from old mud houses.

“I made every detail – the library, chairs, tables as well as the dallah fountain placed on the front of the vehicle. I only bought the trays, dallahs, teapots, cups and glasses, all from the GCC. I added the library because, of course, 2016 is the year of reading,” he said.

For more information on the cafe, visit its Instagram account @KashtehCafe.

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(via The National)