HAUTE DOGS FOR BREAKFAST
Written by: Ashley Alleluya
Photography: Salman Moghaddam
Haute has been quietly making all the right noises around the Kuwaiti culinary circles since it first opened. Its gourmet style hot dogs, with the franks made in-house under the careful tutelage of the owner Aruba Alown, have been praised by all. Decadent is a word I’ve heard used to describe their indulgent hot dogs – legit is another word. So when the Haute team decides to foray into the already competitive breakfast arena, you know they’re bringing their A-game to the table. The Kingdome team was invited to a special breakfast tasting before the menu was rolled out for business. Be warned. This review is about to get seriously gushy.
Nestled cozily on Khalid ibn Walid St. in Sharq, Haute already wins brownie points on account of its location. It’s the place you go to when you’re headed in late to work and have the time to pick up a proper breakfast, or need a brunch spot for a gossip session. The interiors keep things quirky with interesting art decorating the brick walls, bright lights and seating spaces. The music only adds to its inviting appeal – the morning of our tasting had upbeat, whimsical music playing in the background, the kind that gets your appetite moving. We were greeted by staff members who were courteous, friendly and informative – and wanted us to try just about everything on the tasting menu!
The breakfast menu may have taken only a month to develop, according to the owner, but it is by no means scant. We are given plenty of options to sample, ranging from sandwiches and egg dishes, to pancakes and toast. To be as fair as possible in our assessment, we got as many items as we could possibly cram onto the table and into our bellies. So, orders were placed for the Haute Dog Benedict, the Carlos, the Shakshooka, the Haute omlette, the Haute pancake and its cousin, the Marble pancake, as well as an order of French toast.
We knew all this food would require liquid sustenance (we needed a jolt of energy that morning) so we looked around for coffee options. This is when we were greeted by Lulu, the owner of GRND, an artisanal coffee concept in Kuwait. In tandem with Haute for that breakfast tasting, Lulu introduced us to her fresh, organic selection of drip coffee roasts. One sip of our brew had us sighing – you know you’re drinking premium roast when the flavors of the beans dance on your tongue and leave no bitter taste. We were informed that this is something Haute plans to do regularly – pair up with local coffee concepts as part of their breakfast collaborations in an effort to introduce carefully selected fresh coffee to breakfast enthusiasts looking for the authentic coffee experience.
The Frank’s Egg hot dog was among the first to arrive at our table, and had us ooh-ing and aah-ing in interest almost immediately. Their signature Haute hot dog served with scrambled eggs and cheese ladled on top in a potato bun, the hot dog itself was delicious, but one of us found the eggs to be just a touch on the runny side – but then, what constitutes a perfect serving of scrambled eggs is a debate for the history books. The egg preparations that received near-perfect scores, however, were the Haute omelette and the Haute Benedict. The former is an omelette cooked to exacting standards and wrapped lovingly around the Haute hot dog, it made for a fun variation on the classic eggs and sausage combination, though a couple of us felt like it could have used a touch more seasoning or layer of flavor. The latter, a plate of poached eggs that deserve top marks for technical excellence, came with a muffin that elicited groans of pleasure, slices of hot dog and a creamy hollandaise sauce that deserves its own paragraph of praise.
It was the Carlos that turned out to be a sleeper hit among our crowd. A Haute take on the classic Croque Monsieur with a guacamole twist, this gooey cheesy sandwich was so delectable, there was a muffled “another one” from one our diners while he still munched on his first. The Shakshooka also pleased our palates, although it did begin an intense discussion about the origins of the name and its components. Plated gorgeously in mini-skillets, this traditional offering of runny eggs with tomatoes, green peppers and spices served with crunchy yet soft and chewy slices of bread hit the spot. I must take a minute to applaud Haute for its near-reverential treatment of carbohydrates. If you’re looking for bread that makes your cheat day worth the sacrifice or are craving a serving of potatoes, Haute is worth the visit. Their garlic roast potatoes were served as accompaniments to breakfast dishes, but we witnessed friends sneakily stealing pieces off each others’ plates – they were that good. The bread gets its texture and flavor just right, serving as the perfect base for all their hot dog and egg offerings.
With these dishes and our cups of coffee, we were already slipping into a comfortable food haze – but we weren’t done yet. Just as the last of our savory items disappeared off our plates, along came the Haute pancake. A no-frills pancake served with thin slices of hot dogs arranged artfully on top, this dish demanded that it be tasted and not seen. Take note, pancake people – Haute makes a mean pancake! This version was the right kind of fluffy and we gobbled it up in no time. But the true sign of its success: the Haute pancake made a convert out of one of our friends, usually not a pancake fan. It’s sweet and rich cousin, named the Marble pancake was just as good, if not a little overwhelming. Served warm with nuts and chocolate butter, this is an order best enjoyed in a pair of comfortable elastic jogging pants. We rounded up the meal with the Haute version of a French toast, lip-smackingly well done battered toast served with vanilla cream, caramel sauce and a banana. If only you could hear the sounds of rapture that emanated from our table at the sight and taste of this dish!
It is a very vocal group of food lovers that works and lives at Kingdome – each taking their food more seriously than the other. So when this bunch of foodies struggle to find criticism in the food they’ve been served, you know the meal has been a resounding success. All the breakfast menu needs is a little addition – perhaps a fresh option such as a salsa or a raw preparation to even out all the heavily cooked and sauced foods. As well as some vegetarian options, since the current breakfast menu seems to cater to meat-lovers. Other than these minor quibbles, their offerings, so far, are practically faultless. We are not easily left speechless when it comes to food – but the Haute breakfast menu has certainly raised the bar high for all breakfast menus we’ll be sampling in the future.
In case this review piqued your interest, the breakfast menu at Haute will be will start service post-Ramadan. In the meantime, their regular menu that serves a selection of hot dogs, appetizers and other bites is available for dine-in and delivery.