Sina al Homaizi A Success Story with a Kuwaiti Flavor

  • Publish date: Saturday، 03 September 2022 Last update: Sunday، 18 September 2022
Written by: Noura Al-Swaiti
Photography: Khaled AlQattan

Sina al Homaizi and her sibilings own “Dar Hamad”, a restaurant that serves traditional Kuwaiti dishes in a modern style and an atmosphere that blends the beauty of the past with the present. In no more than two years, Dar Hamad has achieved a massive success and is now a major destination for anyone visiting Kuwait from outside the country.

Oud.com met with Kuwaiti Sina al Homaizi to talk about Dar Hamad's beginnings, achievements, and future aspirations.

Sinaa al-Hamidi

1. How did the idea of establishing Dar Hamad restaurant take shape?

The original Dar Hamad was first built in the early 1960s on this site particular. Previously, the house was located directly on the sandy beaches of the Arabian Gulf; currently called Al Khaleej Street. In this huge house, Al-Hamad family survived and witnessed Kuwait's golden age. With Kuwaitis’ famous hospitality, Al-Hamad welcomed guests, both family members and friends. Considering the emotional value our family has for this house, we decided to transform it into a restaurant to continue the same style of hospitality and heritage Al-Hamad family has been offering to our guests.

2. Dar Hamad's interior is distinctive and reflects Kuwait's authentic heritage in a modern and renewed way. Tell us more about this aspect, and how did the historic building turn into a primary destination for first-time visitors of Kuwait?

During the development phase of the initial idea, we noticed that there is no restaurant in Kuwait which serves Kuwaiti cuisine in a modern way. We decided with MMC Food Company and brother Mr. Mishari AlRoudan and Mr. Alex to go beyond the ideas of traditional restaurants and work on the establishment of "Dar Hamad" restaurant. Our initial approach was to renovate the house to suit the work of a restaurant, but because it is an old building, we were unable to do so. We destroyed the old house and created a new structure that preserves the spirit of the place and fits the necessities of our time. We kept some pieces from the old house, such as marble floors and handrails from the old staircase and others.

Sinaa al-Hamidi 01

3. What impresses us about Dar Hamad is its empowerment of young Kuwaiti talents; starting with the interior design to collaboration with a Kuwaiti chef to prepare the menu. Was this initiative a risk or a trust in these talents?

Since the early days of the project, we have relied on Kuwaiti talent and elements at all stages of the establishment of Dar Hamad.

The place was the home of my late grandfather Khaled Abdul Latif Al-Hamad. The company we used for consulting is based in Kuwait. Architect Jassem Al Saddah designed the new building and the interior. The Kuwaiti chef, Sedieqa Ismail, is responsible for the development and supervises our kitchen. We also have on display art works for Kuwaiti artists, which can be bought by Dar Hamad guests.

This initiative is one which entailed some sort of risk; a necessary, essential risk. We recognize the contribution of each Kuwaiti to Dar Hamad.

4. What is Dar Hamad's best-selling dish?

Traditional dishes remain the most sought after, such as the Dar Hamad salad, Dolma Dar Hamad, Mashwi jeder, Majboos Al Dyai, and Matabaq Al Zubaidi.

Sinaa al-Hamidi 02

5. We are used to everything that is new with Dar Hamad. You have recently launched the idea of "Kashta" on the roof of Dar Hamad, which impressed the diners to the point where it became impossible to find a reservation. Could you elaborate on this idea?

The idea of creating a project on the roof has been around for a long time. Unfortunately, with all the circumstances of the past two years, it has been postponed several times. But we took the positive side of these circumstances and noticed how the "Kashta" responded in Kuwait. We decided with Roland Siah to implement it in a different way in line with Dar Hamad's ideology: preserving traditions in a contemporary way.

6. What does Dar Hamad have in store for the next 12 months?

After our success, praise Allah, we aspire to expand our activity in the Arabian Gulf. As for the Dar Hamad Kuwaiti Sweets Fund, we aspire to develop and modernize it to add other projects under development that will be announced in due course. We seek to expand with study and care to maintain the level of our restaurant and everything that comes out of it. We pray Allah will aid us with success.

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7. From the point of view of its social responsibility, Dar Hamad has contributed to many projects and initiatives concerned with charitable and humanitarian work in Kuwait. Tell us about this human aspect.

Believing that our role goes beyond business and that it is our duty to contribute to maintaining the integrity of society, working on its renaissance and progress, to raise societal awareness, support health concepts, and to keep pace with global developments in this vital sector. We contribute and cooperate in various efforts and initiatives that deal with charitable and humanitarian work in Kuwait.

8. The extraordinary circumstances we have experienced over the past two years have imposed a lot of tension and fear. Tell us about the memories and challenges of the early days of the pandemic at work. How did you get past the bumps that accompanied the repercussions of Covid-19 on a professional and personal level?

The early days until the early months of the health crisis were terrifying; the unknown was dominant not only in Kuwait but around the world.

We have tried to anticipate events as much as possible in our priority to provide health precautions for our team members as well as to maintain their salaries for their financial stability.

We launched a campaign called Dar Hamad Dare to share the actions we took at the time as well as to reassure them that we are here for them. This is what our restaurant is based on, it is a Kuwaiti place that is inclusive of all those who love it: as is Kuwait.

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9. Your mother, Suad Khaled Abdul Latif al-Hamad – may Allah rest her soul - is loved by all and has never known hostility in her life. Tell us more about her and how she affects your character.

My mother was the link with the family and relatives. She taught us to love life, how to be optimistic, simple and spontaneous in words and behavior. She taught us to treat everyone with reciprocity, humbleness and respect; and to never discriminate.

10. Does any one of your family members have the same interest or passion to develop Dar Hamad?

All my family members, especially my husband who is my biggest supporter, share new marketing ideas based on their specialties. Things like the brand names, social media and other things.

11. What does social media mean to you?

Today, social media is the fastest and easiest way to communicate with our guests; to convey our image, and to share opinions. At the same time, it has become an important source of information and inspiration.

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12. Who do you like about from prominent names in the fashion industry locally and internationally?

Hamsa - Sirdab

Vakko – Valentino – Max Mara – Schiaparelli

13. Besides your role in Dar Hamad. What are your top interests?

Travelling and discovering world civilizations and dishes. I like walking and going to theatres, opera houses and cinemas.

14. What advice do you give to someone who would like to go into the restaurant and hospitality business?

First, the entrepreneur must love this kind of work, serving guests and hearing them and their opinions. He should also maintain the quality of the food and provide the best food they have as if they were serving it to the guests of their own homes.