Is Arabic Sushi the Next Big Thing? This Restaurant Thinks So

Imagery from Cactus Sensei | Facebook

Imagery from Cactus Sensei | Facebook

Sushi may have originated in Japan, but it certainly has been Americanized. Will other cultures heavily influence this style of food?

Well, last month a new restaurant in Qatar is doing something no concept has ever done before. The concept is serving sushi rolls inspired by Arabic dishes.

Although the two co-owners, Hassan Al Mannai and Mark Boreham were repeatedly told that their restaurant idea was “crazy,” hundreds diners have visited Castus Senshi since it’s soft opening three weeks ago.

The concept’s goal is to make diners feel more at home, while also trying something different. The rolls are influence by popular Arabic dishes, such as lamb maklouba, chicken mansaf, and falafel.

However, developing the unique concept was no walk in the park.

“They told us it was impossible to manage. We told them we will have machboos, falafel, biryani and mansaf sushi. No one believed us. We faced a lot of difficulties,” said Al Mannai to DOHA NEWS during the restaurant’s inception.

It took the team an entire year to just determine the diverse menu. Well, it paid off because the falafel-spiced sushi rolls are a best seller.

A roll with eight pieces is about QR60, which is just over $16 in US dollars.

Though the restaurant prides itself on its Arabic sushi creations, the menu includes traditional beloved rolls, along with tempura, sashimi, and even some Mexican side dishes like rice. The rice is a best seller and so is the dessert passion fruit crème brûlée. Another popular favorite at Sushi restaurants, bubble tea is also available.

So far, the response from diners has been positive. “People here respected what we are doing. They come understanding how hard it was to create all this from scratch. We have amazing feedback, but we strive to get better because we believe everything can be better,” said Al Mannai to DOHA NEWS.

We are seeing Middle Eastern cuisines emerge as the biggest ethnic trend, especially in fast causal. Will we see more restaurants blurring the lines of different ethnic cuisines? Read more.