Inside the cozy location of Meat the Fish in Saifi, wooden ice crates are stacked on the floor, laden with a selection of mouth-watering fresh fish and meat, market style, and people are eating around a communal table. By the look of it, Meat the Fish is a restaurant. What it is, in fact, is a storefront and eatery that naturally evolved as part of a premium meat and fish home delivery service.
“It was very interesting to see how the public interacted”,
The story begins with Royal Gourmet; the company started twenty years ago by owner Karim Arakji and his father. Royal Gourmet is a B2B business supplying restaurants with seafood, meat and poultry. Karim’s friends eventually began asking for portions themselves to enjoy and cook at home, and the personal orders grew to a point where Karim decided to venture into a separate home delivery service – at which point the Meat the Fish brand was created.
During the Christmas season of 2013, Meat the Fish opened a temporary shack for 5 days at their current location, where executive chef Reem Azoury created the brand’s Mediter-Asian menu and signature dishes. The shack was very well-received by the public and the decision was taken to venture forth into a permanent set-up in Saifi Village. The company underwent a full rebrand and the shop re-opened its doors in November 2013.
As we’re sitting with Operations Manager Lara Kassem and Creative Director Rouba Mourtada at the Meat the Fish table hosted inside nearby Trunk store, they go on with pride listing the brand specialties: smoked salmon, tuna and halibut, all smoked in-house, and hand carved; their sashimi, specifically their signature beetroot-marinated Ruby Red Salmon; the Galician Beef from culinary capital San Sebastian; the wide range of oysters from Japan, the U.K. and France, and several other premium meats, all of which are sourced from select suppliers and flown in fresh several times a week.
"There the hybrid restaurant-shop character intrinsic to Meat the Fish, it’s part of our brand culture.”
“It was very interesting to see how the public interacted”, Rouba says as she describes the atmosphere inside and outside, “We never expected people to be sitting on the crates on the pavement. It was not something we planned. It’s also quite an experience to sit with both friends and strangers and share food. There’s also the hybrid restaurant-shop character intrinsic to Meat the Fish, it’s part of our brand culture.”