June 4, 2013

The Bun Theory

Not quite the Burger bun.. though this is another subject and a much bigger hype that has been ongoing here in middlest east and GCC countries in the last 5 years. ( Yeah with all blogs posting the search for the best burger ever!)

But it is the "Roti" Bun! 
If you are living somewhere in Middle East, or any Gulf Country like UAE, Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia, you might have encountered one of these three renowned Roti Bun shops: Paparotti, Mama rotti, and Rotiboy.

You might wonder they are all the same... So who was the first? Who imitated who? And surely.... who is the best?

In my attempt to objectively answer these questions I did a visit to all three on the same date:
To eliminate season effect on eating habits and the seasons' effect on the taste.

I visited Rotiboy  in Sahara Mall at 8 pm accompanied with two people. The mall was surprisingly not populated. The food court had around 10-15 people maximum. It was obviously empty in compared to other days. As for Rotiboy kiosk, the  counter was clear and clean. The stands were loaded with buns. The cashier was able to  answer all my questions about the product, type, flavor, origin, baking and reheating 
He also told me about the other branches: both existing and soon to be open. He  informed me about the current offer. He looked well trained and prepared. 
Regarding the traffic flow, around 3 people came while I was there during the 40 minutes....but comparing this flow to the current one in the mall, it was good because the neighbor cafes and restaurants barely had even one customer...Even Cinnabon didn't have any customers.

Tasting the bun is another story... Its temperature was perfect, neither hot or cold....just  warm like what your tongue really craves for...The overwhelming smell infused with  coffee is tantalizing and fresh... As if you are in a bakery and coffee store at the same time, perfect combination.....I tried two flavored buns the original and the chocolate filled...
And the most thing I loved about Rotiboy is that It serves my favorite Organic/Free Trade Tea: Tea Gschwender ( If you remember my post this tea? No well go read it !)
I went to Papparotti in Hayat mall during the same night (Monday Feb 4) surprisingly it was crowded; two tables were only empty in the whole cafe. We stood on  the line to take the order. I took a menu…. It had two pages but all it showed was one  flavor and wide range of drinks. I think what was attractive about the shop was: its location.

Its location and setting made it a perfect place for ladies and families to have coffee or a beverage...The traffic was superfluous with 3 people visiting every 15 minutes. Neither the waiter nor the cashier  had time to hear my question as they were in constant rush and motion...So I couldn't approach them quite comfortably. The original flavor is a bit sweeter than Rotiboy but  was similar in texture and aroma...
Paparotti's Bun in Panorama mall

As for Mammaroti branch on Tahliyah, It had a slow traffic in the ladies but medium number of in the singles section (around 6).
The price is the same as in the others. However, the texture of the bun was different, it  was doughier and heavier from inside and it was less fluffy than the other buns I tasted. I was easily able to detect a difference in both quality and taste from the other two bun shops.

Products and Services
Original and Flavored Filled Bun
Original and Flavored  covered Bun
Original and Flavored  covered Bun
Fresh smell and taste, fluffy texture
Fresh smell and taste, fluffy texture
Doughy texture, oily, good smell
11 Riyals  per bun, but with special offer ( 2 for 13 Riyals)
11 Riyals per bun, No offer
11 Riyals per bun, No offer
Décor and Furniture
Hip  décor , youthful colors, special furniture
Wooden design , and furniture that fits
Wooden Hip and contemporary design , and furniture that fits
Social Media
Yes ( Facebook 9800 likes, 1371 Twitter)
Yes ( Facebook 171 Likes, Twitter 130 followers)
Not official (Facebook, 4 Likes)
Product Availability
Available and abundant (can be seen)
Available and abundant (can be seen)
Lack of diverse flavors
Quality and product diversity
Product Diversity
Location and quality

Rotiboy's Bun

Rotiboy's Bun

Rotiboy's Bun


Rotiboy Serves My favorite tea! Tea Gschwender 

Lebanon's Paparotti: 

I also had the chance to visit Paparotti in Lebanon in June..
It is located on Bliss street, just beside Bliss house.The setting is great as you can see AUB, the main gate clock tower and the passers by! 
The taste is the same as the Riyadh branch. The franchiser owner is different of coarse.