Shams El Mutwalli Dubai
Sara Al Khoori is the founder of Abu Dhabi based coffee shop, Fraise BonBon, popular for their range of Japanese pastries, desserts, coffee and tea that launched in 2018.
Fraise BonBon are popular for their Japanese pancakes, and Japanese custard buns available in multiple flavours. Their savoury offerings include their fusion bento, Japanese curry buns, cheese buns, as well as their pastries incorporating Arabic elements like Zaatar.
Fraise BonBon is continually experimenting with new creations, one of which being their Super Minis set comprised of mini croissants, cookies, cinnamon rolls mixed with berries and consumed as a cereal. The café also launches seasonal menus with limited options like their rose and pistachio menu.
Aside from their unique pastries and desserts, the café is also themed utilizing four characters as mascots–one of which includes a pink bear incorporated on the brand’s packaging and featured on the food and drinks.
“Our pastries are all Japanese. We are getting our flour, our ingredients like the milk” as well as the matcha among other ingredients from Japan, said founder Al Khoori.
Talking about the origins of her coffee shop, Al Khoori recollected how “having my own coffee shop has been a dream since I was very young” and recently pursued her dream following a career in engineering.
By 2014, Al Khoori decided to launch her own business and the planning process started with “travelling everywhere, searching for ideas. I knew I wanted something cute and something Japanese but” the idea started to build over the years, she said.
“I used to bake a lot at home and do a lot of trials. For example I wanted to try the Japanese chiffon cake so I used to collect all the recipes” and then “slowly I used to create my own recipes. So it all started in my own kitchen, the little trials,” Al Khoori told Arab News Japan exclusively.
The founder was also greatly impacted by her adoration and admiration for Japanese art and culture.
“I feel people are free to wear whatever they want, they are free to express” in a multitude of ways so “that was really amazing,” she said regarding her trip to Japan.
“After I came back I felt that I also want to express myself, maybe through my arts, maybe through my coffee shop,” she continued.
Al Khoori successful did that, one of the ways being how she bridges Japanese and Arabic elements. Fraise BonBon also customizes cookies with Arabic text because of growing demand for them.
In the grander scheme of things, Fraise BonBon does not only provide Japanese products, but also facilitates Japanese meetups at the café.
Al Khoori asserts that while the pastries offered are predominantly Japanese, the name Fraise BonBon, meaning ‘strawberry candy’ in French aims to assert how the café is a fusion bakeshop which also carries a French pastry line in tandem with their bestselling Japanese desserts.