NEWPORT is set to be home to what is calling itself the city’s “first Yemeni restaurant.”

Located at 60 Commercial Street in the city centre, Balqis Restaurant promises to deliver a range of meals from Middle Eastern country Yemen.

At this time, no opening date has been given for the venture, though a banner hanging from the shop front promises that it is “opening soon”.

Currently, the metal roller shutters have been wound down on the ground floor restaurant.

As such, it is something of a mystery as to what work has been carried out internally to get the premises up and running.

One thing is known – the restaurant has registered with the local authority, and is currently awaiting a food hygiene inspection.

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While it is not known how long the unit has been empty for, it has seen a number of different tenants over the years.

Most recently, it was home to Nipa Hut, a Filipino and Chinese restaurant – though it is not known when this closed.

Prior to that, the site hosted Coffee & Crumbs, a local coffee shop.

This had vacated the unit by June 2019.

Earlier still, New Moon Chinese Restaurant was situated here, but this was replaced by the coffee shop at some point between 2014 and 2015.

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What can customers expect?

With no obvious website or social media presence, Balqis Restaurant is something of a mystery at this time.

But, the signage on the shop front offers a little clue, in the form of what appears to be four menu items.

According to the frontage, the following items will be on offer:

  • Chicken Mandi
  • Meat Mandi
  • Mekhbaza Fish
  • Haneeth Meat

Mandi is a traditional Yemeni dish, which is a mix of meat and rice, which is originally cooked in an underground clay pit.

It is often served at feasts and special events.

Haneeth meat is fairly similar to Mandi, with the main difference being the cooking method.

In this instance, the meat is roasted, rather than pit cooked.

Once open, Balqis Restaurant will be found at 60 Commercial Street in Newport city centre.