YEREVAN (Armenpress)—Cuisine is perhaps one of the best ways of reflecting the hospitality and culture of any nation, and Armenia boasts some of the finest traditional cooking in the world.
Derian, a cozy Syrian-Armenian restaurant located in Downtown Yerevan, hosted two very special patrons on February 10. President Armen Sarkissian and King Abdullah II of Jordan dined at the restaurant on the first day of the King’s first-ever visit to Armenia.
In an interview with Armenpress’ Norayr Shoghikyan, Hakob Azelyan, the Syrian-Armenian owner of Derian, reflected on how it felt to host King Abdullah II, and revealed what was on the menu.
“We were informed that the President will be hosting a guest at our restaurant, but we didn’t know who that guest would be. It was kept a secret due to security reasons,” Azelyan said. Hakob and his wife Mirey run the restaurant as a family. On the day of King Abdullah II and President Sarkissian’s visit, the entire Azelyan family took part in the special occasion.
“We were quite anxious in the beginning, but King Abdullah II was warm and welcoming. President Sarkissian introduced us to King Abdullah II, explaining that our family migrated from Syria. After shaking hands with the king, our anxiousness subsided. He created a warm atmosphere,” remarked Mirey.
When asked about the menu, Hakob noted that there was nothing extraordinary served. The dinner comprised of Armenian and Arabic cuisine.
“We served our entire menu. There was nothing unusual. The menu consisted of veal and chicken barbeque, ghaurma, ishli kofte, manti, Armenian cheeses, strained matzoon, olives, tabbouleh, dolma, hummus, and mutabal. We served caramel cake, a fruit assortment, and Arabic kanafeh for dessert,” he said.
Mirey Hamalyan said King Abdullah II thoroughly enjoyed the food and thanked the staff for their hospitality.
The owners of Derian were pleased with their high-profile guests, which also included celebrities Elton John and Michael Caine, as well as government officials.