Merwen may have started cooking in order to keep his father’s legacy alive, however the reason he remains in this business today is more closely related to passion . The “Nawfaliyeh” restaurant is where it all started. Helping around the restaurant might have started as a chore, but today he still carries this responsibility close to his heart. He says “My house is nothing but the place I put my head to rest, but Nawafaliyeh is my home, where I spend all my days, and in extreme cases, my nights! It’s really what makes me happy”.
When talking about his love for food, and his restaurant, Merwen can’t help but light up; “I’ve always loved food and cooking -mostly Lebanese food – but after taking over the restaurant I only became more fond of oriental food…. the spices, the aroma, and the diversity”. His primary aim was to draw people with good taste and irresistible smell, but he soon believed that food should not limit itself to being aesthetic, olfactory and culinary, but it should be healthy and beneficial as well. This ideology only helped Merwen understand more the essence and purpose of food. Merwens kebbeh w lahmeh bel khal is a perfect example of his innovation, by reducing fats from the traditional kebbeh.