Financier-turned-Restaurateur Hassan Al Mannai brings Arabic cuisine to the center stage

Sushi is undoubtedly among the most popular dishes in the world. From its Japanese origins, it has been adopted by different cultures and cuisines, each adding their own take to it. In such a scenario, it was only a matter of time before the world got introduced to Arabic sushi. And so far, it has proven to be a big hit. Let’s meet the man behind this innovative idea - the financier-turned-restaurateur Hassan Al Mannai.

Born and raised in Qatar, Al Mannai obtained his Bachelor’s in Business Management and later built on it with an MBA from the University of Hull. With primary interests in finance and banking, he worked with a couple of leading banks in Qatar like the Qatar National Bank and Masraf Al Rayan for more than six years. There, he served as the Relationship Manager in the Contracting Division, providing financial analysis solutions and working on clients’ portfolios.

It was after his successful stints at these organizations that he decided to pursue another passion of his wholeheartedly - Arabian horses. Hassan thoroughly enjoyed horse riding as a kid - a hobby he developed further, well into adulthood. In 2014, he founded and built the Al Reeh Stud, specializing in Arabian horse breeding. He accentuated his knowledge further by representing Qatar as a national judge in domestic and international competitions.

A few years later, on the back of his impeccable work ethics and experience, he was appointed as the Director of Show at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club. With all of his efforts now directed towards Arabian horses, he soon found himself scaling new heights. In 2018, Hassan Al Mannai became the Executive Committee Member of the European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations.

However, that wasn’t all. Al Mannai has already lived quite a life, dealing with finance, high-profile clients, massive portfolios and Arabian horses. Driven by a passion to explore his interests further, he took a dive into the food industry. That’s where Cactus Senshi was born – a one of its kind restaurant in Doha. Its specialty - sushi rolls inspired by Arabian cuisine.

Al Mannai recalls people saying that he was crazy to come up with such an idea. Furthermore, he faced a lot of difficulties at the beginning to get his restaurant off the ground. However, after a lot of toil and experimenting with different flavors, his efforts finally paid off. The exemplary fusion of Arabic and Japanese cuisine has proven to be a big hit among the locals.

Hassan is interested in taking this aspect of Arabic cuisine to the world and has expressed significant interest in franchising. However, he mentioned that he is more likely to partner with those parties who have actually tasted his food. Considering that Al Mannai has so far excelled in everything he has done, it is only a matter of time before we see Arabic sushi at a restaurant near us.