Tag Archives: Bahrain City Center

{Lifestyle Post} HOSS Intropia Brand Launch with preview of ’14 Autumn / Winter collections

13 Jun

Fashion is always exciting. Though am not an ardent follower of trends that come and go every season, I do try to educate myself every now and then. My fashion philosophy is very simple. Keep it elegant and keep it stylish because personal style never goes out of vogue. Also, I believe, fashion should be pocket sensitive as well. I do not believe in blowing up my month’s pay on a dress or a bag. That is just not me. However much I enjoy shopping, I do very select buying which includes pieces that I can mix and match and use more optimally. I automatically veer towards high street brands which are stylish and pocket friendly.

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So when I was invited by The Portsmouth Group, Bahrain to attend the HOSS Intropia Brand Launch with a preview of 2014 Autumn/ Winter collections, I jumped at the chance for several reasons.

– It was to my first fashion showcase ever

– HOSS is a brand was new to me and I wanted to know what they had to offer

– Price point ( conveniently placed between the high-end designer brands and the high street brands, it sounded promising)

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On a sunny Wednesday morning, I headed to the Kempinksi Grand & Ixir Hotel where the brand’s presentation was being delivered by Ms. Christine Zanon, the Brand Manager. Soon after the models began their walk on the ramp showcasing the Autumn – Winter collection.

A bit more about the collection –

Collection had four different themes for the season:

1Blue Passion or the elegant flower that bears this name. The colours and shading of this flower have inspired the clothes, ranging from ink, navy, blackberry, bougainvillea and poppy to ivory and black. Gorgeous with androgynous prints were the highlight of this collection.

2. Kokoro  – This Japanese word, which means heart, soul, mind and feelings and is also the name of one of the most important novels in Japanese literature, written by Natsume Soeki, Kokoro, Sensei’s Testament, reflects “the heart of Hoss Intropia” ( in their own words).  Delicate and feminine fabrics and cuts with vibrant colours such as reds turquoise and yellow portrayed a cheery picture among the otherwise black, greys and whites collection for the season.

3. North Sea.  Greys, navy blue and bottle green depicting the cold and grey winter days and nights dominated this theme. Clean cuts and neat lines created a picture of understated elegance.

4. Midnight Shadows ; My personal favourite, this collection was replete with modern and savvy silhouettes. Meant to be worn on special occasions it was a sight to be savoured. Velvet and luxurious without being overly dramatic it still lingers in my memory. 

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What I personally loved about the collection was that it was simple, sophisticated yet affordable. Ranging from BHD 80 to BHD 160 +, HOSS Intropia was definitely my kind of brand. With fabrics, styles and cuts meant for every occasion, I look forward to their opening sometime towards the end of June at the Bahrain City Center Mall which will house the Spring,  Summer and pre – Autumn collection. HOSS Intropia has matching trendy accessories and purses in their collection which were just as interesting.

Thank you Rawia and Kimberly of the Portsmouth Group for having me. It was truly a unique experience!

( Note: It is a sponsored post but all the opinions expressed are solely mine. The pictures are with my iPhone 5 S and a very shaky hand)

{Restaurant Review} Vapiano – fresh and delicious

31 May

What do they say about never saying never?

Insalata di arance e noci

Insalata di arance e noci

Well, I experienced it myself very recently. Vapiano in Bahrain City Center always looked promising but the previous two dining experiences at Vapiano were sub-par and less than delightful that I was quite sure I wouldn’t want to try them again. But with a little coaxing from Obai & Hill’s Zainab, I thought about giving Vapiano’s summer, fresh menu a try with a disclaimer that if I didn’t like it (again), I would refrain from doing a review on my blog.

On the scheduled day, my family and I stepped into Vapiano to sample their new menu. We were ushered in by a very friendly server who then educated us about all the new dishes and desserts. On her recommendations we settled for 1 starter, 2 main courses, 1 salad and a dessert. All this was to be accompanied by freshly squeezed orange.  For the starters we ordered the Caprese  that had cherry tomatoes with buffalo mozzerella on the bed of basil and rocket leaves. The cherry tomatoes were sweet and juicy and the rocket peppery as its supposed to be – all fresh and crunchy.

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Caprese

This was just the right antipasti to whet our appetite for the remaining courses to come. The hubby had ordered Estiva – a tender chicken breast pasta drenched in semi- dried tomato sauce, with a mild kick of ginger, mint and rocket . We specially asked our server to request the chef to cook the pasta a bit more than the “Vapiano” al dente. As per our request, the pasta was just perfectly done with succulent chicken pieces and  flavoursome tomato sauce and herbs.

Estiva with conchiglie

Estiva with conchiglie

My daughter who is notorious for shunning restaurant food was content with her bread and butter. She particularly enjoyed the fresh orange juice with her simple grub. As for me, I had ordered a barbecued chicken pizza which was sumptuous to say the least. It was quite a large portion unexpectedly and so we had the rest of it in a take away bag.

barbecued chicken pizza

barbecued chicken pizza

All the wonderful food was balanced by a very citrus-y , sunshine salad adorned by pistachio called the insalata di arance e noci. To my mind, it feels like summer on my plate with juicy orange fillets, pistachios, lamb’s lettuce and chicory. The flavours were heightened by a very light walnut and orange dressing. This was the highlight of my meal at Vapiano and it would be something that I would keep going back to Vapiano for many times over.

Insalata di Arance e noci

Insalata di Arance e noci

The close of the meal was marked by the unavoidable chocolate dessert called the Cioccolata e espresso which is Vapiano’s own homestyle chocolate espresso mousse, cantuccini (literally translates as coffee bread or popularly known as biscotti)  refined with grape juice and sweet amarena cherries.

Cioccolata e espresso

Cioccolata e espresso

Feeling happily sedated after such a wholesome meal, we thanked our hostess for the day and returned home with the lingering memories of the summer food at Vapiano. Thank you Vapiano for a wonderful experience that was so fresh and delicious that I don’t think I can have enough of it this summer!!.

 *This is a sponsored post but the opinions expressed all solely mine.

Restaurant Review Project 22 – Vapiano

15 Jun

It was just the last weekend, when we were out and about in the city, we decided to hop into a new, snazzy looking restaurant in town called, Vapiano- quintessentially Italian, with its busy-ness, the cheer, colour, the drama and aroma of sizzling olive oil and basil in the air. There was no way, one wouldn’t stop and take a look at what’s the noise all about. The ambiance was the deal -sealer in our case.

chefs at work

Located at the City Center Mall, the inviting, homely decor is likely to attract many food lovers like us. To see that the modus operandi of this Italian  restaurant was unlike most others that we had been too, intrigued us further. The first thing that came to our notice was the head board which was  a chalk board with a sketch of Sophia Loren and one of her famous quotes that went,

Everything you see, I owe to Spaghetti

(I almost laughed out loud when I read that. She can’t be serious!!)

Right below the chalk board, we spotted a line of busy chefs in bright red aprons working their chef knives and skillets and dishing out delicious looking pasta.  We were completely enamored. On entering we were handed over a charge card each which we were to use when we ordered our meal. The place was jam packed which served as an indicator that the people of Bahrain were starved for a new place to try. We found a seat with great difficulty and sort of shared it with another family.

We then went over to the chefs to order our meal. The menu wasn’t exhaustive but still had enough options to hold anybody’s interest to try out something they hadn’t before. I was thrilled to bits to know that they had wholemeal pasta as an option.

The pasta rack

I ordered for a  whole meal spaghetti with pesto (basil pesto, olive oil and pine nuts)  and Insalata  Mista ( small) which was  a bowl of mixed lettuce cherry tomatoes and carrots, and small bottle of coco cola.

Whole meal spaghetti in pesto sauce

We were allowed to stand on the other side of the counter and had the previlege to see the chef prepare my dish. The ingredients looked fresh and everything seemed oh-so-posh. But the moment I had a forkful of pasta, I realized the pasta was totally under cooked to the point of being raw. It just tasted terrible and I am not exaggerating. Personally, I pride myself for developing tastes for any kind of food, however unpalatable, quite quickly. But this pasta was something else. Under cooked and the flavours all over the place; this was probably the worst pasta dish I had ever had. I didn’t go beyond a few forkful and left it untouched.

For the bowl of fresh salad was such a life -saver. The ingredients were fresh and having opted for a safer choice for salad dressing ( ceaser), I didn’t have to leave the restaurant completely starving.

The husband ordered a penne in pesto with some bruschetta ( toasted bread, tomatoes, garlic & olive oil) and a bottle of coco cola.

Penne in pesto

Unfazed by my pasta disaster, my hubby was quite optimistic about his. In all his excitement he sprinkled plenty of pepper and added flavored olive oil, and had a mouthful of pasta. His was as under cooked!! We were stumped! Was this the new way of cooking pasta?? I hope not, cause it tastes horrible. If this is what authentic Italian is all about then it is definitely not for us.

And our friend ordered, Fusilli in Pomodoro e Spinaci (Pasta in  Tomato sauce & Spinach) with a bottle of coco cola

Fusilli in tomato sauce & spinach

Bruschetta

The food looked so good, but tasted just the opposite.

Even my friend’s dish was equally ‘meh’.

But the bruschetta was a quite good.

We didn’t dare order for dessert and quickly paid our bill which came to around 17.8 BHD which was too much for a crappy meal like that.

Once again, I was reminded, that all that glitters is not always gold!

This would be my first and the last visit to Vapiano!

For the verdict:

Food = 1/5

Ambiance – 3/5

Service – 3/5

I would skip giving Vapiano an overall rating because it was such a horrible experience and hence I see no point in doing so.

Restaurant Review Project 16- Memories

15 Mar

This one’s a special review because it was birthday celebration dinner. Our dear friend, Namit who had had his birthday on the 9th of March, asked us out for dinner on the 10th of March, at Memories. This beautiful restaurant is located at the Bahrain City Center. Original plan was to go to Memories of China but somehow it all got mixed up and we ended up at Memories where they serve all kinds of South East Asian Cuisine.

The situation in Bahrain is still extremely tensed and you can feel the stress in the air. The restaurant was uncharacteristically desolate with just a few families dining at disparate corners. When you see such a sight, it makes you queasy. Heart is tormented by guilt and brazenness – half and half. Guilt because, we are having a good time while things aren’t their best in the city and brazenness because we chose to come out  when majority people chose to stay indoors. Shaking that feeling off, we took our places at this stylish restaurant. No sooner, we picked the menu card, did we realize our mix up. This wasn’t the intended restaurant but we decided to order anyways.

For starters, we ordered

Edamame

– which are immature soyabeans boiled in their pods and salted. This was the first time I dug into the succelent beans and enjoyed it.

Vegetable Tempura

– The tempura wasn’t as light and crispy as I would have liked. The vegetable pieces weren’t thinly sliced and that made all the difference.

For the maincourse we ordered

Sweet and Sour Chicken and Rice

– It is customary to order sweet and sour chicken/vegetables at a south east asian restaurant. It is a safe choice, if you ask me. There is very little that can go wrong. This was an average version of Sweet and Sour with chicken. Not good. Not bad. As for the rice, we had ordered for steam rice but it turned out more towards the sticky side. I am not a big fan of sticky rice and steered clear for the evening.

Singaporean Prawns

– Loved the prawns which were cooked to perfection. The gravy had a some yogurt or bean curd- I am not sure about this. But it tasted lovely.

Bakmi Goreng

– These Indonesian egg noddles were splendid. They are fried noodles with a generous helping of vegetables such as carrots, cabbage and shrimp, chicken and egg. I love this version of wheat noodles which were so refreshingly different from the regular hakka.

Braised Tofu for the Vegetarian Birthday Boy

-This was Tofu braised with vegetables and what looked like soy sauce. It was horridly bland and nothing ( neither salt nor pepper) could salvage this case. Quite an unfortunate choice by the birthday boy.

So Memories leaves me with no memories of anything spectacular. I find this a common problem with restaurants that seem to offer myriad of cuisines in one platter. They just do not do justice and seem like trying too hard. This I have to admit, that Memories did not have the run-of-the-mill menu. They had tried to incorporate varied flavours but weren’t able to come out with flying colours in all of them. I feel bad for Namit- Birthday Boy as he seemed to go hungry that night. We did not feel like trying any desserts so we just asked for the check.

A meal for 3 cost us 21.780 BD to be precise. Just about average for the average food.
But as custom dictates, I shall announce that Memories ( Bahrain City Center) has been SLICED!!
The verdict goes like this

Food- 3/5
Ambience 4/5
Service – 3/5
Overall – 3/5

It remains to be seen, whether I would be able to go and review another restaurant in Bahrain. Stepping out has become a problem with the sectarian clash here in Bahrain. I hope I am able to otherwise it would make me very sad. So fingers crossed.

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