Tag Archives: Block 338

{Restaurant Review} Go to The Meat Co. for a hearty meal and a great time

8 Aug

How many times in life we miss out on great opportunities only because we hold preconceived notions about them. They slip by because we are hesitant and limit our imagination and thus our experiences in life. I had a similar experience very recently when I went to The Meat Company when I was graciously asked to review them. I was quite hesitant considering The Meat Co. held a reputation of being a steak house and I do not eat steak. Going to a steak house and then eating vegetarian fare would never be a fair deal. But The Meat Co. ‘s PR persuaded me to try their non-steak menu and promised that it would be just as delightful, if not more.  Armed with my camera and a non-steak eating husband, I tottered off to The Meat Co. on a sultry evening during Ramadan.

Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by the gracious hostess who showed us our table.  We are asked promptly about the beverage of choice and we opted for water at room temperature. I made an additional request for hot water because I wasn’t keeping well. The request was dealt with spontaneity which impressed me as a pot of boiling water was kept on my table. We were introduced to the server, Alex who was more than pleased to help us figure out the menu and how we could get the best out of it despite belonging to the category of the non-steak eating lot.

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While we spent time perusing and contemplating the options on the menu, we were served a crusty wholemeal bread with balsamic and olive oil to dip into. Just perfect start to what was to be a fine dining experience. In the beginning, we were seated on the ground floor where the lighting wasn’t the best for food photos. We were escorted to the first floor which was less crowded and that helped my cause. It meant having the freedom to take pictures from all odd angles which would have otherwise drawn a lot of eye balls. Such is a life of a food aficionado! Sigh!

Well, I digress. The moot point is, we were treated exclusively with Alex giving us all the information we needed about the cuisine and what to expect from dishes we hadn’t tasted before. He told us about the South African food that is The Meat Co.’s origins and how it is different from other kinds of cuisines.

 

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Alex & Amit

For the starters we ordered the Wild Mushroom and Spinach Vol-au-vent which was sauteed wild mushroom in a creamy spinach sauce, stuffed into a flaky pastry and topped with cheese which I suspect was Parmesan and Mozzarella.  The pastry was crunchy and flaky while the stuffing was a creamy deliciousness of a match that was made in heaven.

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Wild Mushroom and Spinach Vol -au-vent

We also ordered for a warm goat cheese salad as a starter which was slightly sweet and tangy which could be credited to the mild honey balsamic dressing on the salad. Oh somehow I forgot about this third starter – Scallops on the bed of risotto! How could I,  considering this was my first time trying scallops. And tell you what; I loved it!!  The risotto was comfort food at its best with a mild cheese flavour and a kick from the pepper balancing the subtle flavours of the pan- fried scallops. Somehow, both the salads, scallops were so filling plus the bread was so hearty that we felt, we could have easily skipped the main course. But we had already ordered for it and were feeling completely intimidated by the portions! ( What were we thinking!)

 

A warm goat cheese salad

A warm goat cheese salad

 

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Scallops on a bed of risotto

The the main courses arrived, we realized that The Meat Co. definitely doesn’t believe in less is more! The portions were LARGE and HEARTY and so TASTY. It was a pity that we over -ordered ( is there such a term??) our starters and didn’t take the steakhouse definition too seriously.

For the main course we ordered the grilled fish ( hammour) with steamed vegetables for me and a ‘well-done’ chicken burger for my husband with fries and onion rings. It was an absolute pity that we were up until our mouths with all the wonderful food, that the main course went largely unappreciated. I made it a point to doggy bag my left over fish because leaving it felt like a criminal waste. The left overs served me well the next day for lunch where I marveled at the succulent texture of the fish.

Grilled Hammour with vegetables

Grilled Hammour with vegetables

Chicken burger

Chicken burger

Alex entertained and encouraged us to eat more and heartily but I told him that if I had a morsel more, I might just die there. To which he said, ” Not yet!”  You have to try our chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream and creme anglaise for dessert. My heart just stopped at the words, chocolate and fondant. I had to have atleast a spoonful, even it meant falling into a food -induced coma for life.

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Was the chocolate fondant dessert everything that I hoped it would be? Perhaps, no. The dessert was the only downer among all that we ordered. But that is alright since I was too stuffed to even enjoy anything beyond a spoonful. All in all, it was such a pleasant evening spent at The Meat Co. with its pleasant staff, who made sure we were attended exclusively. The food was the star of the night and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that The Meat Co. ‘s food has been one of the best meals I have had in a long time.

Having a meal there, changed my perception about the place. The Meat Co. has a lot more wonderful food to offer than just steaks for which is widely popular. An engaging and customer friendly staff is an asset to any restaurant. The Meat Co.’s staff had been very hospitable and they knew their food. This really impressed me. I am definitely going back there with my friends some time soon because a lot of my friend’s, like me, have avoided going there for the same reason. I need to show them that there is so much more to The Meat Co. than simply steaks.

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

Restaurant Review Project 17- Coco’s

18 May

I came back to Bahrain on the 12th of May and there was something so reassuring about being back to the familiar setting. I was all the more excited about taking it from where I had left off. My Restaurant Review Project seemed like a scrapped project when I went back to India, amidst all the crisis.

As I stood against the backdrop of the Financial Harbour in Manama city and the setting sun, my heart experience mixed emotions. Life seemed to limping back to normalcy but the sight of tanks /APCs undid the small confidence. Below is the picture of Financial Harbour in Manama.

Soon plans were made and we found ourselves ( my hubby and my friend, Namit) at ZoE in block 338. I always wanted to check out Zoe before but never got around doing it. A quick survey of the menu and it was unexciting like a mall without sale signs. We still ordered for some drinks but the wine was too meh! I was hopelessly disappointed with the whole set up. The seats weren’t comfortable and the food unappealing. We were forced to search for something else in the same block where the food didn’t seem so stodgy. After a little flurrying around we landed at COCOs. So a review that was going to be about ZOE is now about Coco’s.

Coco’s is in block 338 and is a clear case of a beautiful vintage Villa being turned into a restaurant that even had garden seating for customers. It was tad too humid and warm to sit outside but the indoors were packed. The statement fountain intrigued me and found myself looking at it every now and then.

We were given the impression that a wine list would be given to us but after a few minutes of waiting it was made clear that no alcohol was sold at Cocos. Having made to sit outside and with no wine to chill, it wasn’t the best start. Meanwhile the menu cards arrived and the list seemed pretty exhaustive.

The brunch and breakfast list seemed very interesting. A huge selection of eggs and I am sure, you’d find the the one’s the way you like them on the list. It was a mix of all kinds of cuisine. It had Italian, some middle eastern, some french and Asian dishes thrown it. But what struck me was the prices and I found it pretty affordable. At 3 or 4 BD per dish( average), this place can make for a regular haunt, I decided.
But I was made to bite my tongue sooner than I would have liked.

I had ordered Grilled Hammour with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies, all covered in tomato sauce. It arrived piping hot and was a decent fare. The hammour was well done and mashed potatoes were their buttery best. I was happy with my dish until the point I actually got bored of eating it. All the buttered mash potatoes and the grilled to perfection Hammour seemed bland and boring after some time. Wonder why!

Amit, ordered some grilled chicken sandwich (a safe choice) with some refreshing watermelon juice. He felt that the chicken was too tough to chew on and extremely dry. It was a four part sandwich and he couldn’t get past two.

Namit had ordered Penne Ariabiata which seemed appetising from afar that I almost wished I had ordered it instead of my unexciting hammour. But soon similar complaints of a bland fare were exchanged from his end too.

So all in all, Coco’s did not manage to impress us lot. Considering the brimming crowd we felt like pariahs and the only ones who thought it wasn’t really that great.
It cost us 10 BD which was the only thumbs up in the whole deal and we made a hasty retreat.
So Coco’s has been SLICED and wasn’t the best place to start with!!

The rating goes like this:
Food- 2.5/5
Service 3/5
Ambience 3/5
Overall 3/5

I still have hope for Cocos and might dare visit them again for brunch or breakfast. Don’t know whether I would have company though:-)

Restaurant Review Project 12- Thailand & A Poll

16 Feb

Yay!

I am half way already into my 24  restaurants for Restaurant Review Project.

And Phew!

A whole lot of food consumed, savoured, talked  and written about on my blog. I remember every one of the trysts very distinctively. It may not be the food alone. The company of friends and family was what made it all so beautiful and memorable. Thank you , Amit, Namit and lovely daughter Mimi. There have been days, when none of us were really in the mood to eat out, yet they accompanied me because they knew this was important to me. *wipes a tear rolling down*

Now for the review:

It had been a while that we hadn’t visited any South East Asian restaurant. Thai food was one of my favourites but this was before I tried Japanese. I was enchanted. But for old times sake and to revive some lovely memories of having visited Thailand for our honeymoon, we decided to sample some Thai food at “Thailand”  at block 338, Adliya.

Same night, there was a market place being set up too. A market place selling, store-bought items at even higher a price. Well there we some boutique patissiere selling stunning macaroons and some lovely photographs. If I had a home of my own here, I would have most definitely bought one.

So Thailand – the restaurant, has an impressive exterior.

When we stepped in, we were greeted by a life-size wooden statue of a Thai lady and I almost exclaimed ” Hi there!”. Inside the whole placed was completely bamboo-ed and gave the feel of being rustic. The chairs and tables were all cane and not really comfortable. They had separate seating area for non-smokers. I like that. The initial impression was that of a lazy, relaxed place which might serve good food. There was a lavish bar right in front of us and a glass case full of artefacts from Thailand and a full length ( breadthwise) frame of all the possible Monarchs in the world sitting in single row. That photo made quite an impression on my mind. A few steps away from the entrance they had a small fountain with a few beautiful but scared fish. Too many things in a small place but t ‘was nice as it gave me the feeling of being inside one of the restaurants in Goa.

Sweet looking waitress quickly gave us the food and beverage menu. At the first glance, it seemed pretty balanced. A whole section dedicated to vegetarian food and the selection looked pretty good.
Amit ordered his beer and the rest of us settled for the humble still water. Food was quickly ordered – starter & main course.

Starters came in first – Som Tam ( Papaya salad) and fries ( Customary. For my daughter)

Som Tam

Meanwhile we got around entertaining my daughter who was getting increasingly restless. That’s when we started looking at our watch every now and then. The relaxed dinner was soon turning into when-will-they-bring-the-d**n-thing-so-that-we-can-stuff-and-go. Finally after waiting for good 30 minutes or more, food did arrive and it looked good.

I had ordered some stir fried chicken in basil and chilli while Amit had a stir fried chicken in Cashew with steamed rice.

Stir fry chicken with basil and chilli

Stir fry chicken with chashew

Both of these were good, the chicken was tender and full of flavour but they had upped the heat a few notches than what we would have liked. Amit was in a miserable state after a few spoonfuls. But I enjoyed the fiery plate and helped myself from Amit’s as well. It had been days, that I have had the opportunity to really test my taste buds to this extent. But that apart, I felt, for others’ sake, they could have done with a little less chilly. Amit’s was supposed to be sweet and savory since it called for cashew to flavour the gravy. But it wasn’t so, for that alone, I felt, maybe they didn’t get it right, inspite of the time they took to serve us.

Namit had ordered Thai Fat Noodles with lots of sprouts and vegetables. He seemed to enjoy it as he finished off the whole thing.

Thai Fat Noodles

After we finished our grub, I felt a strong craving to have something sweet. So we perused through the menu for something delectable, delicious and sinful. None of these adjectives were done justice by the very dowdy looking desserts in the menu. So we took off after paying the bill. A meal for 3 + fries for my baby + 1 beer came to about 11 BD.

When I headed out, I found a stall (at the marketplace) selling macaroons, just wrapping up for the day. I rushed to them with the request of a single macaroon and the kind lady at the stall obliged by giving me one ( rose flavoured & yum) free of cost. Who says there are no free meals?? I just had my very first macaroon ever, free and it was wonderful. Free meals taste better, anyday.

So now for the verdict:
It was a forgettable meal except my tongue was still tingling with the raw taste of chilli. I enjoyed it till the moment I was having it. It did not stay and while I am penning this down, I had to try hard to recapture what I felt when we sat there at Thailand.
Definitely, did not bring back the lovely honeymoon memories from Thailand and I am sure, my husband would agree too.

Food – 3/5
Ambience – 3/5
Service 2.5/5
Overall 3/5

Now for the news! While we were waiting for our food to be served, my husband & my friend Namit came up with this idea, that I should start branding my visits to these places. I was perplexed as to what they were talking about. How can I brand my visit? Does it mean I have to print my visiting cards saying ” Anita Menon- Blogger+ Restaurant Reviewer who doesn’t eat anything apart from chicken and fish? Apparently that is not what they had in mind. They wanted me to just refer to it in my blog. Example : “Thailand has been SLICED” – Meaning – We have visited Thailand and the review has been done. That sort of thing sounded fun. But I need other opinions about whether I should go about remarking “So-and-so restaurant has been SLICED!!!”. It wouldn’t mean a thing to anybody, but for fun sake should I go ahead or would it look too ‘wannabe’.

Thanks a lot for participating!!!

 

Restaurant Review Project 8- Casa Mexicana

20 Jan

I think my Restaurant Reviews are jinxed. Last week I was supposed to do “Monsoon” – South East Asian Cuisine (Bahrain) and imagine,  I did not get a reservation there! This was despite the fact that I had called in early for reservations. Well, I understand it’s the hot spot in town and on a Friday night I should have known better. Alas! they were all booked and all they could offer us was some seat at their sushi bar. Naah! I am not going to take that.

On the spot, we chucked Monsoon and drove ourselves to Casa Mexicana. You have little expectations when you change plans like that, at the spur of the moment. You kind of go along with the flow and that flow is immediately disrupted when you realize you have forgotten the camera at home. Duhhhh.

Which self-respecting restaurant reviewer would do that? Well, I did and had to manage with mobile phone photography.

Namit: Thank you very much for saving my day.

So now that we were up and about at Casa Mexican, Continue reading

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