Tag Archives: restaurant review project

{Restaurant Review} Jim’s Restaurant, Adliya – Good old Jim’s is back!

22 Aug

Three years ago, I completed a project. No, it wasn’t of any national interest but it was important for me as a food blogger and a restaurant reviewer.It was called the Restaurant Review project  on the blog, where I had taken up the task of reviewing 24 restaurants in Bahrain in  6 months time in 2010. Many obstacles came my way, but I did finally finish it, not it 6 months but it took me 12-14 months to finish. Today, I have nearly 29 restaurants reviewed on my blog and you can check them out here. The very first restaurant I reviewed was Jim’s Restaurant in Adliya.  It was a great evening with friends and family and I went home from Jim’s Restaurant feeling wonderful from all the good food.  In between now and the first time at Jim’s Restaurant, I did pay it a visit a couple of times, but was disappointed by the food and the service. It was then I got to know Jim’s has changed hands twice and the new team wasn’t able to create the ‘ Old Jim’s magic’. I decided to avoid Jim’s until now, when I was invited to review them two weeks back. I was reluctant but then the new management at Jim’s were really persuasive.  The new management of Jim’s Restaurant informed that their old Chef Firdaus is back and with him the restaurant is back to being the ‘good old Jim’s’ 

DSC_0501

Jim’s Restaurant in Adliya was always known to be a fun place for a great night with friend’s on a weekend. With food that draws inspiration from Anglo- Irish to Indo- Persian cuisine, Jim’s Restaurant has always promised it’s diners a sumptuous meal in a fine yet casual set up.

I was quite intrigued to see if I would witness the old charm of Jim’s Restaurant after 3 years.

Upon entering the restaurant on a Thursday late evening, after a hard day’s work, I only had one thing on my mind – relaxation. I wanted go to a place where I could put my feet up and feel the casual vibe around me. It seemed that my wish might just come true when we were welcomed inside the  restaurant by the restaurant’s staff  with broad smiles. We ordered our drinks as it was extremely hot and humid that evening. The chilled and refreshing drinks provided the much needed succor. It was a matter of time that I felt very relaxed and was genuinely looking forward to my dinner at Jim’s. We ordered some starters which I realized were the same that I had ordered three years ago. It is funny how our memory points us to migrate to everything that is familiar and comfortable. My taste bud memories immediately got to work and I recalled the contrasting tastes of the salty brie against the tangy sweetness of the blueberry coulis. The Deep fried brie wedges in blueberry coulis was everything that my taste buds remembered and loved. I was nearly convinced that I could forget the past and imagine that good old Jim’s was really back. Now I was very excited to see how the other courses turned out.

Deep fried brie wedges with blueberry coulees

Deep fried brie wedges with blueberry coulees

To accompany the starter, we also ordered for an appetizing oriental chicken salad.  The salad was refreshing because it was made from all the seasonal and local produce such a locally sourced chicken, cucumbers, beetroot, crispy lettuce, onions and coriander leaves. The satay style marinated chicken was delicious while the tangy peanut dressing made it very addictive. I had many helpings of this salad which I found genuinely filling and would recommend it just as highly as I would the deep fried brie wedges with coulis.

Oriental chicken salad

Oriental chicken saladR

The main course seemed unnecessary but my gluttonous nature got better of me. We ordered for a spinach, brie, mushroom stuffed chicken and a vegetable quiche – again both main courses were the same from our first time at Jim’s Restaurant.  The hearty spinach, brie and mushroom stuffed chicken was accompanied by mashed potatoes,  garlic cream sauce and buttered vegetables while the vegetable quiche had a salad side to it – every bit scrumptious and hearty.

J2

Spinach, brie and mushroom stuffed chicken

J4

Vegetable Quiche

By the time, we finished our main courses, we were in food heaven. The portions were fantastic and it really felt like we were back at the old Jim’s Restaurant. Jim’s is lucky to have chef Firdaus back and it was his magic that was helping his patrons relive old Jim’s Restaurant memories. All in all, I sensed that this is a chef who knows exactly what he’s reaching for, a chef whose ultimate goal is simply to make his patrons and new customers happy.  And this is just the beginning and Jim’s Restaurant has some hard work to put in before they can have all their old customers back. I have no doubt in my mind, that Jim’s will be very successful like it used to be once. I missed eating the dessert because I was too full from all the tasty food. The next time, I go to Jim’s Restaurant, I will start with dessert first.

If this review has made you hungry, you can check out Jim’s menu here

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

Restaurant Review Project 24 – Noodle House

2 Feb

How does it feel when you finish a project? Especially the one which has been dragging for a long time. I feel a great sense of satisfaction that finally a long-dragging project has been brought to an end in a delicious manner. I am talking about my Restaurant Review Project that I started in November 2010 and the one in which I promised that I would complete reviews of 24 restaurants in 6 months! Talk about setting oneself up for failure! It is not that I didn’t eat out 24 times in those six months. As a matter of fact I must have eaten out more number of times than I can even count and also went to new restaurants. But somehow I never sat down at my plate thinking I want to review this one. Reviewing a place requires a different state of mind. It requires me to prepare beforehand with all the reviewing paraphernalia such as my camera and my little red note book in which I take many mental notes. Reviewing an eating joint or a restaurant requires planning such as how am I going to savour and enjoy my meal whilst keeping an eye on my hyperactive toddler. So you see it hasn’t been an easy ride and many times I have set out trying to review a restaurant and miserably failed to do so because either my toddler isn’t in the mood or the glaring eyes of the head server or the restaurant manager  make me queasy while I try to take the best shot of the food that I have ordered. Not all restaurants lend themselves to be ideal for reviewing. So I missed many good opportunities to review some very interesting restaurants that I have had a chance to visit. Keeping this in mind, I have decided to not stop reviewing and continue this exciting saga of tasting, experiencing and appreciating exhilarating bouquet of world cuisine that Bahrain has to offer.

For my 24th Restaurant, I have Noodle House to review. Noodle House is located in Seef Mall; one of my favourite malls in Bahrain and seems like the first of many Noodle House joints planned around Bahrain. The day Noodle House opened doors, I was very sure that this Pan Asian restaurant had to be reviewed. So finally, when the stars aligned favourably, we found ourselves at Noodle House on an unhurried weekend. We were greeted politely by the staff and were seated comfortably. For a weekend, the restaurant wasn’t crowded as we expected. The ambiance seemed none too extravagant yet modern and comfortable. We immediately felt at home. The head server introduced himself with a warm smile and guided us on how to order at Noodle House. A form was presented to us with a noodle -shaped pen and whatever we desired to order, we were to tick against the boxes in the menu. We went through the menu that seemed like any Pan Asian restaurant but I am not the one to judge instantly. I am back to being a vegetarian and it disappointing to see that there were very few vegetarian options on the menu.

NH1

I ordered for a 4 seasons mocktail which was essentially a refreshing blend of 4 fruit juices and strawberry puree. This rejuvenating start raised my hopes for the rest of the evening.

NH7

For starters we ordered vegetarian dimsums/vegetable Hacao which came very quickly to our delight. We attacked the piping hot dimsums with gusto only to find the pasty, sticky stuff constantly sticking to the roof of our mouths. Plus it was hot. So definitely quite annoying. So our hopes were dashed momentarily until our main courses arrived.

NH2

I had ordered for Wok fried Vegetables with Tofu and black bean and Brown Rice. From the very first morsel it was simply divine. I haven’t tasted better tasting wok fried veggies and tofu in the longest time. Every spoonful was a sheer delight. It was light, full of flavour and paired with brown rice, it was such a satisfying meal. Even as I type this post, I can clearly recall the taste.

NH5

My hubby had ordered a Crispy chicken in plum sauce which was fantastic too. My hubby who usually remains unimpressed and is known to leave his portions at restaurants, finished his chicken in no time.

NH4

Our friend Namit had ordered a Thai Green curry with vegetables served with jasmine rice. He too couldn’t have enough of his portion and literally wiped his plate clean. It was only after we finished every bit on our plates in record time did we realize that we were too full to even move.

NH6

In my greed, I had also ordered a salad called the Asian Chopped salad which largely remained untouched inspite of being fresh and so inviting.

NH3

Noodle House served us well and though the dimsums were disastrous, the rest of the course more than made up for it. The portions look deceptively small but are more than sufficient.

I could easily find myself stepping out on any Saturday evening and heading towards Noodle House to eat the very same thing I had ordered before. The taste stays with you and that is what makes Noodle House so special. That quality only certain restaurants have and hence remain  firm favourites with all their patrons.

Now for the verdict;

Food – 4.5/5

Service – 4/5

Ambiance 4/5

Overall – 4/5

The total bill amount came to BHD 24.200. In my opinion it is value for money spent on Noodle House food.

I am extremely thrilled to announce that Noodle House has been sliced and is officially the last of the restaurant reviews for the Restaurant Review Project (RRP). Noodle House gets a huge thumbs up from all of us and they can easily assume that they have made loyal customers out of us in just one dinner experience.

Restaurant Review Project 23 – Beyroute

20 Aug

 

We are nearing the end of our 5 day Eid holidays bonanza and my view has had a 360 degree flip. At the start of the holidays, I was feeling underwhelmed about not going for a mini-vacation outside this hot country. I gave many a hints to my hubby who adamantly refused to take any. Well, there’s a reason why he didn’t. It is because we are going on our annual leave towards the end of October. Disappointed, that all the people I know were making the most of this 5 day break by visiting the nearby countries, I didn’t feel there was much to look forward to. Anyone who has lived in Bahrain would know that entertainment options are very limited. Eating out and visiting friends (if any) are the only two options given the weather at this time of the year.

So for one of the dinners we went to one of the restaurants that we always meant to visit but never got around doing it. Beyroute – which is a Lebanese restaurant on Budaiya highway has been one such joint. Budaiya has been an area where some unrest has been reported time and again and for that reason we had missed visiting Beyroute. But being legendary ‘foodies’ we decided to brave all the unrest and finally ended up visiting Beyroute. Was it a food journey worth risking our lives for , if you would ask; perhaps not. But having said that it would be only fair to admit that some of the traditional dishes were exceptional.

olives, fava beans, hummous

Beyroute is beautiful to say the least. When you enter the vicinity, you would be struck by how beautifully it has been done. There is something deja-vu-ish about its interiors but not it in the cliched sort of way. It is has a calming effect on the mood which in my opinion is because of the right kind of lighting and colors. The walls are adorned by classic black and white photographs of old Beirut. The seating is wooden chairs and tables which were slightly uncomfortable after sometime. For any fine dining, in my view, requires comfortable seating because people who come to dine aren’t in to grab a meal on the go but to enjoy the full length of the meal, savoring the flavours, making conversations and essentially enjoying the whole dining experience. And comfortable seating is definitely one of the main factors that ensures that people remain seated rather than shift uncomfortably after 15 minutes of being seated. So that was definitely one glitch in the whole dining experience.

Now for the food.

Beyroute diners are given steamed/boiled fava beans  and brined olives on the house. This was my first time tasting fava beans and I loved them. Somewhere they reminded me of green peas but their texture and taste is milder and more filling.

For starters we ordered the customary hummous with bread which was devoured soon. The silken hummous was excellent being the finest I have tasted in recent times. Bread was fresh from the oven. We also ordered for watermelon juice which wasn’t fresh and was laden with sugar inspite of having told the server that sugar was a strict no-no. For the main course, we ordered our individual dishes.

The first being the Spinach Manakeesh  which was sumptuous and belly filling to say the least with the generous stuffing of spinach and cheese stuffed inside the flat bread.     For my vegetarian friend, Falafel is staple at all Arabic joints and Beyroute was no exception. We were served crispy and crunchy falafel with a not so charming dip and pickled, radish, turnips and carrots.

Lentil soup with crispy, fried bread, Crunchy falafel

Our hearts were warmed with a hearty lentil soup served with wedges of lime and crispy, chips-like deep fried pita bread on the side. Our appetites were more or less satiated after this and a batch of fresh fries with ketchup.

While ordering, we didn’t consider the portions and soon realized that we had over-ordered because we had Grilled hammour platter, Fattet Djei ( a chicken dish in a deep bowl) and Fried eggs in olive oil to finish.

Grilled hammour was delightful with the flesh grilled to perfection with soft and crumbly fish meat spiced just right served with a salad on the side and a lip smacking dip.

The Fattet Djei (chicken in a deep bowl) and spinach manakeesh (down)

The Fattet Djei was a let down or maybe our palette wasn’t used to such  bland Lebanese dish. It just felt like some warm yogurt with cooked chicken, crispy, deep fried pita bread and fava beans with absolutely zero seasoning. After a few spoonfuls it was left on the side, ignored and untouched.

The fried eggs were comfort food at its best and I had ordered that for my daughter who showed very little interest unfortunately. She was content munching on the steamed fava beans and sipping on the sugary watermelon juice.

hammour and fried eggs in olive oil (lebanese style)

It was a lot of food of which the fish and falafel had to be doggy bagged.  The total bill came to 20 BD for 3 people, which is moderate considering the amount of food we had ordered along with a watermelon juice and a large bottle of water.

The staff was polite and most considerate except in the case of the watermelon juice. For some reason, I felt reluctant about sending it back because somewhere I knew they would probably bring the same glass back ( just a hunch from extensive experience of eating out at numerous restaurants)

Happy to announce that Beyroute has been SLICED!!!

Our experience has been above average in all the departments concerning the ‘ Eating out” process at Beyroute. Would we come out of our way to dine here; well that remains to be seen. Right now, when I ask the dinner attendees if they would visit Beyroute again, the answers vary from a strict NO to maybe ( if someone else is paying).

Now for the verdict;

Food – 3/5

Service – 3/5

Ambience 3.5/5

Overall – 3/5

Beyroute would see better days if they changed their seating to something more comfortable, probably serve liquor and deliver more value by revamping their cuisine to do justice to all the money they’ve spent on their splendid decor.

This is my penultimate Restaurant Review and with the 24th review, I would conclude my Restaurant Review Project. It has been such an exciting and long ( long , long long ) food journey that has over shot all the expected timelines. Nevertheless, it has been the most amazing one.

Restaurant Review Project 21 – Monsoon

2 May

The clear chicken soup with vegetables

Once upon a time, there was an enthusiastic foodie and a blogger who took on the onerous task of reviewing 24 restaurants in a matter of 6 months. Well, that was 6 months ago! Restaurants were visited and revisited but the reviewing was forgotten conveniently. Also the baby that went with the pack to review restaurants grew up to be a highly active 2 and a half-year old who didn’t care about posh restaurants or their food. Slowly and steadily, restaurant visits trickled down and take outs and home delivery were preferred.  But it is time that I go through and fulfill the promise I made myself and show the world what a true foodie I am! For the uninitiated, this post shall elucidate why I took up such a bird-brained project in the first place. After my 20th review, I am really excited to write the 21st one because it is a special one. I have wanted to go to Monsoon, which is located in a stand alone compound in the Food district of Adliya,  for a long time. It has the reputation of being one of the best south-east cuisine churners in the country. They have been awarded numerous awards for culinary excellence year after year. No wonder, my curious taste buds were craving to go check the flavours that Monsoon seem to promise. But as luck would have it, whenever we tried to reserve a space it was always full. Finally after months, we did get a chance and we grabbed it with both hands.  Something just felt right about the night and I was prepared to be charmed.

But nothing prepared me for the fabulous South Eastern interiors and the haunting woodland scents from burning incense. A combination of all this threw my senses into a tizzy and meanwhile we were led to our seats by a gracious hostess dressed in a traditional Thai attire.  The eager bunch of us quickly took our seats and browsed through Monsoon’s exclusive menu. The dishes ranged from Thai, Vietnamese to Malaysian to Japanese and it made it amply difficult to pick out something from the extensive list. The jade crockery they served food in caught my eye and I admired the decor from where I was sitting. Even their washroom seemed a lot like a spa salon with floating roses and lilies and aromatic candles burning at all corners.

For starters we order the Clear and the creamy versions of the chicken soup with vegetables, chicken Satay with peanut sauce and Som Tam( the famous Thai raw Papaya salad) The soups were bursting with tangy flavours with the mild chicken playing its part to balance the taste. I took no time at all to slurp it all down before I took to the menu to order my next course. The chicken satay with peanut sauce was absolute deliciousness on sticks. Perfectly grilled and tender to eat, the chicken satay reminded me of my Honeymoon in Phuket.

Chicken satay with peanut sauce

Som Tam

Som Tam is a true flavour fiesta. It is a gorgeous medley of tangy, sweet, spicy perfectly balanced. It is a kind of starter for which you have to fight for your share because no sooner the waiter plonks the raw papaya platter on the table, it disappears.

Rice dumplings

Some of my vegetarian friends ordered some rice dumplings  which were fresh rolls with fried tofu, mixed herbs and sesame seed served with radish and carrot sauce which I wasn’t too keen on since I rather invest my calories on some good tasting meat. But they did get a big thumbs up from my vegetarian friends.

Assort of main course - Chicken and tofu in different sauces

An assortment of main course which had chicken and tofu in different sauces. These weren’t the top-notch considering how wonderful the starters were. Nevertheless, quite filling and if we hadn’t ordered the starters, we would have liked the main course a whole lot better. For the vegetarians there are plenty options in noodles in different sauces but one such noodle order seemed more like a vermicelli dessert since it was extremely sweet.  The charm seemed to fizzle out as the evening progressed when we finally ordered the dessert.

Panna Cotta with Raspberry coulis

Panna Cotta with raspberry coulis was one of the desserts that we girls picked which left much to be desired. I have not had the best of experiences whilst ordering dessert at South East Asian restaurants. 9/10 times it is a big let down and sadly, it was the case this time too.

Fried ice cream with strawberry compote

Being such a big fan of MasterChef Australia and having seen Pho ( don’t remember the season – Maybe it was 1) make fried ice cream, I wanted to try it atleast once. I expected the batter around the ice cream to be crisp and the ice cream inside the batter to be still firm but it was neither. I wasted my calories on that one, because it is a universal rule that once you order a dessert, it is your responsibility to finish it no matter what ( don’t ask me who propounded this rule. I just use it as per convenience)

All in all the sum total came to a handsome 63 Bahraini Dinar for a meal of 5 with drinks.

You can see me partially hidden towards the end. This photo is a reminder of what a wonderful time was had by us all. Food, wine and good company makes for a perfect evening. Monsoon fits the bill ( pun intended) in every possible way to meet this end. It is a place to relax, converse, nibble, inhale the fragrant aroma and be at peace. I would highly recommend Monsoon to anyone who wants to try authentic South East Asian cuisine and revel in a zen like space.

Monsoon has been Sliced!!

The verdict is :
Food – 4.5 /5
Ambiance – 4.5/5
Service – 4/5
Overall – 4.5 /5

Restaurant Review Project 19- Salad Boutique

31 Aug

It has been such a long time that I haven’t made an addition to my ongoing Restaurant Review Project. Not that I haven’t been eating out. I have been too lazy to take pictures and write about the food. I have had excellent opportunity to sample some extraordinary food and that is the reason why I had little patience to keep it waiting to take pictures. When there are no pictures to support the gastronomic crime committed, posts cannot be written, simply because a picture is worth a thousand words.

But my reviews have pictures and thousand words! 🙂

Anyways, on a day when I wasn’t extremely ravenous but wanted a nibble, I was reminded of a new place in town called, Salad Boutique. This quaint little place is located in the heart of the posh Block 338, Adliya.  As the name suggests, they specialize in serving Salads as the main course.

Salad Boutique sports a charming, candle lit opulent interior. It has a cream and purple decor with sparkling chandeliers that oozes indulgence and elegance in the same breath.

Upon entering, we were given a warm welcome by a smartly dressed server and were shown our seat. Since it was Ramadan, there weren’t many diners even on a weekend. That was perfect for us since it meant, Mimi could roam around the restaurant being friendly with the staff.

Soon, we were presented the menu and that I suppose is what has the potential to set this restaurant apart. We were handed the Apple iPad that functions as a menu card. This is such a novel idea and it was supremely exciting to peruse through a comprehensive menu. When the initial excitement was over, we made our order to the server. That is where I felt it had a failed a little. Having an iPad and not using it to its full potential is a waste, in my opinion. It is like having a cell phone only to scroll through the contacts and not actually being able to make a call!! It should have been possible to even place an order through the iPad instead of the server taking down notes. Anyhow, we did place our orders and it was surprising to note that they not only had a wide variety of salad, but also sandwiches, burgers, risotto, pastas and all kinds of sides.

We ordered a Falafel Salad – which consisted of Falafel, lettuce, Cucumber, Parsley and Rocca  and served with Tahina Dressing. Not exactly low-calorie food, I was hoping for. But when it arrived it looked like a sumptuous meal that I could eat at the restaurant and then later pack the leftovers back home. It tasted as good as it looked on the plate.

and a refreshing drink called Vanilla Rocca. I would recommend this restaurant for this drink alone. It has the power to change the world! Okay, I may be exaggerating a little bit, but you get the drift.

Some Grilled Chicken  Sandwich – which had a Grilled Chicken Breast, Lettuce, Rocca, Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese with Special Sauce. This sandwich wasn’t the best chicken sandwich but it was filling with a coleslaw side.

And Grilled Veggies Sandwich – Grilled Zucchini, Eggplant, Green Bell Pepper, and Rocca Leaves, Mixed with Light Mayonnaise-Tahina Sauce. This sandwich was really tasty and I would recommend this even if you are a meat lover. The eggplant and the tahina sauce combination gives this sandwich a meat-y  flavor.

Apparently, all the sandwiches are presented in similar manner so the photographs of the chicken and the vegetable sandwich look the same.

and a bottle of chilled water in a glass bottle designed by Paul Smith which I took home to plant my money plant.

Overall, the dinner was definitely not light as I had assumed it to be, but it was sure sumptuous. The total bill came to 20 BD for 3 adults.

So I am proud to announce that Salad Boutique has been SLICED and the verdict is as follows,

Food – 3/5

Ambiance – 4/5

Service – 3/5

Overall – 3/5

Salad Boutique has other outlets in Kuwait and Jeddah.

 

%d bloggers like this: