Tag Archives: Restaurant

{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’ 

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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.

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Spinach, brie and mushroom stuffed chicken

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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} 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. 

Making Maki at Meisei (Sushi 101)

4 Jul

To constantly learn is to constantly evolve into something higher, stronger and better.  In my own quest of learning new, wondrous things about food, I have resorted to the online world most of the times. But sometimes, you need that hand holding especially when it comes to learning a new cuisine. Japanese has been and will be my most favourite cuisine outside of Indian cuisine ( ofcourse!).  Few weeks back, I was invited to a ‘Maki ‘ assembling demo at Meisei which I gladly accepted because I wasn’t going to pass up such a wonderful opportunity to learn how to make Maki from an experienced Chef such as Chef Micheal Sang -Kyu Lee.

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Source: Google image

Meisei in Adliya, opened in early 2013 and offers its diners a combination of gourmet  Asian flavours and an elegant surrounding to enjoy them. The diverse Japanese-Korean-Chinese fusion menu is prepared by top chefs to create an exceptional dining experience, with dishes that offer an interpretation of modern Asian cuisine that can be enjoyed across cultures. When I reached Meisei on a boiling Wednesday afternoon, I was too exhausted from the heat. But the cool interiors and the smiling staff put me in a good mood instantly. They were just about to begin the demo and I realized I had the company of  5 other ladies who looked very eager to learn.

Chef Micheal has a sense of humour that put us all in great mood. I wasn’t overly intimidated to learn how to roll the Maki but his easy -going manner definitely helped enjoy the task more. I observed that we had a table with prepared ingredients in front of us and all we had to do is to assemble the Maki. That was so simple!

I underestimated.

Japanese is a cuisine of refined, subtle and balanced flavours. Other than the Wasabi’s pungent, powerful attack on the senses, nothing else really screams for attention. It is almost like sitting in meditation and enjoying  ‘being in the moment‘.

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  The demo began with Chef Micheal explaining to us about the important elements of Maki – making:

1. The balance of flavours is key

2. Prepare in advance – chop the vegetables/ fruits/ fish/ into  julienne and ready to use

3. It is the rice that lends all the real flavour to the Maki ( The cooking of the rice wasn’t included in the demo. It was provided to us, ready to use)

4. Finally, the most important element is to be gentle and subtle with your fingers. (Chef Micheal had an funny trivia to share about his own Maki making experience where he said it makes his wife very jealous when she watches her Chef husband handling the Maki  with such tender care and love). So that is how nimble -fingered one has to be while attempting to learning this art of great finesse.

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Uramaki – rice on the outside and the seaweed paper and filling on the inside

We tried creating two types of Maki –

1. The hand roll – which is the regular Maki has the Nori( seaweed paper) on the outside and the rice and the filling vegetables/fish inside

2. Uramaki – (the inside out roll) – This is the type of Maki with the rice on the outside and Nori ( seaweed paper) and the filling of avocados/cucumber/ cooked white fish on the inside

I followed Chef Micheal’s instructions very carefully and tried to emulate his actions but obviously as a first timer, my Maki was not the best. But I enjoyed working with my hands.

Making Maki is like craft. 

But like all craft, Maki demands its share of practice and intuition.

Chef Micheal has collected in his culinary repertoire, a world of experience ( literally). His Maki flavours are reminiscent of the different cultures and of different nations that he has worked in. All the flavours play together so well that, not only does the Maki look like ‘work of art’ but also indulges the tastes buds, making it quite addictive. My own amateurish attempt tasted wonderful with all the flavour notes in place to enjoy after an hour of rolling and assembling.

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From the picture above it is quite evident that even while you roll your Maki well, cutting on it into pieces is actually quite tough. However careful you are, the knife slips and the Maki roll gets squeezed. That is when I take home a lesson; it is the simple looking things in life that demand so much attention and care. And if we give that love and tenderness, it cannot help but blossom.

All in all, it was great experience learning how to assemble the Maki under the tutelage of Chef Micheal and also interacting with the other ladies at the demo. Since I am the only Maki lover in the family, I doubt I am going to practice this at home. If you are interested in learning how to make beautiful Maki, you ought to immediately enroll after Ramadan at Meisei. 

Meisei Address: Building 951, Road 3830, Block 338, Adliya

Phone number: 1700 7770

Website: http://www.meiseirestaurants.com

Social Media: @MeiseiBahrain

Dineout Bahrain: Changing the ‘eating out’ scene in Bahrain

4 Jan

I always approach the new year with new ideas and great optimism. The new year for me is about new beginnings and about discovering new things around me. If you have lived in Bahrain, you would know that, no matter if you are a local or an expat, the options of discovery and entertainment lie between going to movies and eating out. Movie choices are relatively easy to figure out but it is the eating out options that can baffle you. Bahrain has a HUGE ‘eating out’ culture and by that I don’t just limit it to the posh restaurants, I also include the tiny specks of eateries that are just as popular and throbbing with patrons day in and day out.

Weekends and some weekday lunches are my ‘eating out’ days. This gives me an opportunity to try out new restaurants as well as go to my old favorites. But sometimes it becomes extremely difficult to reserve places over weekends because practically everybody is out and about in Bahrain filling up all the seats in my favourite restaurants. It is then I feel like kicking myself for not reserving my table  earlier. Funnily, it never strikes me until I reach the place to find out that it is fully booked. Also sometimes, it happens that I go to a restaurant expecting good stuff and return feeling cheated because of the awful food and service.  I always wished in those moments that I had some kind of a restaurant guide and preferably something that I quickly use on my phone that would help me pick out a restaurant, make reservations and give me tips about how my experience might turn out. Incidentally, a colleague and I discussed this over some Chinese food and decided that we should try and build a website that was easily accessible on phone and would give the user all the desired experiences regarding the dining scene in Bahrain.

But before our fledgling plan could see the light of the day, I came across Dine out Bahrain. It happens to be a one stop shop for all things related to restaurants and eating joints in Bahrain. I personally scrolled through their website and was quite impressed. Dine Out Bahrain is the island’s first independent online service that unifies the islands favorite restaurants with their hungry diners. Encompassing a state – of – the art website and mobile application it has simplified eating out like never before.

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This is how it works:

  • Bahrain’s top restaurants manage their own pages within the DineOut site providing customers access to the most up-to-date menus, promotions and events all in one place.
  • It allows for easy browsing and booking at the click of a button, with the users receiving a booking confirmation instantly.
  • The go-to service for all moods, DineOut’s quick search feature filters options precisely by type, cuisine and location. You can download food menus and see photographs of restaurants
  • Whether diners wish to glam up and dine out in style or casually hang out with friends at a shisha cafe close to home, all the possibilities are at their fingertips.
  • It provides stress-free directions of Google Map’s to guide the Users to their intended destination
  • DineOut Bahrain is constantly adding brand new eateries everyday
  • The customer review feature even makes it easy to find out what friends thought of the experience giving useful feedback to diners and the restaurant management
  •  Download the DineOut Bahrain app, compatible with both Iphone and Android systems
  • No hassle, no extra cost and no login pages

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With Dineout’s services at my disposal, I feel mighty relieved that my weekend restaurant hunting is no longer going to be a stressful activity. So if you are  someone who  loves eating out just like me, I recommend you install Dine Out Bahrain’s app on your mobile right away. In case, any of you has any queries, feel free to contact Dine Out Bahrain at the following email address: info@dineoutbahrain.com and don’t forget to check their website at http://www.dineoutbahrain.com

To download Dineout Bahrain on your mobile:

My debut as a Web TV Presenter on MyBahrain.ME (RESTAURANT REVIEW : VILLA MAMAS)

8 Nov

Suzanne from MyBahrain.ME asked me if I would like to become a web tv anchor for their food channel. I took my time to evaluate if it was possible to do it with my hectic work schedule, chores and above all Mimi-time. But with support and encouragement from my husband, my parents and  my friends, I decided to give it a go. Never really faced a camera before except on my wedding day, it was nerve wrecking. But the super-cool Suzanne made it sound all smooth and chirpy.  The video was shot on an unhurried Friday at Villa Mamas – the restaurant that I was supposed to review. With little preparation and not knowing what to expect, I fumbled my way through zillion takes. Finally after 3 long hours, (hugely exasperated) Suzanne and the cameraman decided they had enough material to do a short restaurant review video.

I went back home, beaming with pleasure and excitement and eagerly waited for the edited version of the video to come out. When the video was uploaded on the MyBahrain.ME website, the first thing that crossed my mind while watching my video was it is really unnatural to see yourself from the outside. It is quite like an outer body experience  to hear and see myself talk to the camera like it was a real person.

I say this with confidence because I have had an outer body experience before but that is a story for another time.

Being in front of the camera, when you are not used to be the focal point can bring forth all the oddities that you have never known about yourself. For me, it was  like a 360 degree feedback session in the 2.57 minutes. But for a debut, I was told, I did well. That makes me happy. In  this post I share some behind the scene moments and the video of the restaurant –  Villa Mamas that I reviewed for MyBahrain.ME

All photos courtesy – Namit Bhatia

The food at Villa Mamas was top-notch. Villa Mamas takes pride in serving traditional Bahraini cuisine with a modern and contemporary twist. Here are some of the photographs from the shoot.

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The starter - eggplant explosion ( discs of egg plant cooked until tender, dressed with white sauce and flavoured with cumin and other spices)

The starter – eggplant explosion served with soft and freshly baked arabic bread( discs of egg plant cooked until tender, dressed with white sauce and flavoured with cumin and other spices)

Main course - Sayadia Hammour ( Lightly spiced rice with caramelized onions, tender hammour fillet with brown sauce)

Main course – Sayadia Hammour ( Lightly spiced rice with caramelized onions, tender hammour fillet with brown sauce)

The rainbow smoothie ( very tangy and super refreshing)

The rainbow smoothie ( very tangy and super refreshing)

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Suzanne helping me out with my lines. Truly admire her patience

Suzanne helping me out with my lines. Truly admire her patience

Delivering the last set of lines

Delivering the last set of lines

Loved the Villa Mamma's decor - a comfortable setting with a contemporary twist. Matches the food perfectly

Loved the Villa Mama’s decor – a comfortable setting with a contemporary twist. Matches the food perfectly

Can’t wait to hear your feedback about the video and my presentation! Do take time out and write down your thoughts in the comments section.

Restaurant Review Project 20 – Cappuccino Cafe

27 Sep

A Restaurant Review after such a long time.

Though I visited Cappuccino nearly a month ago, I can without any aid, recollect, the wonderful time I had sampling their delicacies. That is the mark of a good restaurant. Eons may pass, but some restaurants leave that indelible mark. Cappuccino is such a restaurant, tucked away in a quiet little corner on Saar Road. It is quite easy to miss this quaint little cafe and we had some difficulty tracing the place. This place came recommended by a friend, Riddhima, who has nothing but excellent opinion about the food that this cafe dishes out. I made it a point to visit it at the first given opportunity and wasn’t disappointed at all. One of the finest British comfort food serving restaurant is how I would define Cappuccino.

Coming straight to the food,- I ordered some cream of spinach soup with great anxiety. Spinach is not my favourite but Riddhima was so insistent that I give it a try. I was completely bowled over by a number of things. First, the presentation, the flavours and the whole idea that you could have your soup in a bowl and eat it too ( literally). They served piping hot spinach soup inside of a bun. For the same, they had cut out the insides of the bun and filled it with this flavorsome soup. Simply gorgeous. This got my taste buds buzzing and I was ready for more.

During my time in the UK, when I was heavily pregnant with Mimi, I craved for Jacket potatoes all the time. I had to have them every other day, with different kinds of fillings. It could be baked beans with cheese, vegetables and cheese etc. When I saw they had my favourite Jacket potatoes flavour combination –Baked potato with broccoli, mushrooms, corn with salads, I had to order it.

If I was to say, that these were the best jacket potatoes ever, would be an understatement. I haven’t savoured a dish so much in a long time. Okay, maybe I have 🙂 But this Jacket Potatoes made me forget all the other good things that I might have devoured at other places.

Scones came highly recommended, so we did order them.

The most scrumptious scones that were buttery, soft and crumbly, served with dollops of jam, butter and cream. I would highly recommend the scones since I haven’t had such wonderful scones even in bistros of London or Birmingham.

Apart from the recommended delights, we felt like sampling some of their regular fare like a chicken burger which was equally delightful.

We washed it down with a glass of iced coffee which was refreshing (  we enjoyed  our meal in a relaxed manner- hint: Mimi was sleeping)

While the food was spectacular, the ambiance lacked sophistication. I gathered from the menu that they were trying to do a British pub/ cafe style food. But the ambiance and the service did not reflect any of that. The service was very tardy and it took us quite some time to attract any server’s attention to take our order.
So I am proud to declare that Cappuccino cafe has been Sliced!!A meal for 3 cost us about 18 BD and as far as the food was concerned, it was the best meal I had had in a long time.

The verdict is :
Food – 4.5 /5
Ambiance – 3.5/5
Service – 2.5/5
Overall – 3.5 /5 (and an additional 0.5 because the food was excellent) so a total of 4/5

I hope to go back to Cappuccino again for breakfast to sample their wonderful brunch spread.

Restaurant Review 1- Jim’s

9 Nov

When I took up this assignment of doing restaurant reviews, little did I know it was going to be so tough. I waged a war inside my head thinking of ways to start the review. Until this very moment am absolutely unsure about the purpose of this assignment, how am I going to do this review, will it do anybody any good, even me? But to finish what I have started remains in my heart as the prime motive and I intend to go through with it.

With this skeptical note, I hereby declare my untitled project of restaurant reviews open. Continue reading

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