Tag Archives: review

{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. 

Muneera Obaidli’s Ramadan Detox Plan

22 Jul

One week or less remains before Ramadan comes to a close. The intense fasting and prayers have changed the atmosphere around here. Everything is so quiet and so still, that it inspires you to look inwards. It is perhaps the right time to detox the body along with the mind. Muneera Obaidli who has been involved professionally in the health industry for over 7 years with her health food business, Vida for Life, has created this Detox Plan for Ramadan.  I was invited to sample and provide my honest feedback about her special Ramadan menu. The purpose of this menu is to help you make the most of your fasting experience by providing meals that cleanse and nourish the body and keep it hydrated throughout the fast. It is a vegetarian and gluten – free  which keeps you bloat-free and aids digestion.

Healthy food does not have to be boring and Muneera’s meal plan stands testimony to that.

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Thai Spring Roll with almond dipping sauce

The one day package that I was requested to review had the following:

1. Fresh young coconut water

2. Green mango smoothie

3. Ramadan detox soup

4. Quinoa madrooba

5. Thai spring roll with dipping sauce

6. Buckwheat wrap

7. Cauliflower soup

8. Raw chocolate mousse

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I was also provided a document elucidating the reason behind having each meal at a certain time during non-fasting hours. While I cannot vouch for their prescribed effect as promised by the program, I can definitely comment about the taste of each meal item. I couldn’t possibly have had all the meals in a single day, so I distributed them over two days.

–> I started my day with the Green Mango Smoothie which was refreshing to say the least. I could easily taste the green mango, spinach and perhaps a green apple as well. It was filling and delicious. As per the program leaflet, Vida recommends that people fasting should opt this smoothie for ‘Suhoor’ because this smoothie will keep you hydrated, is light and easy to digest. Having  a heavy Suhoor will only lead to more food cravings the next day and people who are fasting should definitely avoid that.

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–> By mid morning, I had my coconut water which rejuvenated me and with this I also had the buckwheat wrap. The wrap has no filling in it but it is flavourful on its own. The program suggests that it is better to break the fast in the evening with this glass of fresh young coconut water which not only quenches the thirst but also rebalances blood sugar levels. It will  infuse the body with natural minerals , enzymes and electrolytes. It is also recommended that people who are fasting also drink several glasses of water with pinches of sea salt to hydrate and flush out toxins that may have released due to fasting for prolonged hours.

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–> Lunch was a hearty cauliflower soup with grilled chicken breast ( the chicken breast wasn’t in the diet plan). The soup was creamy and appetizing, and I felt satiated and enjoyed the soup a lot. The program suggests having this soup instead of refreshing smoothie for ‘Suhoor’ on days when you feel like something savoury instead of sweet.

–> Evening had me ravenous and I enjoyed the delicious Thai spring roll with an almond dip. The almond dip was something I had never tasted before and it was addictive. I was eating it in spoonfuls. The spring roll, straight from the fridge were crispy and delightful. Basically a lettuce wrap with vegetable filling made for a filling snack along with the almond dip.

–> My final meal of the day was the Ramadan detox soup with was clear soup with alpha-alpha sprouts which felt like noodles. Just a simple yet clever way to incorporate protein while tricking the mind into thinking it’s actual noodles. This was my favourite meal of them all.

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–> I skipped the dessert and thought of having it the next day after lunch.  Next day, I had the Quinoa madrooba where the broken wheat was replaced by quinoa to make it protein rich and gluten free. It was interesting but wasn’t exactly exciting. Then came the raw chocolate mousse which wasn’t my cup of tea at all. It tasted too sour. I wasn’t sure what ingredients were used to make it and perhaps this feedback will be useful to Vida to improve upon their desserts they’re offering in this detox plan. Perhaps only cut fruits could suffice to satisfy any sweet cravings. Funnily enough, in these two days I had minimal sweet cravings. It may have to do with the fact that I was consuming no gluten products all.

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( Madrooba is like a savoury porridge usually made from broken wheat, masalas and chicken, and cooked in chicken stock)

All in all it was an interesting meal combination with so many flavours and textures to try. I felt light and bloating -free in these two days and this goes on to say how much you would benefit if you try the entire detox program. Cleansing the body is a must and maybe Ramadan is the right time to get it done considering the calorie intake is already quite restricted. Every meal is well packaged and the portions are controlled which itself proves that a lot of thought has been put behind this meal plan. As per the information provided by the Vida team, they offer custom meal plans taking into consideration any kind of special health and taste preferences.

For all who are interested, contact the Vida team on vidaforlife@gmail.com or call tel: 17534999. These meals will be delivered at your door step!

Wishing all my Muslim friends a blessed and healthy last week of Ramadan.

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.

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