Tag Archives: Adliya

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

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

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)

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: www.meiseirestaurants.com

Social Media: @MeiseiBahrain

Restaurant Review Project 21 – Monsoon

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

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.