Having listened to colleagues and Lebanese pals raving about this fairly new spot on the Budaiya Highway I was keen to try it for myself but not overly enthused at making the trip during the evening with what’s been going on in the area of late.
Hence, a lunchtime visit was in order offering the opportunity for drinks outside in the sunshine next to the quaint burbling fountain before the heat pushed us inside to eat – no bad thing since the interior is kind of folksy and welcoming and waiters don’t hover as they tend to when you sit outdoors.
As confirmed Lebophiles (if such a word actually exists), both my dining companion and I were eager to sample some old favourites and went for a mezze selection of moutabel, fattoush, falafel, fried makanek and hummus.
We’re a well matched pair, she loved the fresh, plentiful salad in the fattoush while I’m always more than happy to tuck into the deep fried bread squares. I was particularly impressed with the dressing which, unlike many I’ve tasted, was not too heavy on the balsamic allowing the taste of the salad to come through.
The moutabel seemed thicker than usual and I found both texture and taste a bit strong, not unpleasant but also not what I was expecting having grown accustomed to moutabel as a creamy side dish so I hoped to stick to the hummus.
However, I made the mistake of ordering the hummus kawarma. This is a typically Lebanese dish of standard hummus topped with minced lamb. It sounded delicious but was, in fact, anything but. I know lamb’s a fatty meat but in this case that was all I could taste and a small piece I dropped on the table actually congealed, not a good sign.
The makanek, mini sausages made up of meat and a mix of spices fried in herbs and garlic, were a much better choice. Really tasty and not over spiced they, along with the best falafel I’ve found on the island so far, more than made up for my earlier disappointment.
Of the falafel I will simply say they are everything they should be, crispy outer and delicate fluffy inner with hints of spices to save the mashed bean filling from blandness. The boys in the office really got it right this time.
My pal had decided to try the beef shawarma and she was delighted, not only to find somewhere that actually serves shawarma during the day but to find one so tasty and satisfying with just the right mix of garlic and hot sauce.
All in all a thumbs up from us and a pat on the back to the BEYroute guys for taking a chance on Budaiya Highway, let’s hope they’re soon able to welcome lots of evening diners too.
The bill (for two) Moutabal BD1.250 Fattoush BD1.400 Hummus kawarma BD1.750 Falafel plate BD1.750 Fried makanek BD2.400 Beef shawarma BD0.850 Sprite BD0.500 Sparkling water x4 BD3.600 Total (inc service) BD14.850
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com