Perched right on the water’s edge at Reef Island is Al Fayez Lebanese Restaurant which is casual, contemporary and offers great service. There’s a beautiful terrace where you can relax outdoors, overlooking the marina, and enjoying the weather (in cooler months), or indoors there’s plenty of comfy seating.
On a regular day, and particularly on weekends, this place fills up fast with families out for a spot of comfort food. The menu offers a range of hot and cold mezzes, meat and seafood grills, and other Lebanese favourites. They also have a selection of grape from the Bekaa Valley.
On this occasion, my dining companion and I go for a veritable feast of hot and cold mezzes alongside a spicy fish tikka. We don’t have to wait long before plate after plate begins to arrive at the table: regular hummus followed by the unusual Al Fayez muttabel; crispy falafel followed by potato harra and a side of tart tabbouleh. It’s the exotic Al Fayez muttabel that we get most obsessed with. It’s a mixture of aubergine and beetroot with a dash of tahini and although it tastes fairly similar to the regular version, its deep pink colour makes it look extra tasty.
The steaming, soft breads with poppy seeds atop are hard to stop eating with the equally good hummus, with lashings of refreshing tabbouleh on the side. We also enjoy the falafel, which comes with a tangy tahini sauce, although they’re a little on the dry side. The same goes for our potato harra dish – it’s spicy and full of flavour, but the skin lacks crisp.
As we test and taste each of our dishes, the spicy fish tikka comes out. I’m always wary of a grilled white fish, as it often comes out overcooked with the consistency of dry chicken, but this is perfect. The flesh is soft, while the coating of juices and spices makes it taste like authentic tikka. It also comes with some stuffed bread that complements the dish with its flavourful potato and tomato filling.
Overall, we’re impressed. At regular intervals our servers check back on us to make sure everything is fine even though the restaurant is full. Our meal hits the spot and our Bekaa Valley grape is a treat. In the cooler weather, sitting on the terrace, we can see this becoming a popular spot.
The bill (for two) 1x hummus BD1.700 1x tabbouleh BD2.400 1x Al Fayez mouttabel BD1.700 1x potato harra BD1.800 1x falafel BD2.400 1x spicy fish tikka BD9 1x small water BD1 Government levy BD2.200 Service charge BD4 Total BD26.200
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com