The outdoor seating area at the new Italian restaurant on Reef Island is beautiful. You can sit back in a comfortable chair, with a glass of grape in hand, overlooking the marina and Bahrain’s skyline. It will be a great spot in cooler months for a leisurely late afternoon meal with friends.
The service is good as well. The manager and servers are waiting to welcome you, and constantly check back on you throughout the meal to make sure everything is in order. Although this might be because, at the moment, the restaurant area of Reef Island is still relatively quiet as punters slowly discover what’s there.
We go on an evening when the weather is perfect and we’re hankering for a taste of Italian. Perusing the menu, we’re happy to see all the traditional favourites such as bruschetta, bresaola and penne arrabiata, for example. Pizzas, pastas, meats and seafood all make an appearance, and it’s actually a little hard to choose.
We settle for a sharing plate of bruschetta with the salmon carpaccio, followed by the entrecôte beef fillet, which comes with a soft polenta cake and cherry tomato confit, and the salmone alla griglia with sautéed spinach and potato cake.
First off, we’re served the obligatory bread basket which unfortunately offers some tough rolls that are obviously not too fresh.
We hold off on that and wait for our starters, which are fantastic – the bruschetta has a nice balance of flavours with garlic oil, tomato and onions, and the bread is toasted, while the salmon carpaccio is lovely and moreish.
Meanwhile, our mains are a little less impressive. The entrecôte beef fillet is easily a medium when we asked for a medium rare, but the accompanying polenta and tomato confit lift the dish so we’re disinclined to complain. It ends up reminding us of some wholesome but home-cooked fare. The salmon, on the other hand, is beautifully cooked and the sautéed spinach is seasoned well. But sadly the ‘potato cakes’ are simply chips that have a springy consistency reminiscent of refried, defrosted potatoes. I leave those to one side and devour the rest.
To finish off, we go for some classic Italian desserts: tiramisu and panna cotta. Any Italian restaurant worth its salt should be able to nail these dishes, but unfortunately we’re left wanting again. A tiramisu should be light and airy but this one is firmer and the flavours are too sweet. While the panna cotta boasts all the right flavours, the texture is too gelatinous, as opposed to the silky smooth you should enjoy with this dessert. While we really enjoy the setting of Pasquale, and the service is spot on, we’re a bit perturbed by how hit and miss the dishes are.
It’s doubtful that this place will become a regular spot on our dining out itinerary.
The bill (for two) 1 x Bruschetta pomodoro BD3.900 1 x Salmon carpaccio BD6.200 1 x Filetto di salmon BD10.200 1 x Entrecote beef fillet BD13.900 1 x Panna cotta BD4.000 1 x Tiramisu BD3.800 Total (including taxes) BD54.090
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com