Inspired by the region’s street cafes and restaurants, from tikka houses in Bahrain to falafel carts in Egypt, new eatery Lumee Street Café, located in the Tawaweesh section of Al A’ali Shopping Complex, offers Bahrain foodies a modern and refreshing take on Arabic food.
The concept is of a café-cum-deli and although it’s based in a mall, it doesn’t detract from the sociable, bustling vibe. The venue is traditional yet contemporary, rustic and inviting with wooden paneling, funky, multi-coloured patterns found throughout the décor and furniture, and chalkboards scribbled with dishes and specials.
As for the menu, it features classic dishes with interesting twists such as a zaatar or beetroot hummus, quinoa tabbouleh and baked cheese samboosas. There’s a selection of refreshing teas and homemade lemonades, and the desserts – which include items such as the croissant um ali, honeycomb crunch cake, and karak tea and saffron ice cream – sound fantastic. On top of the a la carte selection, they also have a deli with rotating daily specials, and gourmet products. The best bit? It’s all quite reasonably priced, as well.
On the day we arrive, it’s lunch time and very busy. We sit outside the main venue, on the ‘streets’ of Souq Tawaweesh, and order quite a feast. We go for a selection of mezzes – the quinoa tabbouleh, fresh falafel, beetroot hummus and spicy vine leaves – and try a special in the form of lamb bamia with rice. My dining companion and I also both go for the hibiscus and pomegranate lemonade.
Unfortunately, because we’re outside the main dining area, we seem to be forgotten by the servers. Numerous times throughout our meal we’re forced to flag down staff, at first to take our orders and later to follow up on late drink arrivals. Despite this, however, we’re really impressed by the food.
Not soon after ordering, we’re served with a basket of fresh, steaming flat breads and the beetroot hummus which is morishly delectable. Then out comes the quinoa tabbouleh – light and tart – and the spicy vine leaves, which have a good kick to them. It then takes a while before our falafel arrives but we’ll forgive them that as it’s freshly made and they’re wonderfully moist yet crunchy and piping hot. The lamb bamia is also great: very tender lamb and a rich, addictive sauce. For dessert, we opt for the lighter option of the Lumee Sorbet made with fresh lime and lemon pulp (the word ‘lumee’ is Bahraini slang for lemons and lime) and it rounds off the meal well, cleansing our palate and injecting a little zing.
By the end of our experience, we’ve been firmly converted into Lumee fans and we’ll certainly be going back, very soon.
The bill (for two) 1 x fresh falafel (six) BD1.8 1 x quinoa tabbouleh BD1.9 1 x beetroot hummus BD1.6 1 x spicy vine leaves BD1.7 1 x lamb bamia BD2.6 2 x lemonades BD3.8 1 x lumee sorbet BD1.9 1 x red tea BD0.9 Service charge 15% Total BD18.625
Lumee Street Café
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com