Saar isn’t exactly known for being a culinary destination in Bahrain but with gems like Darcha, it should be. Darcha Café, which is located at the Nakheel Centre just opposite St Christopher’s School in Saar, is a quirky concept which combines traditional Eastern tea with Far Eastern cuisine.
From the outside it doesn’t look like much but as soon as you step inside you feel uplifted. The décor is simple but quaint; it’s all pale blues and greens, minimalist and modern but full of spirit. Giant rope ‘chandeliers’ hang from the ceiling; children’s books and magazines are dotted around; great little tea gadgets are for sale from towering bookshelves.
The menu is also fairly simple but boasts some great Asian dishes with contemporary twists, and also caters to all tastes – meat eater, fish lover, vegan or gluten-free. Plus, the tea selection is outstanding with options from across the world – from South Africa to Asia.
We go for the South African Honey Bush tea, iced, alongside a bowl of edamame, Vietnamese summer rolls and some chicken gyozas to start the meal off. We follow this with the Asian quinoa salad, shrimp fried rice and the fish ball noodle soup.
We order and pay at the counter downstairs and then make our way up to the small seating area at the top of the stairs.
Perching ourselves on one of the wooden benches, we note yet more cute design elements – mini plates stuck on the wall, colourful cushions to rest on. They’re very cute and comfortable surrounds.
It doesn’t take long for our dishes to come out. The edamame comes first so we munch on these to appease our appetite (although mourn the lack of rock salt or chili), followed by the shrimp fried rice and gyozas. Each dish is colourful and vibrant, healthy and features wonderfully fresh ingredients. Each plate on its own is fairly bland but once you combine it with the supplied sauces, the flavours are elevated to new levels. We like this touch as it gives diners the option to sauce or not to sauce, as much as they like.
For me, it’s the Asian quinoa salad, interestingly, which blows me away. It’s a simple salad of fresh lettuce, cabbage, carrot and cooked quinoa but, when combined with the moreish soy-based dressing, it’s the kind of salad you’ll get a craving for later.
The gyozas, aka Japanese dumplings, are also great – the chicken is well-cooked, as is the casing, and combined with some soy sauce, it’s a solid and filling side dish.
Meanwhile, the fish ball noodle soup is unique. The broth is flavoursome, and the glass noodles are a great addition but the fish balls are a little springy and overall quite bland for our liking.
Despite this minor setback, we agree that Darcha is a truly unique offering in Bahrain and, for what you get, the prices are incredibly reasonable. We’d happily go back to Saar for more of that.
The bill (for two) 1 x fish ball soup BD1.9 1 x chicken gyoza BD1.9 1 x shrimp fried rice BD3.6 1 x vegetable summer roll BD2.6 1 x edamame BD1.2 1 x quinoa salad BD3.2 1 x Sprite BD0.8 1 x Honeybush tea BD1.4 Total BD16.6
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com