I’m a big fan of mall restaurants, you can’t really argue with an eatery that’s next to a cinema and surrounded by shoe shops, so it’s a bit of a surprise that I’d never visited Kosebasi till Time Out Bahrain sent me on my merry way.
I arrived with a pal on a midweek lunchtime and was surprised to find it really busy and buzzing, we were quickly shown to a table and, with drinks ordered, we settled down to peruse a menu so varied as to be slightly confusing.
Fortunately our server came to the rescue with a tray of small glass dishes bearing samples of the many dip starters on offer, which made our lives significantly easier.
We ordered three dips to start: semizotu with yoghurt, virgin olive oil and garlic; abbaganus - eggplant with olive oil, yoghurt and garlic - and kabak salatasi, grated zucchini with dill, Turkish spices and olive oil.
All, of course, accompanied by a big basket of hot, fluffy Arabic bread.
No really knowing what to expect we were a little disappointed with the semizotu. There seemed little trace of this small leafy vegetable, sometimes called a weed and the second cousin several times removed of my favourite spinach. Neither could I taste the garlic so the dip seemed like a sophisticated bowl of youghurt.
But it was more than compensated for by the other two. The abbaganus, much like our own baba ganoush but with yoghurt, was super creamy with a healthy dose of garlic bringing out the smoky taste of the egg plant.
The kabak too had us dipping in multiple times, the zucchini displaying a flavour closer to cucumber and perfectly complemented by the thick, creamy yoghurt.
For mains, since Kosebasi is known for its meats, I went for the mixed grill. A generous helping of marinated chicken chunks accompanied by sliced lamb and beef kofta.
All the meats were perfectly cooked and tender and I was pleasantly surprised to find the kofta, which I usually find too greasy, was in fact juicy without being at all fatty.
My companion chose the yogurtlu kebab, a meat kofta with yoghurt and tomato sauce. She found the sauce a little bland but, to be fair, it’s not meant to be spicy, and the meat was melt-in-the-mouth tender and tasty.
One thing I would say though, if you want your mains separate from your starters, make sure to let your server know. Ours arrived as we were still tackling the dips.
For dessert, my pal’s eyes lit up at the sight of the kunefe. I’d been planning to sample this traditional dish of shredded dough baked around soft, white cheese and drenched in sugar syrup, but, in the interests of research I left her to her first choice and decided to go with the kadayif and I was glad I did.
While the kunefe was good, though I felt slightly doughy, my kadayif, a super sweet confection of crisp dough, sugar syrup and pistachios served warmed through, was one of the stand-out dishes of the day.
We washed it all down large glasses of fresh mint and lemon and left for our afternoon’s shopping well and truly fortified but not over stuffed.
The bill (for two) Semizotu purslane BD1.600 Abbagannus BD1.600 Kabak salatasi BD1.900 Mixed grill BD5.100 Yogurtlu kebab BD4.900 Kunefe BD2.600 Kadayif BD2.600 2 mint and lemon BD3.800 3 Perrier BD4.200 Total (inc service) BD31.050
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com