Goodness, was it hard work getting to this place! Not only do you have to do battle with the nightmare grid pattern of the Diplomatic Area, but you also now have to contend with reduced parking in several of the hotels here as they refurbish their carparks, including the Radisson-Blu, all of which left us rather hot and grumpy before we’d even set foot in the lobby.
Mondo describes itself as a bar-lounge-restaurant and is all of these things, packed into one fairly small room. It’s got the décor of a highly happening place: a deep purple and red colour scheme, low (but not too low) lighting, cool kitsch leopard-print high chairs at the bar, and an enormous faux fresco of a series of suitably seductive Roman ladies. The effect was actually less gaudy than it possibly sounds, with the separate parts coming together to form an uber-stylish, cool whole.
The menu was typical modern Euro-chic, which suited the interior well, although the waitress told us they also offered more traditional Italian dishes if we’d prefer. A small dish of strawberries was brought out and laid before us as we perused the menu, and then a teeny tiny plate each sporting a single, teeny tiny bruschetta. All this before the bread basket had even arrived.
I ordered a wild mushroom tart with a tomato and potato garnish accompanied by a ‘tower’ of vegetable crisps, and I can honestly say it was one of the tastiest and most original starters I’ve had since coming to Bahrain. My friend opted for a chicken terrine shot through with foie gras which, while again highly original, wasn’t as tasty as he’d been hoping. We were then served a complimentary orange sorbet, and then it was on to our main courses. We’d chosen penne with parma ham and chopped asparagus in a roasted garlic sauce, and beef with wild mushroom sauce and an enormous roasted shallot atop a bed of potato. The pasta was good, the al dente asparagus providing a nice contrast to the smooth creaminess of the rest of the dish, and my friend’s beef was cooked to perfection though slightly lacking in the taste department.
We were fairly stuffed by this point and perhaps didn’t need the desserts we ordered and, indeed, we needn’t have bothered to be honest. My lemon shortbread cake with Chantilly cream and pine nuts was dusted into non-lemoniness by too much icing sugar and sugar generally, and the sorbet accompanying it was tasteless and redundant. My friend’s promised chocolate souffle turned out not to be a souffle at all but instead a sort of chocolate ice-cream cake. Nice enough, but he would’ve preferred a real souffle.
All in all a decent little find, though I’d perhaps recommend waiting till the carpark is finished.
The bill (for two) Chicken terrine BD4.000 Wild mushroom tart BD4.000 Beef with mushroom BD13.500 Penne with parma ham BD6.000 Chocolate soufflé BD4.000 Large bottle of water BD3.000 Total (incl tax/service) BD46.721
Time Out Bahrain Staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com