We check out one of Barhain’s new favourites 3 Reviews
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Masso restaurant, next to the Palace Hotel in Adliya, is one of the few places I’ve eaten that has left me confused. The service is impeccable and the staff are both friendly and efficient as well as very knowledgeable about their menu. Waiting between courses is kept to a minimum and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. It is without a doubt a fine dining restaurant with much appeal... sometimes.
This particular visit was my third and each visit has been very different from the others. I’ll admit I’m a chatty person and it’s not often I find reason to stop talking, but from the moment the food hit the table on my first visit, the only sounds emanating from me were “mmmm” and “yum” and “oh wow”. My meal was flawless and I loved every last delectable morsel.
It’s no surprise then that I was champing at the bit to go back but sadly my second trip was a very different affair. After what can only be described as a comedy of errors in every way, including having to send my main course back twice, I finally gave up on the idea of eating and left. To be fair though, every establishment can have an off day so, while I was filled with trepidation, I was more than happy to keep an open mind and give Masso the benefit of the doubt.
Enter confusion. This third visit was a bewildering mixture of the first two. The good parts of the meal were absolutely spectacular but there was an equal measure of failure too. We got off to a great start with mouth-wateringly delicious fresh bread and hummus to whet our appetites as we perused the menu.
We both decided to go down the seafood route for starters, with me ordering the garlic shrimp with basil butter and Madagascar peppers and my companion choosing the diver scallops with a beautifully tangy sun dried tomato chutney.
Cooking seafood can be tricky, with a few seconds making the difference between perfectly cooked and chewy dry but they got it spot on. Both the prawns and the scallops were cooked to perfection. In fact the scallops were without a doubt the best I have ever tasted. As for my prawns, if I had never had this particular dish at Masso before, I would have been very happy, but having had it twice before I have to admit that while they were still very good, they were lacking that certain wow factor that had stopped me from trying something new for a change.
Moving on to the main courses, I opted for veal escalope with lemon and caper dressing accompanied by Dauphinoise potatoes. Cooked to perfection, the veal was almost melt-in-the mouth tender with a stunning smooth dressing peppered with big juicy capers. I’ve always thought it’s the little details that elevate a good restaurant to fine dining status and the potatoes were the perfect example of that with slices so thin they were almost translucent. My dining companion on the other hand wasn’t nearly as lucky with his choice of Wagu beef tagliatelle.
I’m no chef but Wagu beef is such a tender meat that it seems a shame to use it in a bolognaise-like sauce, since the tenderness is lost. Strike one. Strike two came in the form of the tagliatelle itself. Homemade and with the potential of being very good, sadly it was undercooked and, far from being al dente, it had a rather unpleasant, almost raw, chewy texture.
Two courses down and one to go and the tables were turned. For dessert I decided to go for something I had loved there on my first visit; balsamic strawberries with vanilla mascarpone. Sadly this time I was sorely disappointed. While the first time the balsamic vinegar reduction had been the perfect accompaniment to delicious juicy strawberries, this time the reduction was so intense that the smell of vinegar assailed the nostrils so strongly that at first I thought the mascarpone had turned sour. It hadn’t and was in fact delicious but the strawberries themselves were inedible.
My companion on the other hand chose the ginger infused crème brulée which was a delight to the senses. It was beautifully smooth and light with a perfect burnt sugar crust that made a satisfying crunching sound when tapped with a spoon.
I have always hated ginger but even I have to admit that it was a perfect end to the meal that almost made me forgive the anticlimax that was my dessert.
The bill (for two)
Garlic shrimp BD5.500
Veal scallopine BD12.500
Pasta with beef BD8.500
Dauphinoise potatoes BD3.000
Balsamic strawberries BD4.000
Crème brulée BD3.200
Total (inc service and tax) BD56.390
Time Out Bahrain,
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.