Sophisticated food in superb surroundings 1 Reviews
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At the risk of leaving some readers a little confused (ask your mum), I think we had a bit of a ‘When Harry met Sally’ moment in Bice the other night.
The noises of pure ecstasy coming from my pal’s lips could have been quite embarrassing if the place had been any busier!
Who knew a restaurant sitting in a mall could be quite so special? OK so it’s Moda Mall where all the designer brands hang out but I honestly didn’t expect to be so impressed.
The whole dining experience starts when you walk through the door into a huge glass structure which could easily be impersonal but is in fact cosy enough for diners to really enjoy the fantastic view.
Both being smokers, my dining companion and I were delighted to find that food’s also available upstairs in the cigar lounge where we collapsed into chunky, comfy armchairs close to the bar and wondered why anyone would sit anywhere else.
For starters we chose sautéed clams and pan seared scallops for my pal and black cod tortino with pine nuts, rosemary and red vinegar for me.
Less said about the scallops the better as they were overcooked and a bit chewy but the clams more than made up for it with a tender, juicy melt-in-the-mouth consistency that brought forth the first of the evening’s squeaks and the juice with crostini was like a taste explosion on the tongue.
Though more of a hash than the pattie I was expecting, my cod was perfectly cooked, just the right side of firm and the pine nuts made for the perfect accompaniment adding that little bit of woody piquancy to the sea food.
My main course of lamb chop rack in Tuscan garlic and herb sauce with roast potatoes, mushrooms and olives presented a cacophony of complementary flavours. I would never have thought to put black olives with mushrooms, but it really worked and the lamb had me thinking ‘thank goodness for a chef who actually understands the concept of medium/well done’ it was pink and succulent but still firm enough not to have any hint of rawness.
The osso buco chosen by my friend was a triumph, despite a first mouthful which had us both slightly concerned it might be chewy. We needn’t have worried, it was clearly simply the variation in the thickness of the meat as the rest of the very generous portion simply fell off the bone and the sauce brought another of those little squeaks of pleasure as did the saffron rice which my chum pronounced ‘absolutely perfect’.
Our desserts were a little surprising since neither was what we were expecting, I chose chocolate mille feuille with pears and almond fondue and my dining companion went for the soft chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream and Millefiori honey.
The pastry on my mille feuille seemed not quite the layered concoction I anticipated but it was none-the-less delicious with fresh raspberries and blueberries added fand the almond fondant actually stopped me speaking!
My pal’s soufflé had a soft melting centre which achieved the same feat apart from those, by now familiar, little squeaks.
That the icecream wasn’t home made was a bit of a disappointment but the waiter explained that this was because the pastry chef was on leave and the shop-bought replacement was of the highest quality so we weren’t too upset.
Throughout the evening we sampled various drinks from a barman who likes to show his creativity and, though our evening wasn’t cheap, this restaurant really made a big impression.
Coming from my would-be chef pal, the statement ‘this is the kind of cooking I aspire to’ is high praise indeed, so the guys at Bice can be justifiably proud.
The bill (for two)
1 scallops BD7.500
1 tortino di merluzzo (cod) BD7.000
1 osso buca BD12.750
1 lamb chop BD13.000
1 cioccolatissimo (soufflé) BD4.500
1 mille feuille BD4.000
1 large water BD1.800
1 Diet Coke BD1.300
Total (inc tax) BD59.62
Time Out Bahrain,
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.