Time Out Says
A glass wall sandblasted with a geometric design separates the restaurant from the ‘Cucina’, where suitably stylish dishes are turned out. First up for us was an amuse bouche of smoked salmon with cream cheese, presented by a hostess dressed in a cool, well-cut slim-fitting black trouser suit – Armani, of course. Then came a basket of very good rustic Italian bread with a bowl of olive oil for dipping followed by our starters: green salad with mint-marinated lobster and bell-pepper sauce for my lunch date (fresh and tasty, though the leaves were a little limpand carpaccio for me, in which the paper-thin slices of raw beef came wrapped around crisp rocket leaves in a neat package, which, once opened, offered fresh flavourful forkfuls of the two.
The menu includes a good selection of Italian-classics-given-the-designer-treatment such as these, but happily the chef hasn’t fiddled too much with a few time-worn favourites, such as the very authentic tomatoey bolognese sauce with tagliatelle that my companion ordered. I went for the seafood risotto, which was packed with scallops, squid, shrimp and such in a creamy sauce. It was delicious, but the risotto was swamped by the other ingredients, so that it was almost like a bisque with rice in it and I would have preferred a stronger risotto presence (looked at another way, the excess of seafood does probably make it better value). Finally, to finish, I opted for panna cotta, which sat in the centre of a white plate surrounded by strawberries and a warm coulis. These provided a tasty complement and textural contrast to the chilled creamy panna cotta, which was slightly let down by the fact that it was rather dense and solid, hinting that it might have been prepared too far in advance. The scoop of pistachio ice cream served up on the other side of the table was, however, a flavourful delight.
While the bill was fairly steep for a mall café, consider that this chic little spot affords you a brush with Armani threads without forking out the designer prices. That is, unless you’re tempted by the delicious furniture at Armani/Casa next door.
The bill (for two)
2x Pineapple juice BD3.4
1x Mojito BD2.9
1x Sparkling water (small) BD1
1x Seafood risotto BD5.9
1x Tagliatelle bolognese BD3.8
1x Panna cotta BD3
1x Scoop ice cream BD1
Total (incl service) BD24.2
By Time Out Bahrain staff | 30 Jun 2009
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