Wed, 05 September 2018
Bahrain’s local cuisine is a favourite in my household over relaxed weekends or lazy weekday evenings. But what if you’re craving the smokiness of grilled meats and the flavour burst of meze on special occasions that call for a five-star treat? You head to The Westin City Centre Bahrain’s Furn Bistro & Bakery, of course! And that’s just what my better half and I did one Saturday afternoon.
Friendly stewards and the easy banter of chefs at work in the open kitchen gave the sophisticated venue a bistro-esque feel. The restaurant spills out into a corridor of the mall – a great vantage point if you want to take a break and just people-watch, while enjoying a fine beverage and a quick bite.
The Muhammara and Quinoa Salad were good choices to start the meal with. The distinct tang and pungency of the Muhammara clung to the taste buds for moments after it was swallowed. The salad was a fresh bite of summer – a mix of avocado, crispy greens, quinoa bouncing around the palate and the sweetest tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. We also ordered Makanik, comprising lamb sausages (because the words induced salivation) and Chicken Liver (because I was feeling brave). I tried hard to guess what gave the mini sausages their homely, heavenly flavour. The quintessential Arabic seven-spice blend, I was informed. I loved how the surrounding chunky green and yellow capsicum sauce lent a beautiful punch of heat. I’m usually not one for offal, but the moist chicken livers cooked with pomegranate, garlic and cilantro were just so tasty. The chef’s mastery was apparent in the blush pink (and not grey) of the livers.
Moving on to mains, the meat of the Oven-braised Lamb Shank fell off the bone when nudged. Paired with Marshoush Ades – lentils and browned rice – it made for a tantalising dish. Peeling the layer of dough from the Fie Qataah, we were hit by the aroma of herbed rice intermingled with succulent prawns. Crunchy fried onions and labneh, heavy with the essence of zaatar and mint, complemented the dishes perfectly. The Arabic Mixed Grills accompanied by tahina sauce and garlic mayonnaise, what one might get at the neighbourhood shawarma shop, is glammed-up several notches. It was a beautifully presented platter of juicy kebabs, koftas, lamb chops, shish tawook, pickles and rustic, hand-cut potatoes.
Cheesy Kunafa with a delicate coating of crisp vermicelli was a sinful dessert. But the trio of homemade ice cream – pistachio, saffron and date – made for a grand finale. The dry ice that the dish sat on gave a mystical, smoky effect that was a fitting show for such deep, delicious flavours.
The unique dishes on the carefully curated menu at Furn come from the hearths of traditional Arabic households. They carry the mysterious, elusive flavours of the desert oasis, which will swirl around your senses long after you’ve left the venue.
Call 17 171-441.