Mon, 03 July 2023
Ric’s Country Kitchen has been an institution in Bahrain since 2001, serving up hearty portions to hungry diners eager for a homemade American food fix. Now under new management, Kristian Harrison checked out the restaurant to put it to the taste test.
Everyone has a story to tell about Ric’s. Many a good night (and morning – those breakfasts!) have been spent within the walls of its converted villa – an iconic outlet nestled in a corner of Juffair.
My last trip there was pre-Covid, and unfortunately since then the original owner Rick Abernathy has passed away. After a rocky period, new management took over the operation just a few months ago, and the friendly team were more than happy to invite us to try out their new Ric’s and gave us a Great American Welcome.
The restaurant’s interior is definitely cosier than I remember, with eclectic décor encompassing everything from US state flags, pottery ware, old photographs of famous guests and Native American artwork.
Ric’s menu is classic diner fare, with huge American, British and Tex-Mex breakfasts, burgers, soups, sandwiches, hot dogs and steaks.
To ease myself in for the feast to come, I started off with a Tomato Soup with Garlic Bread, and was immediately impressed with the creaminess of the soup but also its tangy, slightly spicy taste. I also tucked into the Chicken Caesar Salad and was pleased to see that the chef had been extremely generous with the chicken, croutons and dressing rather than just piling it with lettuce.
After that it was time to get stuck into meatier fare and the Smoked Chicken Wings did not disappoint; tender on their own but even nicer when dipped in the accompanying garlic dip. However, I must say they were outshone by the Dynamite Chicken which was simply phenomenal, with the perfectly-crisped chicken elevated by the sweet-yet-spicy sauce.
All of this great food was making me thirsty, so I plumped for one of the many mocktails on offer, a Pineapple and Chilli Mojito (a little spicier than I was expecting!).
Next were the Nachos which were loaded with plentiful beef, refried beans, chilli, jalapenos, tomatoes and melted cheese. I appreciated the fact that the tortilla chips were crunchy freshly-made rather than out of a packet or slightly stale.
When the mains arrived, I first tried the BBQ Sandwich, which was packed with filling and textured well with the smoky BBQ sauce, although I think BBQ beans would have perhaps complemented it better than the Pinto Beans I tried. Luckily, the Coleslaw was up to scratch.
The centrepiece of the evening was the Rib Eye Steak, a 12oz beauty served with mashed potato, vegetables and Texas toast. Choosing medium-rare for the steak, I was pleased to see the chef get that particular balance right and not be either too tough or undercooked. There was also very little fat on the cut so I could enjoy the meaty goodness to the full, while the mushroom sauce accentuated the flavour.
After a short break and a palate cleanser, I had just the tiniest sliver of room for dessert. The Apple Pie was phenomenal, with the thick wedge emphasising no corners were cut on either the pastry or the filling. I also appreciated the dollop of vanilla ice cream on top to ease it down.
Overall, I was immensely satisfied with my visit and it is great to see Ric’s back on its feet again with great food to match its welcoming vibe. Here’s to many more memories!