Adding a modern twist to Khaleeji food, Puja Tiwari finds this restaurant the definition of a great dining experience.
In the past few years, there has been a surge in eateries serving traditional Khaleeji and local cuisine. More people are embracing the region’s typical cooking including bright, beautiful mezze platters, savoury flatbreads, grilled meats and sugar-drenched pastries.
The newly-launched Furn Bistro and Bakery at the Westin Bahrain City Centre steals the show offering a fine-dining experience of timeless fare with a contemporary twist.
The décor is modern and spacious, predominantly furnished with earthy tones and marble fittings.
The food is skillfully prepared by Bahraini chef Manaf Al Ghanim and his culinary team. Chef Manaf came out to chat with us about the menu and, based on his suggestions, we placed our order for lunch.
As we waited for the entrée, I noticed bottles of preserves and olive oil adorning the wall, and inquired with the waiter, who explained that the preserves are made especially for Furn, and sold in-house.
First on the table is the classic Arabic staple moutabel, but with a hazy twist. It is smoked with apple wood and enclosed beneath a glass cone to capture the mist. As the waiter removes the covering, a robust aroma wafts around our table and we see the dip is garnished with pomegranate seeds and ribbons of carrot and cucumber. The presentation of this dish is simply dazzling.
The tabouleh salad arrives in a clear glass bowl, with finely chopped kale, parsley, quinoa and tomatoes resting on a bed of lemon slices. Accompanying it are coffee-infused vine leaves stuffed with rice and drizzled in pomegranate syrup. Having never been a fan of vine leaves, I wasn’t sure of this dish. But all it took was a single bite to banish my reservations. The tart flavour of the leaves is balanced by the sweetness of the syrup.
Our main course consisted of Fie Qataath, a Bahraini dish of baked chicken in mutabbaq bread and rice, meant to be turned over and served upside down. Chef Manaf explained that the dish is a speciality in Bahraini homes when guests visit. To taste, it is similar to biryani but has a more pronounced flavour. The chicken is tender and the portion is generous enough to share between two. As my dining companion was vegetarian, we opted for quinoa madrooba, a guilt-free take on the traditional puréed chicken and lentil recipe. Roasted pumpkin, sautéed veggies, dried onions and almonds are blended to a velvety texture, with the pumpkin lending it a sweet tinge.
Chef Manaf brought two gorgeous desserts to our table, Egyptian bread pudding Umm Ali and a sundae consisting of local halwa, cardamom panna cotta and rosewater sorbet. He went on to explain the riveting history behind the dishes adding in some other interesting facts along the way. The sweetness of the Umm Ali was balanced by the unsweetened pistachio paste that lined the plate while the sundae offered a kaleidoscope of flavours and textures, marking a delicious end to a hearty meal.
A bakery extends from the restaurant, where you can watch artisans working with dough to create authentic Arabic and Western items.
Furn offers a rewarding culinary experience at any time of the day and, being attached to City Centre Bahrain, is also perfect for a quick meal during a jaunt to the mall.
Call 17 171-441.