T&C tests: Villa Mamas
Located in the thriving enclave of Chelsea’s Elystan Street, Villa Mamas is a new restaurant that specialises in Bahraini cooking. The cosy interiors are elegantly minimal, with wooden chairs and white walls brightened by a colourful suzani wall-hanging that nods to the restaurant’s cultural provenance.
The menu is a tantalising mix of traditional Bahraini dishes, rich and laden with spices. For our first course, we ordered the kaskhe bademjoon, described on the menu as ‘Roaya’s famous Eggplant Explosion’, which was a salty and unctuous dish of aubergine layered with caramelised onion and toasted walnuts in a whey sauce. The khubus bread it came with was warm and chewy, and deliciously more-ish, while the crispy kale salad was flavorsome and enhanced by shards of tart green apples.
For the mains, Villa Mama’s signature dish is the mouthwateringly tender braised lamb shank, which arrived with a hearty portion of vermicelli rice garnished with pine nuts. For those who prefer fish, the grilled halibut was perfectly cooked and arrived with an enormous dish of herbed rice pilaf, along with a spicy green sauce.
After such generously portioned mains, we didn’t sample the desserts, although a quick scan of the menu revealed plenty to tempt us, such as the um ali, an Egyptian bread pudding with nuts and raisins, or the saffron ice-cream served with candy floss and pistachios. With its homely feel and convivial atmosphere, Villa Mama’s is the perfect place to while away a cold winter’s evening.
For more information and to book, visit www.villamamas.com.