I am not one for salad or starters, and if I have a choice to make between either dessert or main course, then there really is no choice…but tonight PL made me the most amazing meal. It looked like a salad for starters, it was made for my main course, but it tasted like dessert!It was all natural, with no processed flavourings, and had steak and raspberries! I wish I had taken a picture of it, but I ate it too fast.
Lunch at the Burj Khalifa seemed to be more of a tick in the box than a culinery treat. The worlds highest restaurant in the worlds tallest building…done! Just to get a booking was difficult and is usually booked weeks ahead. And because the restaurant is so high, it is in the narrower part of the building and is consequently quite small, so that limits bookings as well as the popularity.
However, one great benefit of the size is that you get a view that is almost 180 degrees through the windows.
The building itself is 828 m with 160 floors, and the restaurant is at 422 m on the 122 floor. As you enter the grill, you see the certificate from the Guinness book of records confirming that it is the highest restaurant from ground level. The food was wonderful, but pricey, and I can’t imagine going back there soon, not just because of the price, but also the inconvenience. However, as an experience and for the food, it was well worth it.
Featuring authentic Italian cuisine, Bice at The Pearl-Qatar is part of the legendary Bice Group which was established in 1926 when its founder Beatrice “Bice” Ruggeri opened her firsttrattoria in Milan. BICE is a traditional trattoria-style haute dining experience, but with the interiors of each restaurant having turned markedly urbane; yet the superb service remains traditionally homely, exactly as Bice Ruggeri first envisioned it. The restaurant is located on the first parcel of Porto Arabia, with a broad terrace that provides stunning marina and island views, and an architectural setting inspired by Tuscan, Moroccan, Italianate and Andalusian designs which, when taken together, create the wonderfully appealing ambiance of the Italian Riviera right here in Doha.
Everything was set up for the best culinary experience…except the food was a major disappointment. If the food had been served in an average restaurant I would have been disappointed, let alone such a gourmet establishment. Perhaps our choice of food from the menu was not to my liking, but of the 3 dishes, one was average at best and the other two well below. I certainly will not be rushing back, but if I were to go back, I would definitely be avoiding the veal and prawn dishes.
This is an American restaurant franchise whose concept is to create a classic American restaurant atmosphere. The theme is the diner-style restaurant that became a common sight by the 1950s. Decor includes Coca-Cola advertising featuring nearly life-size cardboard illustrations of women in WWII armed services uniforms, individual jukebox stations, chrome accents and red vinyl seats. The staff at some locations are known to sing and dance every half-hour. Making a smiley face with ketchup on the paper plate when served french fries is a Johnny Rockets trademark.
The whole restaurant reminds me of Arnolds from Happy Days.
I first went toin Dublin in 2005. Eddie had been in negotiations to buy the franchise, but instead stole the idea and renamed it. The branch in Bahrain opened around 2006, and has been a favourite ever since, despite probably being very unhealthy, and today was no different. Tasty, filling and unhealthy! All the ingredients to a guilty pleasure.
Rather than go too far for dinner on Friday night, we decided to drive the 4 minutes from the flat to Muju Restaurant and Lounge. There isn’t too much open on Amwaj, but this certainly makes up for it, and will certainly be a big draw when the whole island is finally fully occupied.
To be honest, the food and drinks were almost a secondary draw as the soft chairs and warm decor made sitting and chatting so relaxing whilst eating. I am pretty sure we will be going back again very soon, not just for the convenience, but also for the relaxation.
On the way to Poland for the wedding, I was serendipitously reunited with my tent mate from Mount Lobuche. The last time I saw her was at 6,200m before I had my accident and was flown out. Shari lives in Australia but was in the UK very briefly and we managed to meet up at Green Park tube. I expected we would go for lunch at the nearest sandwich bar, but she suggested the Ritz Hotel.
My immediate thought was to tell her that was a crazy idea, but then I abated, as I realised I had never been inside myself so why not? I knew it was going to be expensive and snooty, but it was worth it for the experience and what better company than one of the genuinely warm people I met on Everest.
As expected, as soon as I walked in we were surrounded by doormen and concierges asking if sir had a tie and did we have a reservation. Apparently it was full for lunch, but we were allowed to sit in the bar and order bar food.
To be honest, the whole experience reminded me of several gaudy tasteless 7 star hotels in the Middle East, with all the gold and gilt edged furnishings, and numerous hotel staff attending to every need. But it was good to have gone, and we had a great catch up of Everest stories, and a 20 pound sandwich, before we both had to head off.
I remember the Radisson Diplomat hotel being built in the late 1970′s and taking forever to be completed. In those days, the only real competitors were the Gulf Hotel and the Hilton (now the Golden Tulip). The construction was delayed for so long that other hotels were started later and finished earlier than the Diplomat.
Nowadays, there are a lot of changes taking place, with the Diplomat Residences being built in double quick time and a multi-level car park under construction. It is also a very popular place for the Friday brunch, with this last Friday before Ramadhan having over 1,000 places booked!
I met a friend for a working lunch at the Olivos Brasserie and enjoyed a quick buffet. The food was average, but the selection was extensive for a quick lunch, and they even provided coffee to go. With its central location, and for a working lunch, I found it ideal. 5/10
SpiderPig and I went to Trader Vic’s for a celebratory christening dinner. I wasn’t looking forward to it as I have never warmed to the restaurant or the food, despite the place being exceptionally popular.
The are several locations around the world, including Muscat and Bahrain. Each venue has its own atmosphere, but they are all based on a South Pacific/Polynesian Island theme, with bamboo and frangipanis prevalent.
The bar is almost another venue in its own right, with a Cuban band and numerous rum based drinks designed to knock you out, like the deadly Tiki Puka Puka! Vic even invented the world famous Mai Tai. I have had much better experiences in the bar, even though I don’t drink, than the restaurant, where I find the food priced right, and of great quality, but not to my taste.
Another theme, are the waitresses in long flowery dresses, but with slits up the skirts reaching eye-popping hip level. As a social venue, the place gets high marks, but as an eatery, the low marks are due to my negative Asian food bias, and should not put you off if you enjoy Asian food.
Cruising for somewhere new to eat, I suddenly thought of the Hard Rock Cafe on the notorious Exhibition Avenue. Recently this road has become more famous for hookers than hotels, although the two patently go hand in hand. This particular location has been open for at least 12 years, but only in the last 10 was it an official location, as previously it was a fake! Yes, its not only Gucci clothes and Louis Vuitton handbags that are pirated, this restaurant was too!
Going in was a bit like going back in time. I had a real 80′s preconception about the franchise, but that was when it really became popular, with franchises starting to open around the world, but with nearly 100 cafes opening up during the 90′s and perhaps nearly that many in the noughties, this is a modern fad with no signs of fading.
With music playing on the TVs hung on every wall and interesting memorabilia on the wall, I was very glad to be eating there, though it was fairly distracting, watching the MTV channel with songs from the 80′s and90′s that I hadn’t seen or heard in ages.
The history behind this franchise is quite interesting too…Back in the seventies, Eric Clapton, creator of the immortal “Layla” – liked to eat at this quirky diner in London called the Hard Rock Cafe. The place was this funky old building that used to be a Rolls Royce dealership, and it was run by a couple of young Americans, Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, two music-loving guys. Hard Rock Cafe was an instant classic.
So Clapton got to be friends with the proprietors and asked them to save him a regular table, put up a brass plaque or something. They said, “Why don’t we put up your guitar?” He handed over a guitar, and they slapped it on the wall. No one thought much more about it until a week later, when another guitar arrived with a note from Pete Townsend of The Who which read: “Mine’s as good as his. Love, Pete.”
Today there are more than 70,000 guitars, drums, pianos, harmonicas, microphones, shirts, pants, scarves, shoes, handwritten lyrics, cars, bikes, a bus and assorted rock memorabilia – by far, the largest, most valuable such collection in the world – on the walls of over 163 Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels and Casinos in 52 countries around the world.
So overall, the food was good enough, the price was reasonable, but the atmosphere is definietly the jewel in their crown…at least for me. I have only made 4 visits in 12 years, which is not nearly enough to get a higher mark than 6, but I might just be going more often now.
Normally I hate going out on a Thursday night. In fact I hate going out on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, especially at night. Let me qualify that. I hate it in Bahrain. Not because Bahrain is an awful place to go out. In fact the opposite. It is so good that 150,000 cars come over the causeway from Saudi and saturate the roads with bad driving and even worse parking. When you consider Bahrain only has 400,000 registered cars, with less than half of them in Manama, the influx at the weekends probably doubles the vehicles on the road in the centre of town.
Its probably a sign of old age, but I tend to stay in on those nights and go out into town when the Saudis have gone. However, tonight we went to Jim’s restaurant, which is now back under the stewardship of Jim Lawless after whom it is named. I have been going here sporadically ever since I came to Bahrain, and my sporadic but regular visits are all down to Jim and his cooking!
Jim is an amazingly warm and hospitable person, and his culinary creations are slightly bizarre, but sufficiently mainstream to suit most people. As well as his traditional Irish fusion menu, there is now an additional Indian menu which I unwittingly ordered from when choosing a dish of the day.
What I expected to be an English roast lamb turned out to be yet another modern interpretation with an Indian twist, and although unexpected it was very welcome. For a Thursday night, the restaurant was half empty which is a shame as it is a real gem, but being located in the restaurant haven of Adliya, with the severe lack of parking, I can only assume that many other people were avoiding the Thursday night crush and going elsewhere. Lucky for us!