Villa Mama’s in Saar is possibly one of the busiest restaurants in Bahrain, catering to a wide spectrum of clientele. It’s widely spoken of, and I must say all I heard about the place is true. The food exceeded my expectations and certainly made me want to go back!
Proprietor and Head Chef Roaya Saleh likes to personally ensure each meal is cooked with passion and to perfection. Her love for food and cooking is most definitely infused into every dish. Roaya started cooking the age of 6 years old and hasn’t stopped since. Her not-so-secret recipe is love; cooking with passion comes naturally to Roaya, which becomes quite apparent when you meet her. Her style is widely imaginative cooking, blending flavours you’d never have imagined possible. Roaya is joined in the Villa Ma’s kitchen by acclaimed Chef Theo Botha bringing his international expertise and talent to the table.
The homely disposition of the restaurant takes you on a journey to the Mediterranean, whether it be the food, décor, presentation or friendly service. Stepping inside Villa Mama’s you are overtaken with its homely feel, entering through its cobblestone path into a warm and cosy setting. Roaya has decorated the entire restaurant with artefacts she’s picked up along her travels. The garden is lush and pleasing to the eye, with a plot of land at the back to grow organic herbs that go straight to the kitchen and onto your plate. Villa Mama’s is widely popular amongst locals and expats living in Bahrain – so arriving early for a meal is recommended in order to avoid delays and the crowds.
Be fair-warned of a burst of flavour in every dish you try – the Villa Mama’s signature style of cooking is to infuse different ingredients and create a concoction of complementary flavours in just one bite. Every dish on the menu vies to be a favourite at Villa Mama’s but the Quinoa Salad is by far one of the most popular dishes; consisting of fresh herbs such as dill, coriander, parsley mixed with tomatoes and cucumber and topped with marinated quinoa, pomegranates and walnuts. If you are looking for a light starter, Cheese Crispies is a great choice – cuts of cheese rolled into a pastry and pan-fried, served with fresh garnish and topped with maple syrup & honey. The Juicy Kofta combined two of my all-time favourites – lamb and potatoes. I am told it is Mama’s secret recipe, which combines a mixture of herbs in the Kofta Patti, flattened and served over a mound of fluffy potato mash with a sweet cherry molasses sauce, garnished with pine nuts. For a light yet delicious dessert, opt for the Muhallabiya, a classic rice pudding made with rice powder and garnished with sliced almonds.
My experience at Villa Mama’s was a constant flow of delectable courses bursting with flavour. The food was tasty, the portions were sizeable and I would recommend anyone to order with their eyes wide shut; every dish on the menu at Villa Mama’s promises to please. Villa Mama’s +973 173 05031