Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Souq Gourmet hits Riffa

Imagine this for dinner:

Succulent Sage & Sirloin grilled burger, wrapped in lettuce or a sesame bun, topped with Alghalia fresh local greens and and a side of Alghalia juicy mixed cherry tomatoes.  And for dessert, warmed up Vanilla Villain brownies with a side of vanilla ice-cream.

You can find all these brands under one roof.  A roof that goes by the name of Souq Gourmet.

Souq Gourmet opened its doors about 2 weeks ago. I managed to go the 2nd day it opened and boy was I pleasantly surprised.

Although it's relatively smaller that your average supermarket, it is jam-packed with products and stacked so neatly that your eyes don't get overwhelmed.

The magazine rack is pretty impressive and carried some of my favorite titles.
Photocred: SG
They also had some interesting candy that I did not see anywhere else on the island.  My daughter went berserk trying to find the "ONE ITEM" I allowed her to get.

The owner tells me the concept of Souq Gourmet  (SG) is pretty straightforward: products are carefully selected and made available in-store.  You won't find 15 types of ketchup here - but you will find 3 or 4 of the most popular and of highest quality.  So as a frequent shopper - I benefit because I don't waste time going through massive amounts of generic brands that are not relevant to me. 

Add to that the concept is pretty unique, not just to Riffa but to Bahrain as a whole.  There's a gourmet cafe that serves Camardo caffe exclusive to SG.  I tried the coffee and the cappuccino was seriously delicious.  I loved the fact that I asked how many sugars I wanted and it was mixed in for me. Score!

It is also home to Tobacco Road, Bahrain's premium (and only) tobacco and cigar shop - for all you cigar aficionados out there.

One of my favorite brands they carry is (drum-roll) - Sage & Sirloin.  I usually have to drive to Hamala to get some of their delicious burgers but now they are within a 10-minute drive and there's always time for a little barbecue.

SG also boasts a full-fledged bakery and has freshly baked treats daily.  I also found out a few day ago that Vanilla Villain's sinfully delicious treats are baked and sold at SG.  The cookies are gooey and full of flavor, and the brownies...don't even make me go there.
Photocred: SG

Photocred: SG

One thing that stands out is the customer service.  The staff are so polite, so helpful, it was shocking.  Sometimes we find ourselves getting accustomed to nonchalant staff or a supermarket attendant that pretends he doesn't hear you when you ask for help as he is busy stacking a shelf.  Not in this case.  I walked in last night to grab a few things I could carry in my hands and was chased by an employee with a basket.  The cashier, the barista, the manager, and the attendants are all genuinely happy to be there - and it shows.

One initiative recently communicated by SG is their support of local farmers.  They have started stocking Alghalia produce (which I LOVE) and are also looking at other farms to expand their produce selection.  What a great initiative and I hope more businesses follow suit.
Local farm SG visited recently. Photocred: SG

All in all, the experience you get when you walk though the doors of Souq Gourmet is truly special - consistently smiling staff, convenient and unique products, great coffee and baked snacks, and of course, Sage & Sirloin.

Additional Info:
Shop location: West Riffa, where 24 hours used to be located.
Shop timings: Open all week from 6:30 to midnight.
You can follow SG on:
Tel: 17650255.
Map available here
Twitter & Instagram: @souqgourmet
 and look them up on Four Square.

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