Friday, December 26, 2014

A Place Like No Other (aka BossyKitchen)

Let's rewind to 2 years ago, when I started hearing a lot of buzz around this new stall at Market338.  This stall (called BossyKitchen) created a dessert that was all people could talk about.  This sensation was called 'the brookie'. It was a morphed dessert that combined two sinful treats - the cookie and brownie.  I managed to visit their stand and met two individuals, Mohammed and Aysha, individually unique but shared the same passion - to offer delicious and good-for-you food.  BossyKitchen was infused in my mind.

A year later, I contacted BossyKitchen again to cater to my best friend's birthday party and let me tell you - they delivered (physically and figuratively).  Another positive memory found its place in my mind for BossyKitchen.

So when I got invited by this dream team to try out their new restaurant, I said yes before I even knew what I was getting myself into.

When this much effort and thought going into an invitation, you make sure your evening is cleared up.  The location was kept secret until 24 hours before the event and we were not to disclose it until told (ooh the suspense).  We were asked to be there at 6:58pm sharp.

So after several clues (which I guessed 0 of) and missed calls, I finally found out the location - Al Reem Center.  The best part is that it's in Riffa, easily accessible, and with ample parking (front and back).  

At 6:57pm, I was outside their door and lo and behold, at 6:58 sharp the doors were opened and we were beckoned in.

We were greeted by Mohammed and Aysha, who I was 1000% sure were as nervous as could be, but appeared cool and collected.  We were seated and given refreshing, fresh, cold-pressed drinks.

The interior was as cool as they were.  A contemporary mix of industrial and earthy, I loved every single detail.  Concrete slabs, wood trunks, greenery.  The attention to detail was so apparent, and no corners were cut, no improvisations.  
Love this
Log stool
Sunny-side up?

We were then asked to go upstairs for the proper dining experience, and if I must say, my stomach is still doing summersaults after the ride from last night.

And if I thought considerable effort was put downstairs, that was an understatement for what I saw upstairs.

I will leave the pictures to speak for themselves as I don't trust that my words will do them justice.
Upstairs *insert heart emoticon here*
Our seating
Blooming-colander centerpiece
Laser-cut books
A fitting chandelier
Love this

Home-grown ideas

Now excuse me for the location of this picture, but I just wanted to point out how much thought was put into this place, that even the bathroom couldn't escape.  An appropriate jab at our narcissistic society.  Kudos guys.
Powder room

And now for the main event, the food.  For starters, the menu looked elaborate.
Minimalist table setting

Carefully selected, passionately prepared. Here's what we devoured.  

The starters were 3-types of dips served with freshly baked crispy bread.  I wanted to spoon them into my bag and take them home.  The dips (eggplant,  pumpkin, and hummus) were bursting with flavor.  Eggplant with a thick and tangy tomato sauce, green hummus that was smooth and tantalizing, and the pumpkin that was chunky and delicious and topped with caramelised crispy onions.  NEXT!
The menu and dip-trio

This is one of my favorite BossyKitchen dishes, the waraq kale.  A twist to the traditional waraq inab (or vine leaves), this is stuffed with brown rice (I think), wrapped in kale, then drenched in tangy sauce and finally topped with morsels of pomegranate.  Well, hello there.
Waraq Kale

Unfortunately, I couldn't take a picture of the lentil patties nor the zucchini balls.  I think it was mostly due to the fact that they were vacuumed into our mouths the moment the plates hit the table.  The lentil patties had a side sauce that was spicy and yogurty and again, I wanted to take home with me.  The zucchini balls were breaded and full of real zucchini flavor - no substitutes here, folks.

Now for the salads.  Fresh, colorful, and so different!  The spicy string bean salad was crunchy, spicy and tangy.  My most favorite flavors all morphed into 1 plate.  The goat cheese beetroot salad was the perfect green salad jazzed up with thin slivers of crunchy (raw) beetroot and goat cheese that was creamy (and not at all goat-y).  Finally, my favorite salad - the cauliflower salad.  Crispy blanched cauliflowers with creamy yogurt dressing and pine nuts.  What's there not to love? Sigh.
Spicy string bean salad
Goat cheese beetroot salad
My favorite - the cauliflower salad

Can you believe we just got done with the starters/appetizers?  Now the entrees.  A funky Bahraini sushi (sweet rice and deep fried fish), a oh-so-delicious sweet potato gnocchi that was bubbling hot when it reached our table, and a baked crispy chicken sandwich that I would like to marry (apologies to my husband).  
Bahraini sushi
Baked-that's-just-as-good-as-fried chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries 
To-die-for gnocchi 
And now for the final course, dessert.  As much as I wanted to, I could only try two of the three desserts laid out in front of me.  From left, rose cheesecake (which I had no room in my stomach for), the pumpkin donuts and the bread pudding. The donuts were amazing.  Lightly sugared and a perfect balance of flavor and texture, they would be perfect for breakfast, dessert or even a guiltyless snack.  The bread pudding was served warm and had chocolatey-caramel swirls going through the mason jar.  My brain was telling me to finish the jar completely but my stomach could only fathom half the jar.  I regret that now.

It was an elaborate meal, planned carefully with a lot of love, and every morsel was enjoyed by all the guests.  I got to meet some people for the first time and also enjoyed the company of people I knew - so I can also add that careful planning was put into the guest selection.  

It was a beautiful evening and I want to thank Mohammed and Aysha for bringing their dream to life. 

Here's to an awesome new journey, you two.

Additional info:
BossyKitchen will be opening its doors on January 5,  2015.
For more info, follow them on their instagram account at @bossykitchen
BossyKitchen is located in Al Reem Center, in the great city of Riffa.

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