AS FAR AS GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCES GO, THE RITZ-CARLTON, BAHRAIN HOTEL & SPA HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD WITH ITS CULINARY OFFERINGS EVERY TIME. NOW, FOR THE WINTER SEASON, THE HOTEL IS BRINGING A PIECE OF ITALY TO BAHRAIN, WITH THE BEAUTIFUL CAFÉ VENISSA…
The former Boulevard Lounge, located just around the corner from the hotel’s plush reception area, now takes the name of Café Venissa. The café is so steeped in history; it’s inspired by the famous Italian coffee shop, Caffe Florian, which was opened by Floriano Francesconi in 1720 – the oldest coffee house in Europe. The significance of this concept is the chic and elegant Italian décor, combined with mouthwatering creations – the perfect place for a spot of afternoon tea and chats. The moment you step into this charming space, you get a sense that you’re in the enchanting era of yesteryear’s Venice as you’re immersed in classical music and surrounded by the 18th century dramatic atmosphere in the form of artful details on the walls. And of course the legendary service is yet another nod to that time period of grace and elegance. The finesse of Café Venissa is unbeatable.
Staying true to its historical legacy, the menu reflects a selection of the most irresistible items of the original coffee house. Starting off on a light note, we tucked into a leafy Insalata Venissa made up of shrimps, cucumber, bresaola, cherry tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella – a perfect way to break into the café’s offering, with a light crunch in the shrimps and a wonderful creamy taste in the buffalo mozzarella (note: each item on the menu has the Italian translation underneath for added awesomeness and authenticity).
Going into the deeper end of the menu, a classic was in order: the Club Sandwich Venissa. It does exactly what it says on the tin: it fills you up in just the right way, with layers of loaded flavour. You’ve got cheese, egg, radicchio (leaf chicory, mushroom cream (mmmh so smooth), smoked turkey, all packed between tomato bread. When spoilt for choice, pick a club, we say!
Now we always think of quiche as a staple to afternoon bites, so we opted for the Salmon and Spinach Quiche. With hearty pieces of fresh salmon laced within a neat web of spinach, this is an ideal accompaniment to tea or a long cooling drink, say a Shirley Temple or a Blueberry Lychee Lemonade? Top marks for the latter’s innovative concoction – such an interesting combination.
But of course, a café of this nature deserves praise in its dessert department. Without being too Stepford Wives about it, Café Venissa is tailor made for yummy mummies with a few spare hours to indulge. We had everything. Literally, everything off the dessert menu. The Fresh Fruit Tart, Lemon Meringue Tart, Raspberry Sorbet, Chocolate, Exotic Fresh Fruit Baba, a Plate of Five Macaroons Venissa and finally Caprese, with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. Can you see why we’re gushing so much about this place? The menu is nothing short of being reliably Italian in its genuine pick of bites and dishes. So how about an Espresso to get you in the mood?
GO: VISIT CAFÉ VENISSA, OPEN DAILY FROM 8AM TO 11PM. CALL 1758 6499 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION.