Long-standing favourite, Bennigan’s, is the go-to restaurant in Juffair for some loaded Irish-American home comfort food. We went over one Sunday afternoon and had the best post-lunch slump…ever!
What comes to mind when you think of American style food? Burgers? Super melted cheese? Slatherings of sauce? Crunchy fries? Reliably stodgy and feelgood, Bennigan’s makes up the dream scenario of not only American cuisine, but a fusion of Irish too.
Bennigan’s has held a pub fare identity of historic proportions on the island for over a decade. Since it opened in Bahrain in 2001, Bennigan’s has always been the place where people have gone to enjoy great meatcentric American cuisine with a special brand of Irish hospitality. The vibe can be described as downtown casual, relaxed and inviting – very much your hang out environment on a Friday night. As soon as you enter the restaurant you’ve got a wall of pinned photos showing 1kg steak-eating successes – there and then you know this is the real deal – with perhaps a feeling of slight queasiness at the thought of attempting the same challenge!
The wood based décor gives an air of Wild West as well as homely familiarity. The booths are reminiscent of old school American diners with extra padded seats, flanked by framed memorabilia from yesteryear and the music played is a mix of now and then. In all, there’s rustic appeal. Now, time to get down and greasy. We start off with a Country Clare Sampler Platter, perfectly filled with nachos, Hogan’s egg rolls and Dubliner quesadillas – with a heart-warming dressing of thick sour cream and guacamole. It’s so easy to dive into the goods and not pace. But a word of warning: s-l-o-w-l-y. The rest is too good to miss!
And for all you buffalo chicken enthusiasts, there’s the biggest salad you’ve ever seen coming your way. The Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Salad (new on the menu) is a choice meal – but in true ‘eat heavy’ style, it’s merely a starter! Its rainbow composition of tender greens, carrots, celery, blue cheese pico de gallon and seasoned chicken breast on a huge crispy tortilla bowl is a real performance. It is simply spectacular to look at and even better to (literally) dig in to.
Onto the legendary favourites. The Stacked Chicken & Shrimp is a more modest offering, this dish is definitely the lightest of them all. The Cajun grilled chicken and shrimp bedded on a rice pilaf with a side of extremely juicy broccoli, is Grandma’s recipe delicious. But nothing can quite prepare you for the World Famous Monte Cristo. Words fail us. So here goes: it’s honey wheat bread layered with tender turkey ham, roasted turkey, Swiss and American cheeses – batter dipped, gently fried and coated with powdered sugar. It’s served with red raspberry preserve for dipping as well as fries. Filling doesn’t even cover the feels on this one! Every bite is so dense with flavour – especially when you add jam into the mix. It’s gooey, crispy and takes you to a happy place. Winner.
And if you’ve got space (there were four of us sharing these dishes so there was some leeway) try their desserts: House Made Bread Pudding With Praline Sauce or the Brownie Bottom Pie. The former is a melting marvel and the latter a chocolate sensation. Enjoy it to the max, because we certainly did.
GO: Visit Bennigan’s at Al Safir Hotel, Juffair. Call 1781 3750 or go to www.bennigans.com.bh for reservations and more information.