One of Bahrain’s leading hospitality groups is making waves with its brand new seafood restaurant, Samak, at Coral Bay. FACT went to check out the latest dining addition to the Seven Leisure Group’s portfolio…

When your next craving for seafood strikes, the recently-opened venue at Coral Bay might just be the answer to curb your appetite. Samak takes prime position, located at the top of a high staircase, enclosed in a huge round space that offers panoramic views from every table in the restaurant. Our first impressions – the space is bright and airy, and with its breezy blue and white décor, it’s somewhat reminiscent of a seaside tavern that you’d find on the Mediterranean, but with a more elegant vibe for a casual lunch or dinner. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, and as the venue overlooks the waterfront with the marina and the Muharraq skyline in the distance, it’s easy to forget the everyday hustle and just relax with a chilled drink and glorious views.

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In fact, being the only licensed dining destination on the corniche strip, Samak is
frequently packed on a Thursday evening as crowds flock in to enjoy some down time and a catch up with friends, with their choice of beverage in hand. Looking at the drinks menu, there’s nothing but choice here. From a large variety of cocktails, spirits, ales, and bubbly, as well as fresh juices and soft drinks, there’s absolutely something for everyone. We went for the fresh Pineapple and Strawberry juices. Each comes in a generously tall glass, topped with a cocktail parasol, tasting as delicious as can be! But, of course, the real show begins when the food makes its way out.

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Our starters consist of Hummous Beiruti, Tabbouleh, a Veggie Plate and a Mixed Seafood Salad. We quickly saw that Middle Eastern touches are present in the menu too, adding a different dynamic to the seafood concept. Everything is incredibly fresh and presented neatly where the colours pop. Dip a carrot stick in the hummous and stay on the healthy track if that’s your foodie aim; or tuck into the mixed seafood salad made up of shrimp, calamari and an assortment of vegetables like lemongrass, onions, lettuce and tomato. The dressing used in the salad (which we’re told is a chef’s secret!) is light but exquisite to taste! For mains, Samak offers a range of signature dishes, alongside sashimi, nigiri, temaki, and maki and special rolls.

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However, the standouts of the dining experience, including the catch of the day and an assortment of the freshest and most popular fish, are displayed on a large bed of cold ice, waiting for diners to pick their favourite and have it cooked to their preference. We opted for two Faskar fish, cooked in completely opposite ways.
The first was topped with tomato, coriander and ingredients that carried Mediterranean coastal hints – some would have called it a perfectly cooked, but plainer tasting dish. The second was a complete 180, taking our taste buds to the aromas and flavours of Thailand, with lemongrass and red and green peppers really infusing the fish with a mouthwatering, exotic tang – we loved it! When it’s time for dessert, hands down, you must try the Cheese Cake – it’s soft and creamy and the ideal palate cleanser after a savoury-led meal!

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Though the venue wasn’t particularly busy on our visit (it had only been open around 20 days), the food and the service speak volumes. With a bit of word-of-mouth and recommendation, Samak is set to become a very popular fish market haunt for foodies.

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GO: Visit Samak Restaurant at Coral Bay. Call 1731 2700 for more information