Mamma Mia!

For an evening of culinary exploration, Apple Sharma headed to Together & Co. restaurant at Hilton Garden Inn Bahrain Bay to experience its Italian Night.

Italian food is renowned worldwide for its simplicity, deliciousness and health benefits. This popular cuisine is also one my favourites, especially when I’m craving something comforting. So, the re-introduced Italian Night, which takes place every Thursday at Together & Co., was just what the doctor ordered at the end of a long work week.

Located at The Avenues – Bahrain, the Hilton Garden Inn Bahrain Bay offers breathtaking views of Bahrain Bay, making it an ideal backdrop for a pleasant evening out. Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by Mostafa Zakaria, the Head of Sales, who took us to the bistro-style eatery. He introduced us to the charming Head Chef Enrico Morselli, whose passion for Italian cuisine was evident in the spread he had prepared. The attentive Susan and courteous Amar ensured we were well taken care of throughout the evening, providing impeccable service with a smile.

The restaurant’s décor complemented the Italian theme beautifully. One half of the venue was specially transformed for the night, featuring tables adorned with red and white checkered tablecloths, vases filled with spaghetti and decorative glasses overflowing with citrus fruits and grapes. The setting was both elegant and fun – a cardboard photo frame in the colours of the Italian flag added a playful touch, inviting guests to capture sweet memories.

Adding to the lively atmosphere was Alphonso, an accordionist, who also played the synthesiser and sang a melodious mix of Italian and English songs. His music, ranging from upbeat tunes to the mellow theme of The Godfather, created a joyful and welcoming environment that set the tone for the evening.

The venue’s large floor-to-ceiling windows provided stunning views of the water and city skyline. The beige colour scheme, accented by blue and green hues, presented a cohesive wooden theme, from large columns to slatted ceiling and seating. The restaurant’s warmly lit interior featured downlighters and modern round glass pendant lights embellished with ropes. This cosy décor created an inviting atmosphere perfect for a relaxing evening.

We were ready for The Italian Night, as Chef Enrico talked us through the buffet concept that showcased some of the most beloved Italian dishes, with some exciting variations introduced by the chef.

We began with a hearty white bean soup served with crunchy croutons – ideal for whetting our appetite.

The Bruschetta Corner was a standout and one we haven’t seen elsewhere. It offered a variety of toppings, such as olive paste, caponata (eggplant relish), baked cherry tomatoes, basil and Sicilian tomato pesto and garlic confit. The toasting station and assorted bread allowed us to create our own bruschetta, making for a fun and interactive start to the meal.

The Salad Bar had a wide selection on display, from classic Chicken Caesar and Pantesca (potato and tomato medley) to pasta and seafood salads. The Caprese, with its fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, was a hit, along with the roasted aubergine medallions, which packed a flavourful garlic punch.

The Pizza Corner’s Pepperoni and Margherita options – both outstanding and surprisingly light – featured thin crispy crusts with gooey cheese and just the right amount of tomato base. My favourite, the Margherita, with its simple yet exquisite combination of fresh basil, mozzarella and tomato, was so delicious that it alone could have sufficed as a meal.

The live pasta station with its open kitchen view was popular amongst the guests, allowing diners to choose from a variety of pastas, sauces and condiments. I opted for a white sauce with rigatoni and a mix of vegetables. It was cooked al dente, coated in luscious silky sauce and seasoned with a hint of chilli – just the way I like it. Chef Enrico also prepared a simple yet delectable spaghetti with a medley of vegetables in a tomato sauce, showcasing the beauty of fresh ingredients and expert preparation. There’s something special about an Italian dish prepared live by an Italian chef – mamma mia!

At the Hot Corner, an enticing array of dishes awaited us, from Mushroom Arancini (crispy golden Italian rice balls) and Pollo Alla Cacciatora (a flavoursome traditional dish with pan-fried chicken in a tomato base) to Meat Balls and Seafood Stew. The fragrant Pesce in Crosta Aromatica (bread-crusted fish) was particularly memorable – soft, flaky and bursting with flavours of aromatic herbs. The Beef Lasagna hit the spot with its rustic, familiar taste, while the Broccoli Gratinati, with its creamy béchamel and parmesan topping, was a satisfying cheesy delight. Other noteworthy dishes included the Fried Calamari, crispy, crunchy and ever so moreish and the Eggplant Parmigiana, layered with rich tomato sauce and melted cheese.

Rounding off the feast, we headed for the desserts. Of course, no Italian meal is complete without the classic Tiramisù, which stood out with the perfect balance of creamy mascarpone and espresso-soaked ladyfingers. The banana and white chocolate cake was moist and delicious, while the Salame di Cioccolato, with a biscotti crunch and a decadent rich dark chocolate flavour, was my personal favourite. For a lighter finish, the Macedonia di Frutta (fresh fruit platter) provided a refreshing end to the meal.

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening, which was complemented with a couple of glasses of Italian grape for a truly authentic dining experience. Together & Co.’s Italian Night is a delightful journey, celebrating the country’s rich gastronomy. We left completely satisfied, eagerly anticipating our next visit. Buon appetito! ✤