Just as the sun sets every evening, FACT’s Sara Waddah found herself at another dining table, but this time right opposite her favourite sunset scene, orchestrated by the very special Sofitel Bahrain Thalassa Sea & Spa.

Idefinitely love a good sunset, and Sofitel Bahrain has always been one of my favourite places to witness them from. Tucked away at the far end of the resort, this delightful picturesque waterfront venue is perfectly structured in a way that lets guests enjoy their evening from wherever they choose to sit.

Tapas, this perfectly located spot, enjoys a beautiful vista of the water. And with it facing the west, we get a stunning view of the sun merging into the Arabian Gulf. What a magical experience to witness the setting of the sun in such a place.

With the weather getting better, we already knew that we would opt to sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the breeze while watching day turn into night. With soft classic hits playing in the background, it’s really easy to just let go and live in the moment when you’re there. Ultimately preparing to go on a culinary journey, I allowed my mind to be at ease, my spirit was starting to relax, and my stomach was starting to rumble with hunger!

Every time I return to Sofitel, the lovely staff welcome me and make me feel as though it’s only been a single minute since they’ve seen me. With the kindness, friendliness and warmth I was receiving, I could tell that the team was as excited to show me the brand-new menu, as I was to try it.

Getting us started with some expertly crafted artisanal beverages to warm us up into the evening, Chef Marco stopped by momentarily to tell us a little about the new additions to Tapas – combining some of the guests’ favourites, alongside several new traditional dishes, the emphasis is on making sure that visitors can enjoy top-notch gastronomic offerings with reasonable prices at this incredible venue. Starting us off with some cold tapas, an honorary mention must be given to the Ceviche De Corvina. Delightfully placed on bite-size pieces of avocado, and then flavoured with lemon juice and a special passion fruit coulis, the Sea Bass Ceviche felt nothing less than a bright, sunny day in the Mediterranean. With the freshness of the fish combined with the powerful flavour of the juices, each bite surprised me – it was definitely like nothing I’ve had before and so pretty.

Turning my attention to the hot tapas on our dining table, I quickly focussed on the Croquetas De Pollo. Baked to utter perfection giving it a crispy exterior, and then stuffed with a gracious amount of chicken, accompanied by some romesco sauce, the croquettes were not only a delightful starter, but genuinely made me feel like I was back in Catalonia by the beach. Everything was going so perfectly that I had to remind myself I was actually only 20 minutes’ drive from my home!

As the sun began to slowly disappear into the waters, Tapas was starting to get busy, seeing an influx of guests coming in for a wind-down session after toasting in the sun for the majority of the day. It was cute to be honest. At this point, I was already filled with the good vibes and tapas, but I was truly looking forward to diving into the seafood main course! As our server brought out a beautifully grilled octopus served on a bed of boiled potatoes, drizzled with olive oil and romesco sauce, I had to take a moment to just appreciate the preparation that went into the dish and how picturesque it looked – CLICKED FOR INSTAGRAM. Check! Reminiscent of the first time I experienced Pulpo Ala Gallega by the coast of Spain, this dish was tender, succulent, crispy on the outside with a slight flavour of smoked paprika that was able to bring it all together. The boiled potatoes also played a significant role in combining all the flavours and giving the octopus the perfect accompanying ingredient.

Giving us a heads up that we still had one more special dish to go – the culinary team began to rave to me about their infamous Bao Buns, which I could see for myself were a crowd favourite! Delicious, warm, fluffy and stuffed with braised beef, the combination of the saltiness of the meat alongside the sweetness of the Ruby Slaw that was added in the mix made a perfect match for sure. Having saved a little space for their Royal Chocolate Cake, that was served with Caramel Sea Salt Sauce, you could tell that I was definitely satisfied by the massive grin that never left my face the entire night. Happy stomach, Happy spirit, Happy Sara! I can’t wait to go back again. ✤