Well guys, it finally happened.
As of February 2017, Bahrain is officially home to a 100% plant-based, vegan gourmet restaurant. I know, I can hardly believe the words coming out of my
A collaboration between the renowned culinary powerhouse Matthew Kenney Cuisine and two lovely local ladies, Plant Cafe boasts a clean and modern aesthetic as well as nutritious and innovative plant-based cuisine. As well as being Bahrain’s first vegan restaurant concept, Plant Cafe is also Matthew Kenney’s first restaurant to open outside of North America – who would’ve thought little old Bahrain would have such an honour!
In any case, having waited patiently for months on end, I was delighted to finally get to see the wonderfully serene space and sample some items from their breakfast menu.
First up were the beverages.
I opted for the All Green juice of kale, spinach, cucumber, celery and parsley and it definitely did not disappoint. As someone who frequently asks for the fruit to be omitted in my restaurant-served green juices, I was thrilled to see this option readily available on the menu. It was incredibly rich and fresh – but if you’re not a fan of “green-tasting” things I would probably advise you try a smoothie or their sweet green juice which contains apples as well.
B went for the almond milk mocha which was wonderfully brewed with just the right amount of chocolate and espresso melded into one.
For my main, I just couldn’t resist trying the Socca Florentine; chickpea flatbread rounds whipped up a la eggs florentine with spinach, tomato, smoked shiitakes and what I assume was a vegan version of a Hollandaise sauce (but don’t quote me on that).
First of all, can we talk about how beautifully presented this dish is? I almost felt bad digging in with my knife and fork. Taste wise, it was just as impressive, with the light and savoury flavours balanced beautifully. My only complaint is that there just wasn’t enough of it – I could’ve easily eaten a double portion.
If I had to choose a savoury winner however, it would be this.
Polenta scramble made with sweet potato hash and green harissa. Don’t ask me what was in those green balls, because the answer is I have absolutely no idea, except that it tasted positively divine. A true treat for the tastebuds.
And of course, no gourmet vegan breakfast would be complete without a sweet component. French toast served with berry compote, orange macadamia yogurt and star anise maple.
This too was heavenly, and incredibly moreish. I particularly loved the tart macadamia yogurt which perfectly complemented the sinlessly sweet compote and maple syrup.
Overall, I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with Plant Cafe. The level of meticulous detail in every dish did not go unnoticed, and the perfectly curated decor and ambiance made me feel instantly at ease and serene. The service was infallible, and all the food arrived incredibly promptly. Taste wise, the dishes were all sensational, and definitely a cut above your typical vegan brunch food – you can definitely tell that there was true artistry and talent involved in the cultivation of each flavour and texture combination.
In terms of price – I won’t lie, it was definitely on the more expensive side, especially given the portion sizes. Although the food tasted phenomenal, we found ourselves getting quite hungry shortly thereafter. That said, they do make it clear that only the freshest produce and ingredients are used to create both nutritionally balanced and flavourful dishes. Also, there’s something to be said about being able to walk into a restaurant and know that you can order every single item on the menu, it’s so liberating and makes the dining experience that much more enjoyable.
Would I return? Absolutely. Even though it is unlikely to become a regular haunt, it will definitely become one of my go-to’s for those special treat days and I’m beyond excited to try the rest of their dishes, particularly their lunch menu.
Plant Cafe is located at Shop 7 / Hamala Hills Building 896, Road 7914 / Block 579. Al Janabiyah Bahrain
You can call them on 0973 1700 1677, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website for more information.