Well…I am, without a doubt, still getting over the weekend. We drove to Bahrain late Thursday night and returned on Saturday. This was my first trip to Bahrain and my husband’s second. The drive was not a pleasant one. It rained, and it rained hard, practically the entire drive. The first three months I was in Riyadh it didn’t really rain at all. I think once, about a month ago, we had a hard rain that lasted about 45 seconds. To my surprise, I was so excited to hear the sound of rain. I thought, “What is this magical sound? Water falling from the sky?” It had quickly become foreign to me after just a few months of living in the desert. Then last week, all of a sudden, we had a heavy rain almost everyday.
After getting through the scary, dark and rainy drive and the chaotic checkpoint to get into Bahrain, we had a wonderful weekend. Bahrain is an incredibly pleasant island, with plenty to do. Because Bahrain is quite close to Saudi Arabia, spending the weekend there from Saudi is a common thing. On this occasion, we made the trip to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
We only had one full day, Friday, at our disposal. Brunch was priority number one and I chose Masso, an Italian restaurant at the Palace Boutique Hotel, as our destination. This brunch did not disappoint. It was a buffet with a much more dignified approach to the “all you can eat” dining experience. There, instead of lining up at a buffet table and piling food high onto plates in unpalatable combinations, diners remain seated and the waiter brings food out to the table as it is ordered. And oh was the food delicious! The menu was full of solid brunch choices, waffles, omelets, bacon, pork belly, potato casserole and many, many others. I wish I tried more items, but we will definitely return on our next trip to Bahrain. Even though they weren’t gluten-free, I tried the waffles and they were the stand out for me. Served with fresh whipped cream, berry sauce and a sprinkle of powdered sugar, they were perfection. I’ve been talking about getting a waffle machine for months. Perhaps the anticipation alone made them my favorite dish.
The decor of the restaurant is modern and sophisticated, but not too stuffy. There’s a lovely outdoor seating area with wicker chairs and viny foliage, which is relatively small. Since it was a nice day, I wasn’t surprised to find that all of the outdoor seating was taken when we got there. My only regrets about brunch are that I wish we were seated outside and that I had taken more photos, two things I vow to rectify next time.
Following brunch, we visited the souq, or street market. I really enjoyed walking around and people watching, as the sun was setting. Most of the shops sold cheap, mass-produced knick-knacks. However, we did find an interesting shop with a mix of herbal medicine, taxidermy and artifacts from around the region. The shopkeeper was very nice, though hesitant to sell many of his prized finds. With the help of an Arabic speaking friend, we were able to get him to let go of a painted panel from Kenya.
In the evening, we had dinner at a very good Korean restaurant (unfortunately, I don’t remember the name). Then we ended the night at a pub, which was really more of a nightclub (not my kind of thing), and I drank waaay too much red wine on top on the prosecco and soju from earlier in the day.