What: Villa Mama's
In a nutshell: Traditional Bahraini food in Chelsea.
Summing it all up: After a successful first opening in her home country, Bahraini chef Roaya is now opening the second branch of Villa Mama’s all the way over in London. Step in for a breakfast flatbread with homemade yoghurt in their terracotta-lined courtyard, try a plum cocktail on the al fresco terrace or order far too much from their Mezzeh sharing plates menu.
Tandoor-cooked flatbreads, lamb and feta koftas and ‘Muhalabia’ rose water pudding are coming to Chelsea at Villa Mama’s, a new Bahraini restaurant from chef and restaurateur Roaya Saleh.
The food will echo the chef’s Bahraini childhood and will draw plenty of inspiration from its fellow GCC countries, meaning the Villa Mama’s menu will be full of lovely, flavoursome hot weather foods like peaches and plums, herbs, pistachios and walnuts.
As is often the case with Middle Eastern food, by far the best thing to do is order a little bit (read: far too much) of everything and share it around. There are plenty of small plates for you to do just that available in the Mezzeh selection, including the Tandoor-cooked Khubus flatbreads, Mathrooba slow-cooked chicken with rice and cracked wheat, a lamb and feta kofta. There's also a rather potent-sounding fermented sardine sauce, guaranteed to be authentic as it’ll be made by the chef’s Aunt just for the restaurant.
Other, larger dishes to look out for include:
- ‘Sayadieh’, turbot cooked in fragrant stock with pilaf and crispy onions
- ‘Tacheen’, a saffron rice cake layered with spiced chicken and pine nuts
- ‘Muhalabia’, Rose water rice pudding, almonds and pomegranate
- ‘Um Ali’, an Egyptian bread and butter pudding
They’ll be open for breakfast too, which will be revolve around pairing the Khubus flatbreads with traditional chicken livers, or eggs, homemade jams, cheeses and yoghurts. Plus options like baked eggs with spiced tomatoes and samosa with green peas.
If you want to drink, there’ll be wine by the glass, or the far more interesting sounding Bahraini-influenced cocktail list. That includes a sweet potato, pumpkin spice syrup, lime and whiskey concoction, or the ‘Prunus’ with plums, basil, Swedish basil and Montenegro golden rum. All the cocktails will be available without booze too, should that be your preference.
We have to say that the interior sounds lovely as well, full of descriptions of herb-filled hidden courtyards full of herbs, terracotta tiles, handmade Turkish curtains and tables topped with Breccia violetta
Photo by Carol Sachs
More about Villa Mama’s
Where is it? 25-27 Elystan Street, Chelsea, London SW3 3NT
When does it open? 25 September 2017
Find out more: Follow them on Twitter account @villamamas.