With exquisite taste, comes exquisite meals, join FACT’s Sara Waddah as she dives into the seafood world with both her hands.

Having established its name over many years and earning the reputation of one of the best seafood restaurants on the island, The Fish Market at Al Bander Hotel & Resort is beyond phenomenal, with enough factors actively backing up this statement.

Having resided in Bahrain for a mere two years, I’ve definitely become acquainted with the culture and relationship the Island has with seafood. That being said, not every venue has been able to get it right, but when they do, the experience is one of a kind.

After a long drive from Manama to Sitra, we entered the resort and headed towards the restaurant, which is located right opposite the private beach. As we were welcomed by the friendly staff, they escorted us to our table and told us a little about the underwater journey that we were about to embark on. Showing off their freshest catches of the day and living up to the name, a wonderful ice-cold display sat at the front of the restaurant, featuring a wide variety of creatures from the sea, including magnificently large lobsters, all ready to be served to guests. Of course, once you pick the delicacies that you desire, the staff go on to prepare them the way you prefer – grilled, fried, baked, steamed or even boiled.

Excited to dive headfirst into this seafood extraordinaire experience, we started with the Bayshore Salad, which was beautifully prepared with shrimp and crab meat, avocados and tomatoes making it quite the colourful affair. The salad was served in a deep ceramic seashell bowl that, without a doubt, added to the entire experience – I felt like I was the Little Mermaid eating out of it!

The servers set our table with all the hot starters – with portions that had me thinking these were our mains – we were served the Mussels Persillade first. Doused in lemon juice broth, the meat of the mussels was tender and chewy, with a soft scent of saltwater giving it a light aroma. Having been sauteed with herbs, shallots, garlic and chopped parsley, all the ingredients were added to the subtle taste of the mussels making this dish definitely a crowd favourite.

Also diving into the Crab Skndrani (literally), I was urged by my host to use my hands for this one – cracking the shell right down the middle, the delicate grilled meat tasted quite different to the rest of the dishes, but at the same time, felt very much like a cool-breezy day by the ocean.

The great thing about seafood being one of the most nutritious things for your body, not a single shred of guilt swept over me as I indulged in all the bounties of the ocean one by one. With each dish literally taking my breath away, I made sure that I kept space for more.

Looking almost too perfect to touch, our main courses thrillingly arrived at our table – not only was excitement and curiosity washing over all of us, I was particularly excited to see that the Lobster Thermidor was topped off and then baked with parmesan cheese! What an addition! Competing as another show stopper, the Grilled Hammour was sliced down the middle, laid flat, and then topped with Turkish style chilli paste, olives, peppers, and tons of other surprises that made this dish absolutely spectacular.

With a spread like ours, it was only right that the table was also decorated with an assortment of freshly squeezed juices. Giving us the chance to try all the bright colours, I was particularly excited with the carrots with orange and beetroot with ginger drinks! An absolutely refreshing taste, beyond hydrating, as well as a slight kick at the end of it to make it all the more interesting. As we began to near the end of our feast, our crime scene table was cleared almost immediately, the dishes then replaced with an interesting performance including dry ice. At first, I was quite confused as to why the frozen carbon dioxide was brought out, especially since we had finished eating – usually, venues use this as a dramatic addition to meals to make it look aesthetically pleasing – but as the staff carefully allowed the smoke to plummet all over our table, we were informed that this was actually their special way of refreshing the air and getting rid of that fishy smell that we all knew too much of.

All in all, the Fish Market really allowed us to delve deep into the world of seafood. From the start of the journey to when their produce was caught to the preparation and thoughtfulness that have gone into their dishes, it is hard not to say that this might have been one of the best seafood experiences I’ve had so far. ✤


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