The Avenues Mall has finally opened in Bahrain and I now understand why it’s almost a tourist spot in nearby Kuwait. When you walk into the mall, you some how forget that’s where you are instead, your eyes and mind trick you into believing you’re walking down a bustling market lane with shops and interesting eateries every which way you look. The fact that it has a beautiful promenade by the water is a wonderful plus but, this is not a review of the mall, it’s a review of Le Pain Quotidien, or LPQ as it is commonly known to us non-French speaking folk.
A couple of days ago, I ended up having both breakfast and dinner at LPQ and was happy both times.
In the morning, I met up with some friends and we thought we would check out the new Starbucks in the mall. It’s supposed to be one of the best in the world. Not one of us were impressed. So, we backtracked to the rustic looking LPQ we had seen on the way there.
When you walk in, you are greeted by their very courteous staff and while you follow them to your table – either indoors or out – delicious looking bakes and pastries (think scones, muffins, cookies, cakes and tarts) are displayed very elegantly behind clear glass. You also see shelf after shelf of organic honey, jams, preserves and spreads which they sell to customers.
We ordered almond croissants, a raisin roll and bread and hummus to eat. We also ordered cappuccinos, hot chocolate and Moroccan mint tea to drink. The eats and drinks were fresh and tasty but not spectacular. However, the beverages are served in little bowls instead of mugs or cups. Although I was not very impressed in the beginning, I found that there was something strangely warm and comforting in holding a steaming cup of chocolate milk (or coffee or tea) to my lips to take a sip. The only draw back – since it is a wide-mouthed bowl, the drinks became cold very quickly.
Later that night, the husband, daughter and I decided to go to the mall again, and thanks to my marketing of the place, the husband insisted we stop by LPQ for a quick snack (which turned into dinner because they are quite generous with their portions). Their soup of the day was mushroom and their quiche of the day was chicken and leek. We ordered one of each and waited for about fifteen minutes before our order was served.
The soup was everything you could want from a mushroom soup. Thick, glossy, rich and earthy I would go back again and again if only to drink that soup during the winter months ahead. The quiche was also tasty, served with a side of roasted potatoes and a light salad. However, I found the flavour of the leeks was rather overpowering and I did not enjoy the quiche as much as I did the soup. The one thing missing in the menu is choice for vegetarians. Almost all their dishes have eggs or meat in them and so, if you’re a vegetarian, LPQ might not make it to your list of favourites.
It is not the cheapest place in Bahrain serving this cuisine. But, the ambience is rather special and all their ingredients are organic.
If you’re making a trip to the Avenues, stop and give it a try. I doubt you will be disappointed.
My rating: 4/5