Just the day before I gave this place a try, I read a breaking post online about a lunch stopover by the ruler of Dubai. That kind of set the bar pretty high, I admit. I was about to tread in the footsteps of royalty.
Bahria certainly has the location going for it: the white sands and azure waters of the beach ahead matching the restaurant decor palette, the towers of JBR in the backdrop, the bustling open mall. The weather being what it is at this time of the year, throngs were thronging, and alfresco was the natural choice. Traffic at JBR is still awful, though -- it took me over 45 minutes to get to The Beach from TECOM. Next time, tram.
The pescetarian Arabesque fusion set sampling menu began with a seafood bisque (bottom right). It was not the typical bisque though, with the curry-like spices making it taste more like a laksa. Cold starters were generally good, especially the calamari salad (top right, right), the beetroot-shrimp salad (bottom left, center) and the dips. Among those the fish tajine (bottom left, right -- actually, strips of fish on hummus, not like the North African tajine) was the best, with the nutty house hummus coming in second (top right, top right). The shrimp fattet (top left) was interesting, but not really to my taste; shrimp with yogurt gave me a weird mouthfeel.
The only cold starter I could not quite take was the provençal (top); it was overpoweringly sour. The hot starters were great overall, though, and I liked the seafood kebbeh (bottom) the most -- perfect texture, inside and outside.
No complaints for the mains. The fish tasted fresh and cooked to perfection, and the sauces provided went very well with. The rice looked like it might be dull to the palate, but it was surprisingly good in its own right.
I had to skedaddle midway through dessert, but the ayesh al saraya I sampled before leaving made a perfectly sweet and creamy end to a generally very good meal.