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The Gulf Hotel Bahrain has become one of those permanent fixtures in the kingdom that is almost part of the architectural landscape. As a result, this humble journalist has to be honest, I have often overlooked it as a culinary destination.
However, my taste buds were intrigued and thrilled by the Typhoon Lounge at the Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Convention & Spa, resetting my expectations and rejuvenating my belly with some of their poolside delights.
Known primarily for its custom beverages and chill atmosphere, the Typhoon Lounge sits at the feet of the Royal Thai and the hotel’s pool area. The venue offers indoor and discrete outdoor seating, complete with seven feet-tall grass to maintain your privacy and make you feel like you are sitting in the middle of a Vietnamese jungle.
You can hear the activity of the pool without feeling compelled to entertain the company, which is perfect for an introvert like me.
There is a winding coy pond outside the restaurant, with coy fish from Japanese waters and turtles to give you company as you relax, enjoy the atmosphere and nibble on some waterside snacks.
And the nibbles will definitely delight your stomachs, as they did ours, almost leaving us in stupor on our seats, as we devoured the platter of appetisers, prepared lovingly for us by Chef Vida Padilla.
We started off with a round of chicken sliders served with potato wedges. The Canadian within me purred with pleasure as I bit into the slice of beef bacon tucked between two butter-toasted buns, cheese, pickles and of course, grilled chicken breast.
Next in front of us was a round of beef quesadillas. Chef Vida has a particular affinity for Mexican food, having recently worked at one of the Mexican-themed joints in Block 338. She infused this love into two tortillas, added some beef and sweet peppers and threw in a side of tempura French fries topped with Cajun spices for good measure and unforgettable flavour.
Starting to feel full already, we sampled a heathier option – the buffalo taco salad. It was packed with appetising avocado slices and leaves of lettuce topped with fresh corn crisps and spicy chicken, breathing some life into the purring taco cats that we were at risk of turning into.
As we paced ourselves for the seaside samplers yet to come, we washed down our delights with some delectable drinks. I went for the revitalising peach iced tea, while my compadres went for the famous Jojo’s mojito and the strawberry slush.
Seeing us alive, alert, awake and enthusiastic, Chef Vida indulged us with the Black Lemon Tempura, a selection of seafood including calamari, shrimp and hamour served with a tangy tartar sauce. It was all topped with the tart twinges of black lemon powder which filled out the fritter flavours. The hamour put us in good humour, with its crispy melt-in-your-mouth softness and Jalal, our handy hamour jefe (boss), gave it a perfect five-star rating, humming happily with every bite.
And don’t fret, we didn’t leave our vegetarian videographer behind. He snacked on a couple of mac and cheese fritters, which packed the taste of the ever-popular baked mac-n-cheese into single-bite delights. That was quickly followed by some Thai spring-rolls loaded with crispy onions.
Feeling like we definitely should have gone for a dip before devouring all these sizzling summer snacks, we were ready for a snooze or lounge in the shallow end of the pool.
The ambience of a relaxed Saturday afternoon, along with the mellow humdrum radiating from the pool was the perfect caper to yet another blazing Bahraini weekend and this roasted reporter was feeling satiated and well-hosted.
Restaurant manager Godwin Prabhakaran added, “We invite everyone to enjoy a relaxed evening with us amongst the evergreen tropical gardens while the house band, QBA Inside serenades us every day from Tuesday to Sunday.”
Go check out the Typhoon Lounge for yourself, which is open daily from 3pm to 1am and on Fridays until 2am. Typhoon also has happy hour every day from 3pm to 7pm and from 11pm until close.