VINS Dining

Just before Christmas, two friends and I had lunch at the newly opened Vins restaurant in Bahrain.

Vins is a New Orleans-style restaurant, serving Cajun and Creole classic food, which they describe as a mingling of French, Caribbean, African, Spanish and Native American, influences. It is situated in the Adliya district, just around the corner from Upstairs Downstairs. You may visit their website at VINS Restaurant for the exact location.

The atmosphere in the restaurant is superb. There is a very intimate cellar bar and the ground floor restaurant is split-level, with the main bar on the upper level. We arrived at 11:15, a little early, but we were welcomed most graciously by the restaurant’s manager, Dennis, who opened the bar so that we could have a drink before lunch. We chose to share Chilli Rellenos from the bar menu as an appetizer because the main restaurant does not open until 12 noon. It was delicious and just enough to stave off hunger until our main meal.

As a starter before the main course, we shared Tidbit Cajun, a combination platter consisting of Blackened Chicken, Cajun popcorn and Coconut beer battered shrimp. This was very good and plenty for three people although it was listed for two persons on the menu. The starters also include Oyster Rockefeller and Stuffed Crabs. Prices for starters range from BD2.500 to BD4.200. As a main course, we ordered Blackened Chicken, Red Beans and Rice, and Dirty Rice. However, the Red Beans and Rice contain chicken sausage instead of pork so was changed to another blackened chicken. My friends reported the chicken as good and tasty. My Dirty Rice, consisting of chicken liver, bell pepper, onion, celery and Creole seasoning was very good. The main courses also include Blackened Pork Chops, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, Crayfish Etouffee and Duck with Sauce Piquante. Prices for main courses are from BD3.500 to BD5.200.

We had an extremely good bottle of the house white wine with our meal (Bouchard Aine & Fils). There is also an extensive wine list to choose from.

We skipped desserts and coffee, but the dessert menu includes Banana Foster, and homemade bread pudding with lemon sauce. All desserts are BD1.600

The menu also includes salads (Shrimp Remoulade, Bourbon Potato Salad and Cajun Caesar Salad), and soups (Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Seafood Gumbo and Gumbo Z’herbes which consists of vegetables sautéed and blended with spices into a thick Creole soup). Prices are from BD1.900 to BD2.800.

Throughout our meal, we were serenaded by the great jazz divas, including Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee and Diana Krall. The music system is just right and not at all intrusive to conversation.

This restaurant is one we will definitely be going back to. For reservations, call 973 717101, or use their website.

Prices are subject to 15% service charge.

Britney B.