Two Spoon tastes: Woodlands

Ignore the décor and come for the thalis.

As happens so often, we discovered Woodlands whilst looking for something else. In the baking furnace of midday Manama, we had hoped to come across a Gujarati vegetarian restaurant. When we found it, it was derelict and abandoned and the shutters hadn’t been opened for what could’ve been years.img_0670-6

Disappointed, we threw caution to the wind (figuratively speaking, as we will visit anywhere) and opted for the closest restaurant we could see to spare ourselves from the heat. Inside, the restaurant was painted in a dark, ill-advised plum color and one of the piercing white lights was strobing. This, combined with the flickering shadows from the fans whipping around, gave me a feeling which I can only liken to sea sickness and I was unusually quiet for most of the meal. I’m sure Mo was secretly delighted!

Woodlands is a vegetarian restaurant and, of course, we had arrived at lunch time, which can only mean one thing… thali time!img_0677-8

Within minutes we were tucking into a small, yet deceptively filling lunch complete with steaming chapatti and an abundance of rice. Our thalis contained an interesting dish which we initially thought was a tofu curry but, in fact, the little sausagey-looking things turned out to be made from chickpea flour and were actually really tasty! The channa dish was also a surprise with its fruity, turmeric-infused sauce.

All in all, the food was excellent and I would happily return for a pit stop whilst on a souq wander!

Two Thalis  =BD 1.500

Great for vegetarians. Meal for Two: Two Thalis =BD 1.500

Dine-in, take-out.
Tel: +973-32001905
Location: Manama Souq
Opening Hours:
Every day: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.


A Lotta Falafel

Niche entry: Ahud Cafeteria.

A while back, Mo came home with falafel from Burgerland in one hand and chicken shawarma for me in the other. I promptly ridiculed him, telling him he’d be hungry in an hour if all he was going to eat was beans and grass.ahud1

Oh how the times have changed. I’d since then become vegetarian (or pescatarian if you’re into labels) and I’ve noticed that it’s very difficult to find quick and easy takeaway food.

Remembering Mo’s falafel, I decided to begin the Great Falafel Hunt, starting with a couple of restaurants by our house. Unfortunately, they were always too dry, too oily or just plain old boring. Finally, my search ended at a little hidden gem of a place: Ahud Cafeteria in A’ali.ahud2

I won’t lie, the rest of their food is average, cafeteria food. My friend asked for a shawarma and got a diced-up chicken hotdog in a sub roll, so that kind of says it all.

But! Their falafel is the best falafel I have ever eaten. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, delicately flavored and so perfectly complemented by whatever the hot sauce is that they use. They aren’t heavy on the oil either which makes a huge difference to the flavor.ahud4

Super cheap, so you really have nothing to lose by trying it out. I’ve personally raved about them to just about everybody, to the point of forcing them upon friends when they visit the house, forcing them upon colleagues at work…I’m sure you get the picture.

The guys who work there are friendly, speak a little bit of English but better Arabic and will greet you with a smile every time, especially when you keep coming back!

Meal for Two:

Two falafel sandwiches (200 fils each) and nine falafels (300 fils)
=BD 0.700 (SR 6.96)
Opening Hours: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. / 5:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Location: Avenue 38, A’ali, Bahrain


Happiness is a Good Meal

Two Spoons presents: Sri Gowri Kkrishna.

Life in our little city of Manama is infectious and diverse, with so many people from all walks of life coming to shop, eat and even just enjoy the day out and about.

While driving around I had spotted a big restaurant with a plain green and white sign outside called Sri Kkrishna. That’s right, two K’s. We walked around for a while trying to find it – not wanting to give up our gold dust of a parking space – and eventually got there with half an hour to spare until they closed for the afternoon. Already fearing the worst – running out of food, no tables, etc. – I felt a little dejected.img_0255-7

Two seconds after opening the door, all my fears evaporated as the place was bustling away, the waiters were all smiling and friendly and the food looked amazing in the little thali trays that seemed to be on everyone’s table.

We went simple, with Mo ordering a thali (basically a selection of dishes featuring a range of flavors all served up in one platter) and me ordering my favorite chana masala (spiced chickpea dish)which was simply excellent. I am seriously considering doing a ‘Top 10 Chana Masala’ article in the future as every restaurant is just so different when it comes to this staple dish.img_0229-4

We sat in relative companionable silence doing our crossword as the throng of customers gradually subsided and the waiters began to clean up around us. I polished off the last of Mo’s gulab jamun and we paid up, feeling a thousand times better than we had an hour before. Isn’t it amazing what a good meal can do for your mind? Food really is the best medicine!


Lunch: Thali, Chana Masala, Chapatti =BD 2.500


The True Taste of South India

Two Spoons shares their experience at Swagat.

One of our favorite little places is this vegetarian restaurant, Swagat, sandwiched between a couple of tailors in Manama Souq.

The host comes over with a grin from ear to ear and welcomes us in – remembering us from our last visit which was at least eight months ago if not a year. “Long time, sir!” he says to Mo, ushering us to the same table we used the last time.1

We have the laminated menu in front of us, but unless you already know what dahi sev puri actually is, it’s fairly useless when it comes to ordering. So, we do the only thing you can do – ask!

We start off with thali (a plate with a few small different curries) and a masala dosa. Halfway between a crispy pancake and a Sri Lankan hopper, this huge folded parcel of spicy potatoes hits the spot every time.As always, the meal is fantastic. Full of flavor and spice without being so hot you can’t taste anything (a pet peeve of mine). The food is filling and the bread is so good that it is next to impossible to leave any crumbs behind. The waiter comes around halfway through with a pan of rice from the kitchen to top up everyone’s plates and beams with genuine delight when we enthuse about how delicious the food is.swagat_bahrain_2017_mz_1

As always, the meal is fantastic. Full of flavor and spice without being so hot you can’t taste anything (a pet peeve of mine). The food is filling and the bread is so good that it is next to impossible to leave any crumbs behind. The waiter comes around halfway through with a pan of rice from the kitchen to top up everyone’s plates and beams with genuine delight when we enthuse about how delicious the food is.

We finish off lunch with two cups of the strongest black tea imaginable and pay our bill (handwritten of course) before making our way back outside to the sweltering sun of the souq.

Meal for Two = BD 3.200

Swagat Restaurant
: Manama Souq, end of Al Muatasim Ave., Manama, Bahrain
Tel: +973-17225137


Ramadan, Island-Style

By Sally Bosson

What it’s like to celebrate Ramadan in Bahrain.

 The summer lies in wait here in Bahrain, with the days getting longer, hotter, dustier and more humid. Water will soon no longer run cool from the tap and the days of wandering through the villages and souqs will be over.

Above all else though, a festive anticipation for Ramadan is already bubbling away – childish excitement tempered by a slight solemnity. This month is for spending time with family and friends, reflecting on life and devoting extra time to faith.

The tiny island of Bahrain is a large melting pot of cultures, and it’s a true testament to the tolerance and acceptance of its people that everyone can truly feel a part of this holy month.dscf8855

For many of the expatriate Muslim population here, celebrations begin fifteen days before Ramadan, with Shab-e-Baraat. This day marks the coming of thousands of angels descending to Earth and taking everyone’s good deeds up to Allah. People believe that on this day, decisions are made about life, death and luck, so people get together to share food and gifts and offer dua, which often lasts well in to the night.

When the month begins, the fasting begins. Restaurants close and the whole island takes on a sleepy feel. Everything slows down as people spend more time at home and with family. Fasts are broken at sunset, often with dates, laban and water, followed by a good meal that usually include harees or thareed – hearty dishes made with beef or lamb.

Halfway through the month, children have their own festive event with Gargee’an, a night where they dress up in traditional jalabiyas and thobes and walk from home to home to get sweets and treats. Nowadays, a lot of indoor parties are held instead and shops are full of treats to dish out at this time.dscf2379

As Ramadan is a time for giving, many people here in Bahrain – whatever their culture – participate in charitable work. There are many fundraising ghabgas (gatherings) and a lot of people donate whatever they can, be it food, money or time to those less fortunate than themselves.

However, the most beautiful thing about this month is the feeling of acceptance. Locals and expatriates alike fast together, pray together and share their lives together. The non-Muslim community are often invited to iftar feasts and Eid celebrations; giving them a chance to learn more about the people they are living with and their rich heritage and culture, and to understand more about the faith that brings so many people together.

The Author:
BIO: Sally is an English expatriate living in Bahrain. She enjoys writing, food and music in any combination!
Email address:
Instagram: pennyvanilla

Rasha Yousif is a Bahraini documentary and travel photographer.
Instagram: rshrsho
Twitter: rshrsho
Snapchat: rshrsho