We couldn’t help ourselves from heading to VIOLA Bahrain as soon as we heard the tastiest Afro Caribbean inspired dishes had arrived at our shores.
Vibrancy and vivacious warmth are intrinsic parts of Caribbean culture. The food scene is dominated by zesty flavours which emanate from this mixing pot and Viola has gone to extreme lengths to ensure that this is transposed perfectly. ‘Viola’ literally means Violet and the name is often associated with an appealing, passionate, talented heroine.
As you enter, you begin to move to a different rhythm, that of the syncopated patois manner of speech, relaxed and colourful. The bold frescos are stunning. Afro-Caribbean ladies in traditional dress watch over the ‘patter’ of diners below. They were hand painted by French artist Mary-Lou who has deep connections to the Viola story. The subdued lighting reflect Caribbean evenings as the sun goes down and the partying is ramped up. The seating is reminiscent of a vast porch giving the feeling of outdoors, indoors, with a mix of sofas, high stools and patio chairs scattered with cushions upholstered in ethnic prints and tones. The distressed plasterwork on the walls further adds to the tropical vibe. Behind the bar is a meticulously crafted mosaic, which draws from the elements of the décor within the venue, including marble from the countertops and the same natural oaks which deck the venue throughout.
“They were hand painted by French artist Mary-Lou who has deep connections to the Viola story.”
Surrounded by the waters of the Caribbean Sea seafood is a staple but rearing livestock and cultivating exotic vegetables means that the menu at Viola is the ultimate ‘Surf and Turf‘ experience. The Something Fishy theme every Tuesday capitalises on the wealth of seafood dishes which typify Caribbean cuisine. California rolls, ceviche and luscious, juicy prawns are but a few of the highlights. The crumbed calamari infused with flavours of cayenne pepper and presented with a creamy, garlic aioli dip are tender and tantalise the taste buds. Combined with the satisfying citrus ceviche and tempura prawns, the quality of the ingredients shine through.
In addition to the punchy presentation of the dishes, the ambience is amplified through the use of quirky drinking vessels, making the elixirs and fruity blends a spectacle as well as a refreshing change. The themed menu can be sampled alone or with a drinks package which complements the array of dishes perfectly.
No dish is more evocative of the Caribbean style of cuisine than the goat curry, which is how we were able to justify our actions of exploring outside of the Something Fishy menu. Everything was unbelievably impressive that we were hungry for more, irrespective of our expanding waistlines. The depth of flavours is incredibly sophisticated, despite this being classed as a ‘homely’ dish from Dominica. Churrasco Beef Skewers and the decadent and moreish guacamole stuffed onion rings, accompanied with a creamy cheese sauce, are stand out dishes because of the unique flavours. This menu takes diners on a cruise through the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and it’s abundance of produce before hitting land with some of the best staple dishes which typify the heritage and culture of each nation that makes up this magnificent region.
Dessert is doused in yet more flavours and textures of the islands. Melon, berries, pecan nuts and an additional little kick in the form of ice cream flavoured with an island staple. The perfect conclusion to our tropical tale.