Rating: Very good
Price: 6.820 BHD
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Okra with meat, khobiz (flatbread), arabic coffee with dates
English Menu: Yes
Today I found myself in a mall around lunch time, specifically the Al Seef mall. I took my time walking around the mall several times to scope out all the food options. I hate to waste a good meal, and malls are tricky as they have lots of good looking restaurants, but often the food is not that great. Luckily I spotted a good candidate called the Rice Bowl that had lots of probably local families eating there. As I flipped through the menu I spotted "Bahraini" dishes and I was sold. I'd never had anything specifically Bharaini before, and though I suspected it would probably be similar to Kuwaiti food, I had to take the opportunity to try it.
I was going to order way too much food and take some home for a breakfast, but one of the dishes I wanted to try turned out to be unavailable (machboos: rice and chicken ground together into a paste or something) so I ended up with a more normal sized meal and had no leftovers. I went with the Okra with meat dish as the others seemed to emphasize fish, which I am not as fond of cooked. I also ordered a basic flatbread and arabic coffee. The coffee came in a carafe with dates, which were a delicious sweet complement to the rather bitter coffee/cardamom concoction that is arabic coffee.
The Okra with meat turned to be Okra with Lamb (always a good thing in my book) and while the flavors weren't powerful, they were complex. I did feel the need to add just a pinch of salt, but I get the feeling that it was probably very authentic as nothing in the gulf local cuisine seems to be very strongly flavored. Actually the Okra dish could have just been an Indian curry dumbed down for local tastes, but they probably consider it their own by now (see: half of what passes for Japanese food).
Overall I was very satisfied and wish I could return to try more of their dishes. As usual they have tons of different cuisines (restaurants here tend to have at least 5 different regional cuisines on the menu no matter what), and it all looked good. The prices are bit higher due to the fancy mall location, but it didn't seem ridiculous. The arabic coffee pot I ordered added another 2 BHD to the bill, so it would have been much more reasonable otherwise. I'm giving the Rice Bowl a Very Good rating.