What’s in a name? Tala Bashmi is the young, dynamic Bahraini chef who is helping reinvigorate Middle Eastern cuisine – her talent was rewarded with the Middle East & North Africa’s Best Female Chef Award 2022. At her dining space in Manama’s iconic five-star Gulf Hotel Bahrain, she fuses childhood memories with traditional dishes and a strikingly contemporary style.
What’s the experience? You will taste the traditional regional food of Bahrain, but deconstructed and reassembled into entirely new creations. An extensive à la carte menu is divided into sections such as bites, large plates to share, mains and a sizeable dessert offer – although the ‘Chef’s Surprise’ five-course menu also won’t disappoint.
A culinary revival: Bashmi’s goal is to create a culinary renaissance for Middle Eastern food and for Bahrain especially. She does this through dishes such as her interpretation of bamia, a stew traditionally made with okra and meat offcuts. The chef pairs wagyu beef cheeks with a thin okra crisp and a side of tomato rice broth – a bite that contains both the past and the future of Bahrain. Her success is sealed with the restaurant climbing a record 36 spots since 2022 within the list, earning the Highest Climber Award.
And the space? Refurbished in early 2020, the 45-cover restaurant features an open kitchen and you can expect a wholly theatrical experience – Bashmi says that every service is a performance. The space also opens onto a spectacular terrace lounge for pre- and post-dinner drinks.
Bonus point: Bashmi was on track to become a professional football player in the USA before an injury pushed her to study illustration and fine arts instead – though she has clearly found her calling as a chef.