Narise Kamber reviews… Rice Pudding Heaven
For this issue I will be reviewing a place that is possibly very hazardous to your waistline but well worth the visit. I arrived at Rice Creamery, located inside Coffee Republic – a British coffee bar franchise. Rice Creamery concept was created in Dubai and has franchise branches in the UAE, Kuwait, and most recently brought to Bahrain, by Rahim Holdings.
The concept is based on the universal traditional rice pudding dessert and is offered in many flavours and toppings. There are over 35 flavours that range from locally inspired ingredients such as kunafa, pistachio, and dates, to modern, kid-friendly items such as oreos, nutella and cornflakes, and the list of toppings that go on top of the rice pudding is endless.
A rice pudding is a universal and a traditional dish in many nations. In Arabic countries a rice pudding is called muhalibiyya or ruz bil laban with milk, rice flour, rice, sugar, and rosewater, and, occasionally, mastic. In South American and Latin countries it is called arroz con leche, and there are many versions of it in South Asian and European countries.
So, rice pudding is a universally popular treat any customer from any background.
When I arrived in Coffee Republic, I was warmly received by Mr Ali Abdulrahim, the Managing Director, who explained to me the concept, the operation, the delivery of the freshest ingredients, as well showing me around Coffee Republic, and explaining to me the other franchises that his family company owns such as Pitfire and Urban Bites.
Rice Creamery itself has a quaint feel to it with a cosy and inviting atmosphere – like entering the kitchen of a mother who loves to cook rice puddings for her family – with country-style floral wallpaper, white rustic wood panels, hanging blackboards with cute and simple instructions on what size of bowl to choose, and the complete list of flavors and toppings.
The rice puddings are displayed in large, white refrigerated bowls and on top of the counter there is a colorful array of the different toppings.
There are three sizes for the rice pudding bowls and each size is named differently. Yes! Their bowls have special names, the small one is ‘joy’, the medium is ‘glee’, and the large one is ‘bliss’.
When the time came for the tasting, I was told beforehand to start with the lotus rice pudding, which tasted divine, but I couldn’t have more because I just had my futoor as it was the month of Ramadan, so I opted to have a take away box of the heavenly goodies.
The takeaway box in itself was a delight. The beautifully designed box can hold 12 containers at a time, and there are slots for the spoons, which make it a great treat for a family visit because you take twelve different flavors for everyone to try.
The first mouthful is a pleasant surprise of cold, milky creamy, melt-in-your-mouth rice.
The flavors I tried in my box were: cheesecake, kunafa, dates, vanilla, red velvet, lotus, s’mores, M & M’s, nutella, cornflakes, berries, and karak. Each one was unique on its own. My taste is very traditional so my favorite was the plain vanilla followed by the kunafa because of the refreshing orange blossom flavor. My kids preferred the s’mores, the cornflakes and the nutella. I was also impressed that Rice Creamery offers a lactose-intolerant-friendly version made with coconut milk. Rice Creamery exceeded all of my expectations. Many people may believe that not much can be done with rice pudding but Rice Creamery has gone above and beyond offering a wide range of flavours that would please anyone.
Rice Creamery is an incredible place to have a dessert with friends. The staff of the restaurant is very kind and friendly. The location of the place is perfect as you can go there after having a big lunch at nearby restaurants.
The company is becoming increasingly popular among the youth of Bahrain with many college students coming to Rice Creamery to have their desserts, alongside the delicious coffee from Coffee Republic, which is a great student hangout.
Rice Creamery also does catering and specializes in business events, weddings, and birthday parties.
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