NINOs Festive Twist
A rich Italian dining experience, NINO is bring together the art of luxury dining culinary innovation in a comfortable ambiance, making it one of the Seef’s district’s most sought out eatery
By Anaam Ikram
A prominent member of the Seef District façade, with its name inscribed onto the vicinity, NINO is a restaurant that is hard to miss with its minimalist exterior, rustic interior, dim lighting and overall cosy ambiance. Making the restaurant even more enticing are the mouth-watering contemporary Italian dishes that excite the taste buds from the first bite, to the last, leaving the customers coming back for more. Bringing to diners an even more wholesome NINO experience, the expert chefs redesigned the menu, catering to the different dietary needs, adding more flavorous options, and ensuring a welcoming and delicious experience for all. Offering a Ramadan menu for the first time in the Seef branch of the restaurant, NINO brought to the diners a delectable fusion of Turkish and Levantine Iftar dishes as well; taking the diners on an exciting culinary adventure with each serving, this past Ramadan. Head Chef, Patrick Minj, and Chef Fayez Birkdar – from the Lebanese restaurant, Leila Min Lebnan – spoke to Perle Magazine about the two new exciting menus at NINO and working together to create a generous and hearty selection of food for diners to indulge in.
Under the umbrella of Kuwait-based company, Kharafi Global Restaurants Group, NINO was introduced to Bahrain in 2009 and since then has become known for its signature trait of contemporary Italian cuisine, relaxed ambiance, and overall welcoming atmosphere in both the premiere Seef district branch, and the second branch in Riffa. With spacious indoor and outdoor seating area, NINO has ample comfortable space for friends and family to enjoy their contemporary Italian dining experience. The highlight of the dining experience at NINO is, of course, the expansive menu the chefs have carefully created keeping in mind the various taste and dietary requirements, resulting in a delectable spread catering to each diner’s needs. Chef Patrick explains the chefs from different NINO branches across the GCC work together to create a menu that would suit the eclectic taste-buds of their customers. Drawing inspiration from traditional Italian dishes, he further adds the menu can be defined more as “interpretational” Italian cuisine – a spin on traditional Italian food using gastronomic influences from around the globe. He adds, that though their speciality lies within grilled and Italian food, they have expanded the menu by adding a selection of Sushis, as well as offering a lighter meals option using healthy replacements like faro grains, newly added salads such as the Kale and Walnut salad, and more options in the mains section as well including grills, burgers, pastas, and pizzas, and have also added to their refreshing drinks selection. Incorporating Oriental tastes to the menu, Chef Patrick says they have recently introduced the tempura prawns, and even added mango sauce in the dishes for a zesty yet sweet flavour.
Apart from the flavours that go into making a scrumptious dish, Chef Patrick says the cooking technique is one of the most vital elements in serving perfection and consistency plate after plate – a trait NINO has come to be known for over the years.
True masters of culinary innovation, NINO also presented for the first time this Ramadan an exclusive menu offered only at the Seef branch of the restaurant. Chef Patrick and Chef Fayez designed a menu that takes heavy influences from the Levant region and Byzantine culinary techniques to bring to customers a truly unique Iftar experience. NINO presents dishes from Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan that have evolved from original Byzantine cuisine and are now an essential part of these cuisines. From popular street food dishes like the Turkish Pide (vegetarian and meat options), doner kebabs, to the traditional Levantine dishes such as the mezzeh platter, baity kebab, harak osba’o vegetarian kubaibaat, grilled halloumi, eggplant dip, charcoal grills, among the variety of salads such from across the regions such as the pomegranate and spinach salad, Kisir salad, and quinoa and beet salad. For those who enjoy more meat-based dishes during their iftar, NINO offers wholesome dishes such as the Kebbah Semaqiya, or the chicken and beef shawerma wraps to break the fast on a rich note. Adding the necessary sweet element during Iftar, NINO serves diners a toothsome selection of desserts such as the ever-famous Turkish sweet sütlaç, and hand-made dondurma (Turkish ice cream), NINO’s delectable version of pistachio bakhlava served with homemade ice cream, and much more to curb the sweet craving after breaking the fast.
Making the Ramadan menu truly special was that the spread offers traditional dishes – from their respective regions – that have been a part of the cuisines for hundreds of years, and at NINO both Chef Fayez and Chef Patrick created the dishes with the same favourable taste, but presented in the signature NINO contemporary manner. Passionate about getting the flavours and techniques just right, Chef Fayez explained he hand made the Turkish ice cream himself, which takes around 3 or 4 hours from start to finish. Using the same traditional methods to make the ice cream in the past, Chef Fayez explains it is the only way to make the ice cream to ensure the great and special taste it is known for. Much like with the ice cream, Chef Fayez and Chef Patrick have worked diligently to create each dish with the same passion and dedication everyday to ensure their customers are satisfied and undoubtedly keep coming back for more delightful food. “Everything that we do, from the pastas, grills, to the desserts, we do it in the special NINO way and that way it is more fulfilling”, Chef Patrick adds. Offering diners the option to also order from the equally delicious regular menu during Iftar hours, NINO ensures its customers can indulge in the full NINO’s experience without being limited to only select dining options.
Whether it is to experience a delicious meal from the newly designed menu, or to enjoy a unique Ramadan meal, NINO restaurant welcomes all customers and makes sure their culinary needs are met in a comfortable and pleasant ambiance.
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