If you live in the Budaiya/Saar area and want some good homemade comfort food, but don’t want to make it yourself, then pay a visit to Villa Mamas. Set in a compound under construction on the same road as Saar Cinema, Miami Park and Bastaki Mosque, Villa Mamas is a hidden delight for Budaiya/Saar residents who would like to have decent restaurant food close to where they live.
First of all, don’t be put off by the location or trying to find the location! It is actually quite difficult trying to reach Villa Mamas, especially at night as there are no signposts and no discernible route to it! The best way I can describe its location is as follows. If you are driving along the road which has Saar Cinema on it, with Saar Cinema on your left, drive past Saar Cinema and when you come to the left turn towards the Dilmun Club or the Rugby Club (before Miami Park and before the right turn before Bastaki Mosque) take a right turn. This will seem odd as there appears to be no road if you take a right turn – only two road signs – drive around these. What you will see is a dirt road and this leads into the compound which is currently under construction in which Villa Mamas is located. Once you follow the dirt road you will soon see the restaurant.
The restaurant is well appointed, homely (not least because it is a converted house) and clean.
Your immediate sense is that the owner/chef is extremely passionate about cooking but are still finding their feet when it comes to service. The waiting staff are extremely keen to assist but seem apprehensive and nervous – I guess that they are new to this type of work. Our waitress was quick to give us the menu but soon became lost when we asked questions – having to go into the kitchen to discover the answer to most of our fairly basic questions. There also seems to be a degree of disorganization when it comes to taking orders and serving these. Before we were able to order we could hear (I presume) the owner/chef “battling” with the waiting staff and then apologizing profusely to customers who had been waiting too long. Notwithstanding the show that we saw, our orders were served promptly. Indeed, we were not concerned about the drama we had heard and seen. It is clear that this is a start-up business and that the staff are new – but with the passion of the owner/chef these early teething problems will soon be overcome. Indeed, we found that such drama provided entertainment and added to the homely feel!
Ok, so the owner/chef is passionate and the waiting staff are new but dedicated – so how is the food? Well, I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the food. My children loved the pizzas, great presentation on blocks of wood and tasty judged by the fact that my children quickly ordered a second one after demolishing the first order! I tried the creamy pasta dish, which was fine and my wife tried the crab dish which was good. Overall, we felt that the food/cooking was good bearing in mind that we are judging homely comfort food.
I would also like to add that I am grateful to the owner for choosing the Budaiya/Saar area for their restaurant. Given these troubled times in the area with most evenings disturbed with the sound of protesters beeping horns, gas cylinders exploding, the shooting of tear gas and a low flying helicopter, it would have been easy for the owner not to set up their restaurant and for that I am grateful as it offers to the people of the area a decent local dining option and for that I will certainly support it with regular visits.