Saffron by Jena could be considered an institution in terms of restaurants in Bahrain. Ask anyone who’s lived in Bahrain for a decent amount of time and they will tell you to go to Saffron, if you haven’t already.
Saffron by Jena serves breakfast and only breakfast. A traditional Bahraini breakfast of ful, eggs with tomato, balaleet, beans, bread and more. There’s no menu. There is just the breakfast plate.
Saffron by Jena have 3 locations in Bahrain – Muharraq souk, Manama souk and Riffa fort. You can’t really go wrong with any of them. Our personal favourite is the one in Muharraq. It’s not the easiest to find on your first trip, hidden in the side streets in Muharraq. Which is probably why I like this location so much. Not to mention the inside of the place – it feels like they’ve really made an effort to retain as much of the old Bahrain as possible.
Jaina’s Saffron Experience
Saffron is my favourite place to get breakfast in Bahrain. Yes, I’m opening with that statement. That’s a bold move, Cotton. There is nothing I can fault with Saffron. I could delve into the details of each of the dishes that Saffron serves as part of the breakfast plate, but I’ll let Anish dig into those. I’ll give you my top three Saffron dishes.
Top of the list for me is the egg and tomato. It’s just so velvety and smooth. Not watery. The first time I had it, it was like nothing I’d had before. All the flavours in this dish work seamlessly together. So much so that I don’t think I could successfully identify each of the ingredients even if I wanted to recreate it!
Secondly it’s the balaleet. This one took some getting used to. You’ve got warm, salty scrambled eggs, on top of sweet saffron infused vermicelli noodles. The noodles are similar to a Gujarati dish I grew up with – sev. Serving it with eggs? My taste buds couldn’t wrap my head around this the first time I tried it. But I stuck with it. Every time we went back, I’d give it another shot. And another. And another. Now, I can’t imagine a Saffron breakfast without it. Salty, sweet with a variety of textures – it’s bound to throw you off a little. But it is ridiculously tasty.
Thirdly it’s those warm sandwiches, filled with sweet mango like chutney, onions and cheese. They are HEAVEN. Especially if you eat them immediately when they’ve been served to you – hot and soft and delicious. I wish I knew what they were called!
Anish’s Saffron Experience
I’m going to be boring and say that Saffron is also my favourite breakfast place in Bahrain as well. In fact, it might be my favorite place to eat on the island!
The thing I love most about Saffron is the style in which it’s served. Small portions of a few different things so you can taste everything, akin to mezze. Egg and tomato, balaleet, ful, and beans are always present. There is usually one more dish which changes, and it’s usually something Indian – chana, aloo, etc. You also get plain bread, bread with mehyawa (a tangy fish/cumin/coriander paste), 2 vada pau, and 2 fried cheese sandwiches with onions and jam (seriously, what the hell are these called?!?).
Instead of telling you how amazing every dish is (and most of it really is), I’ll touch on what I don’t like. The vada pau. It’s dry. Criminally so. The vada is dry, and the bread is dry. Every time I have them I feel like I’m trying to choke it down or reaching for my coffee (which again, is amazing). The service can be a little slow/inconsistent but it’s not bad like some other restaurants (looking at you, Coco’s).
There you go – a breakfast with 8-9 different elements and only 1 that doesn’t live up to the hype. It’s important to mention that one breakfast plate really does feed 2 people here, and at BD6 per breakfast, that’s pretty good value for money. It’s not the cheapest meal, but it’s certainly one of the best.
Saffron’s Vital Statistics
- Phone: +973 39614131
- Credit cards accepted: Yes
The top photo is from the Saffron in Muharraq Souk. We’re a big fan of the way their food is presented at that location.