Sunday, 22 April 2012

Saffron by Jena Bakery

I've always believed that I am an old soul and I think I have just discovered my natural home.  Saffron by Jena Bakery, in the newly restored Suq Al Qaisriyya in Muharraq, transports you back to the days of old Bahraini hospitality and tradition.

Situated in an alley parallel to the suq, Saffron is the "Arabic sister" of Jena Bakery, owned by Bahraini chef Narise Qambar. Serving traditional Bahraini snacks, including eggs and tomato and sweet buns with milk tea (DELICIOUS!!), as well as a selection of savory and sweet treats, Saffron's menu is modest but this place is simply not about the food. The cafe doesn't have a full-fledged kitchen due to its limited size, but plans are underway to convert one of the neighboring stores into a kitchen.

Chocolate date cake
When the site was being restored, they stumbled upon an ancient Bahraini 'madbasa' which is a traditional date-juicing site in the ground.

The madbasa is beneath the cafe flooring*

History of the madbasa*

The madbasa is the focal point of the cafe, and the floor of the cafe is transparent so that when you walk in you can see the madbissa under your feet.  This takes some getting used to but is overwhelming in its heritage.

The interior of Saffron by Jena Bakery*

The cafe is quite small, with a capacity for 20 people at a time, and has both indoor and outdoor seating. The concept is simple: be Bahraini.
Suq Al Qaisriyya*
While we were there, women and men alike were walking in, most of whom were residents of the neighborhood and all knew each other. 

Outdoor benches where we had our snacks

Narise, her sister and her kids were all there serving customers and although there were only 2 staff, they were at all times polite and efficient.

<><> <><> <><>
Adrian, our waiter... service with a smile*

Saffron's vibe is both nostalgic and new.  Many of the customers were young, from a generation whose lifestyles are very different from their parents, but whose traditions are embedded deeply within them. 

Saffron is a place to connect- for those of us who are Bahraini, with each other, our history and perhaps most poignantly, with ourselves... and for those of us who are not Bahraini, it is a place to connect with Bahrain.

Where: Saffron is in Muharraq suq off the strip that houses NBB; the best way to find it is to park and ask anyone for directions to Suq Al Qaisriyya!

Price: Extremely reasonable; between the four of us we each had tea and buns, one date cake, one order of kababs, two Turkish coffees and 2 bottles of water for BD 8.

Contact: I definitely recommend you make reservations as the cafe doesn't have a large capacity; call 39614131.

Verdict: 2 THUMZ UP!

Special mention to @RshRsho: all images with an * are taken from her instagram...


  1. wow Narise mashallah am so proud!! cant wait to check it out!!! it's all about bringing the old back sha3by style! love it

  2. That's great post write up - thoroughly enjoyed - glad the place is having such a feel good impact and is proving to be inspirational - may heritage in Bahrain be always protected and its people always live in Peace and Harmony متل أول - Janan Habib


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...