With its first restaurant making a name for itself in Bahrain, the second site of Villa Mama’s will open in Chelsea this September.
Bahrain’s Villa Mama’s was founded in 2011 by chef and restaurateur, Roaya Sahel. Driven by a passion instilled in her from a childhood spent cooking at home with her mother and grandmother, Sahel now plans to bring an array of dishes inspired by her heritage and a life well-travelled to London’s Chelsea.
Whether homemade jams from Roaya herself, to partner with the breakfast menu of tandoori flatbreads, or the authentic Bahraini speciality of meyhawa – a fermented sardine sauce made especially for Villa Mama’s by Sahel’s aunt – it seems, as the name suggests, Villa Mama’s plans to stay true to the home-cooked family aesthetic.
The menu will continue the Bahrain-based restaurant’s unique take on worldly dishes, inspired by Sahel’s own travels. This will include traditional Egyptian Ful Medames with slow-cooked fava beans, tomato and coriander, samosas filled with chickpea masala and the brunch option of chicken livers, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried eggs served with freshly made flatbread.
The experimentation won’t stop with the food. Villa Mama’s will also boast a selection of unusual alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. One which we are certainly intrigued to sample is the Prunus – a mix of plum, basil, Swedish bitters and lemons alongside the optional splash of golden rum. There is also the promise of a concise list of wines, with house wines coming in at just £6 a glass.
Open between 8am and 10pm daily, the restaurant will seat 50 people with a decor taking its cue from Sahel’s travels – a hodge podge of distinct styles from around the world – featuring Bahraini cafe style seating, wooden chapel benches, handmade Turkish curtains and a countertop reclaimed from an old Parisian store. Diverse in flavours and aesthetic, we can’t wait to see if Villa Mama’s lives up to the hype it is beginning to generate.
Words by Adam Barnes