El Bahr El Gouna
El Bahr El Gouna: There’s a new and unique dining experience in town but it’s so obvious and amazing, it’s a wonder that no one has ever done it before. Fresh Sea Food by the sea, “Fish the way it should be”
El Bahr El Gouna: A new and delicious concept has arrived in El Gouna, El Bahr which is Arabic for the sea, is a sea side restaurant serving it’s freshly caught fish. A Variety of sea food favourites and a selection of unique new additions and tasty starters are offered daily just a few steps from the sea.
This original concept is brought to us in March, by a group of childhood friends who grew up enjoying fresh fish by the sea in Alexandria, having had so many fun times and fond memories there they were perplexed as to why there wasn’t a seafood restaurant on the sea here in El Gouna. The original vision was to have tables on the sand like in Alexandria however this idea wasn’t as romantic as it sounds due to El Gouna’s wind which makes it amazingly popular for Kite surfing but not always for dining on the beach. Having brain stormed together the partners came up with an elegant natural wooden beach hut idea, open to the sea on one side for the spectacular view yet protected from the elements.
My dining partner and I arrived early one evening just before sunset and we were lucky enough to enjoy these beautiful surroundings in natural light and then by sparkling, twinkling romantic lighting. One thing that really caught my eye was the diversity of the place you could easily rock up having just spent a day on the beach, sand in your hair or you could dress up and come in your finest clothes and feel comfortable in both. It was both elegant yet relaxed and natural, which is a slight contradiction in terms however the designer managed the combination perfectly.
We were welcomed to the extensive fresh fish display to find an array of both local and Mediterranean fresh fish and sea food. I can see why their concept is all about a real fresh catch. Not being a fish connoisseur or particularly adventurous I let the experience staff guide me with my choices. Their extensive knowledge and passion helped me to select my custom designed meal. The fish is caught daily, locally sourced, carefully selected and freshly prepared to perfection.
For starters we decided to go for a stuffed selection, I had never heard of stuffed seafood before which definitely had a Mediterranean influence to it. The stuffed baby calamari were stuffed with feta cheese, tomatoes, peppers and grilled with oregano and rosemary, this combination was perfectly match together to create a unique starter that definitely left your taste buds wanting more. Being rather inexperienced with shell fish, we also selected the stuffed crab as it was easy to eat with no shelling involved. The meat of two crabs was combined with herbs, mozzarella, béchamel and baked in the crab shell in the oven perfect for people who don’t want to get their hands dirty but want the pleasure of delightful shell fish.
With the staff’s guidance I was able to choose how my fish was cooked from a choice of, charcoal grilled, baked in salt or La Grecque oven baked. I was fascinated by the baked in salt option which is originally a Spanish recipe. The fish is baked in a dome of salt specially designed to seal in the moisture. Surprisingly it was then cracked at the table in front of me which added to the whole magical experience. A secret butter sauce was added before eating to finish off this delightfully individual dish. I was amazed that the fish didn’t taste of salt, I was expecting a slightly salty taste due to the method of cooking but no the fish was light and moist, actually like no fish I’d ever tasted before. I would highly recommend this choice of cooking based purely on the whole performance of cracking it at the table which was fascinating however the taste exceeded all expectations and blew all other seafood out of the water if you’ll excuse the pun. The fish meat fell of the bone making it very easy to eat and was perfectly complimented with the Sayadiya rice, rice with caramelised onions. The flavours perfectly blended together to create a delicious meal which was enjoyed in the perfect setting.
I love the fact that every time you visit it seems like a new menu, as each day the fish and sea food choices differ depending on that day’s fresh catch. They guarantee that all their fish and sea food is fresh and carefully selected for your taste bud’s pleasure. They have a quirky offer that if you are a fisherman you can bring your best catch of the day and they will serve it to you in their own ‘El Bahr’ delicious way, free of charge, luckily, they have an extensive variety of delicious side dishes that would complement any fresh catch.
At the moment El Bahr does not serve alcohol however they allow guests to bring their own bottle and they do not charge a corkage fee. They have even gone as far as to set up a deal with Cheers who will deliver your alcohol order to you in approximately 5 minutes and at no extra charge. I don’t think there is anything El Bahr won’t do to guarantee you a first-class dining experience.
With a creative menu that presents a variety of unique fish dishes in a light, modern, elegant yet natural space with the most amazing view, this is the perfect venue for any occasion from a romantic meal to a family post beach day dinner. El Bahr is a must for any one seeking a fresh sea food experience by the sea!
By Lina Sherif