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Vegan move takes shape

March 13 - 19, 2019

Gulf Weekly Stan Szecowka
By Stan Szecowka

Gulf Weekly Vegan move takes shape

THE vegan revolution continues to spread with news that a five star property in Bahrain will start serving ‘clean, green and delicious plant-based cuisine’ to guests, conjured up with the help of an American celebrity chef.

The Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay will be launching the Folia menu on Friday at the hotel’s Bay View Lounge which has been developed in partnership with Saudi-based KBW Ventures, founded by CEO HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud.

“I’m thrilled to present Folia at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay in collaboration with my partner Chef Matthew Kenney,” said Prince Khaled. “Building on the success of our first collaborative effort at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, it gives me immense pride to launch Folia in the Kingdom of Bahrain as our premier Middle East destination.”

Folia’s culinary selection will offer a range of starters, entrées and desserts from the kitchen of Chef Matthew, founder of more than 30 renowned vegan eateries worldwide which specialise in plant-based cuisine.

The chef recently told the Chicago Tribune: “None of our businesses or products involve animal products, so it’s 100 per cent vegan. We want it to be accessible, and we’re not trying to tell people what to do. It’s the style of cuisine that we think is relevant.”

The Folia menu will showcase a range of seasonal dishes such as watermelon poke, marinated in ponzu lime broth, hearts of palm ceviche with cherry tomato, peewee potato and olives in a dijon vinaigrette, beet hummus with oregano cream and dukkah avocado with spicy greens, preserved lemon and tomato jam.

Entrees include green herb tacos filled with roasted squash and king oyster barbacoa, and wild mushroom sandwich with caramelised onions and truffle aioli. Diners can end their meal on a sweet note with coconut cream pie and coco-berry mousse with hazelnut gelato among the desserts on offer.

The hotel’s GM Richard Raab said: “With increasing numbers of travellers seeking to adopt a healthier lifestyle, the appeal of plant-based cuisine has never been stronger. In addition to providing outstanding fine dining for our vegan guests, this new menu will also offer a delightful surprise for those unfamiliar with the tremendous array of dishes available in the plant-based world – particularly when a master chef is at the helm.

“We’re excited to bring Matthew Kenney’s vision of healthy eating to life here in Bahrain, and look forward to introducing our guests to the many flavours of Folia’s plant-based cuisine.”

The move follows several recent vegan-inspired developments on the island, highlighted in GulfWeekly.

Scores of food lovers across the kingdom pledged to go meatless throughout January as part of a community campaign created by vegan Indian expat Shivani Sathasivam, who lives in Riffa and founded Plant Based Bahrain, to help raise awareness about plant-based diets and their benefits.

Shivani was joined by like-minded individuals such as student dietician Amal Mashal, and Hamad Al Saad, a food psychology coach. They set up a series of workshops and meetings in restaurants and cafes.

And, sisters Sophie, Phoebe and Olivia Middleton started sharing their love for healthy eating with their recently-launched vegan chocolate bar and wellness café inside Almoayyed Tower in Seef. Raw Candy offers diners a selection of meals and bites they say are ‘good for the mind, body and soul’, plus a selection of plant-based desserts.

The move will not surprise visionary retail executive, Duaij Al Rumaihi, senior mall manager at City Centre Bahrain, who anticipated the culinary revolution in an interview with GulfWeekly last year, linked to the Majid Al Futtaim mall’s 10th anniversary plans and future initiatives.

“We are here to serve the whole family but we cannot ignore what’s happening,” he said. “Just take food and beverage as an example, right now there is a total mind shift in consumers and what they are demanding. They want a more experiential food & beverage – the type of experience that you see people posting on Instagram and Facebook all the time now.

“They want healthier options too. Vegetarian and vegan fare is being requested more and more and although we do have it, many restaurants have it as an option on their menu, but people are demanding a fully-fledged main offering.”

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