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TO make an impression in the highly-competitive Friday brunch scene on the island you have to tick all the boxes and add a unique touch of brilliance to the proceedings.
Jumeirah Royal Saray Bahrain has lots to offer, a picturesque seaside beach view, a stunning ambience, cool tunes played by a pretty DJ that doesn’t drown out the conversation, prompt polite service, affordable prices and a selection of tasty surprises amidst its signature dishes.
So that’s ticked about all the boxes I could think of and I’m normally pretty hard to please.
This was our first taste of the brunch experience at the latest five star addition to the Seef coast and the good lady wife, Kathryn and I were joined by my colleague Jalal Muradi who was celebrating his birthday (he’d kept quiet about that but my good friend the Whisperer had tipped me off) with his wife, Zainab.
I’d met the amiable Executive Chef Jocelyn Argaud a few weeks back at the opening of the hotel’s Ramadan tent and was mightily impressed by the cuisine and hoped one of the delights in particular would feature on the spread.
With 19 years of experience in French Michelin star restaurants and international fine dining establishments, he also boasts a royal seal of approval having dished up delights exclusively for members of a Gulf state’s royal family too, according to reliable sources.
He did not disappoint and I’ll come to that later. There was so much more to celebrate from starters to main course choices too with a live grill cooking station outside and a pasta chef and crepe creator dishing up delights inside, amongst others.
There were the expected elements too with fresh crab, king prawns and oysters on icy displays, brilliant olive bread and French mini-baguettes to soak up the sauces, a sushi bar and a salad selection featuring Arabic favourites such as Moutabel, Tabooleh and Baba Ganoush, plus European choices including a superb Seafood Salad with mussels and octopus amongst the mixture.
A retro step back in time came in the shape of a Prawn Cocktail with a modern twist by replacing the traditional slushy mayonnaise, cream, ketchup, lemon juice and Tabasco pink sauce with a jelly.
There was a standout Grape with Blue Cheese and Pistachio, perfectly presented as a single serving, with an explosion of taste as Chef Jocelyn explained. It was a combination of awe-inspiring sweetness of the fruit, bitterness of the fabulous fromage and the crunchiness of the nut. It’s all about the balance and one of those treats that simply hypnotises your culinary senses. More, more, more.
I loved the setting of the Brasserie Royale and the Palm Lounge and when I bumped into the warm and welcoming GM Spencer H. Wadama he thought chef’s cuisine combined with the location was a winning combination with the numbers of diners increasing as word spreads around the community.
With the mains, there were familiar dishes such as Chicken Biryani and Butter Chicken, alongside Braised Beef but I was particularly impressed by the fresh fish offerings, in particular a superb King Fish Ouzi, a tasty fillet placed on a bed of exotic rice, a combination I had never tried before which worked magnificently and made an interesting change from lamb, and the grilled Sea Bass was on a par.
I had to put the outside mix grill to the test too and enjoyed a couple of lamb chops cooked to perfection and the Sand Lobster was superb.
The Jumeirah Royal Saray Bahrain, in the relatively short time since its opening, has built up a fine reputation for its desserts and the choices were impressive with bite-sized Lemon Meringue, Raspberry Panna-Cotta, Tiramisu, Chocolate Brownies, fruit including a perfectly sliced and shaped pineapple display and freshly-made ice-cream in abundance … but it was the resort’s celebrated signature dessert that inspired me to recently set up the Sticky Toffee Pudding Bahrain Fan Club page of Facebook.
Jolly Chef Jocelyn made this old man weep with joy as one of the main dessert attractions were his single mountains of magnificence swimming in a sea of yumminess. With, or without a helping of vanilla ice-cream this dish is worth the brunch investment alone.
Brunch the Brasserie Way for BD27net inclusive of soft drinks or BD35net, with selected beverages. Call 77707070 for more details and to book a table. Check out Stan’s interview with Chef Jocelyn and GM Spencer by visiting GulfWeekly’s YouTube page.