Al Hilal Publishing & Marketing GroupPO Box 1100,
Kingdom of Bahrain
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This roasted reporter has a confession. Despite having a darn cool job, Bahrain’s summer has been the most blistering aspect of my second innings on this island.
However, this weekend, the staff at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain as well as their wonderful poolside delights gave me a welcome respite as we sampled the summer menu and beverages at the five-star hotel’s Thai Lounge and La Plage restaurants while enjoying their chill waterfront atmosphere.
With outside temperatures hitting 42 degrees Celsius, an afternoon ideal for sipping cool beverages drew the three musketeers – Jalal Muradi, our marketing manager, Honey Sharma, our photographer, and myself, your humble food reporter, to the backyard of the Ritz-Carlton.
A gorgeous sight awaited us. Set against a private lagoon and island, two pools, one infinity and adults-only and the other larger and humans-only, greeted our eyes.
Speckled with covered sunbeds and refreshing fountains, the pools were hubs of relaxed activity as guests and members sauntered from pew to pool.
Meanwhile, melodious music emanating from DJ Nika Over’s booth embraced our ears and walking past a pond with real live flamingos, we were invited into the Thai Lounge for my first GulfWeekly food-venture. Wandering in, I was fascinated by the golden dragon barge fashioned after the Thai royal ship.
Feeling like royalty ourselves, Carol Campita, the marketing manager and our stomach sensei, told us a bit about the latest ritzy renovations. The hotel has been renovating one of its pools, to be unveiled soon along with more new digs, promising to keep guests and members scintillated this scorching summer.
Shhh, we can’t say more yet, but subscribe to your friendly neighbourhood GulfWeekly’s YouTube page for an exclusive update!
Just before a lull in the con-versation, a delicious aroma floated over and a platter of poolside delights magically appeared. Ayu, our waitress, also brought over perfectly matched drinks and two of the three musketeers descended on the delicacies with gusto.
First, we sampled the crispy, shrimp popcorn, accompanied with wasabi mayonnaise, a match made in heaven and consummated in our bellies. Next, we wolfed down the chicken wings, perfectly marinated in Thai herbs and duelled over the final gyoza, which was a steamy affair of chicken and mushrooms. And, finally, we floated away to Bangkok with chicken satay skewers, marinating in their exquisite peanut sauce.
The satay was the universal meat-lover’s favourite, the secret spices in the sauce perfectly complementing both Jalal’s Thai Basil mock tail and my Phra Ya Nang, a sensual syndicate of blackberries, passion fruit, honey and rose syrup. As our photographer immortalised the feast, I stole a sip of his Twisted Coconut beverage, pleasantly surprised by the turmeric twist. Wise choice, amigo!
Just as our palette was whetted, four different kinds of sushi pulled us headfirst into the proverbial ocean, starting with the best-selling Crispy Hamour roll, which married tempura shrimp and fried hamour with avocado and spicy mayo. Next, even though my compatriot wasn’t its biggest fan, I was feeling the eel and enjoyed the eel avocado roll, topped with tiny juicy fish eggs.
As we ruminated in the ocean, we were pulled back to land with an odd sushi – the spicy wagyu beef roll.
Now, full disclosure, per my Japanese best friend’s instructions, non-seafood sushi is not on my usual palette. However, the wagyu beef tenderloin wrapped around a roll of fried onions and Togarashi, a spicy Japanese sauce, worked in unison to create that ever-elusive umami flavour.
Meanwhile, Honey, our vegetarian musketeer finally had his hunger pangs satisfied with the vegetarian uramaki – Takuan radish, avocado, carrot and ponzu sauce wrapped in rice and a thin slice of fried tofu – which he enjoyed with pickled ginger and a fun misadventure involving the wily wasabi.
Of course, this was just the first half of our afternoon. Chef Colin, from La Plage, the Ritz’s Mediterranean fusion offering, must have heard about our deep-fried deviances and sent over a healthy salad, with beans, green and red peppers, and hardboiled eggs, accompanied by a divine olive tapenade and anchovies paste atop two perfect toasts.
As we nibbled on the calamari and marinated lamb chops, we sat down for an interview with the chef, who regaled us with tales of his travel from Goa and enticed us with the four flavours of special lassis this summer. Watch the video below to find out more!
Our bellies purring with pleasure, we lazed about and took in the sights of the waterfront, before bidding goodbye to our gracious hosts, thoroughly satisfied.
This feast comes thoroughly endorsed by all three musketeers and I encourage all our readers to chill this summer at the Ritz-Carlton and enjoy their 12 restaurants, especially the Thai Lounge and La Plage restaurant. It is open all day to members and guests, and the public is welcome to join after 6pm.
For more details, call 1758 6499 and follow the Ritz on Instagram: @ritzcarltonbahrain
Check out Naman’s review and chef interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSN6KQ_rRHI
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