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Kingdom of Bahrain
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Buffets have become ubiquitous to the dining scene across the Middle East. Every hotel in Bahrain seems to have one at least once a week, generally accompanied by an assortment of live stations.
Gulf Hotel’s Gulf Night Out has also become omniscient on the hotel dining scene. It is the biannual culmination of the Gulf Hotel’s restaurants, a sampling banquet of signature dishes their restaurants, which kicked off last Tuesday, accompanied by tons of live entertainment.
We decided to pay it a visit to find out what was new this year. Buffets have a murky history, with every nation making their own claim to its origin. While they tend to bring out the glutton in all of us, nearly six months in this job has helped me develop a strategy to work the buffet.
It starts off with a gander around the ocean of food. Set by the poolside, more than 50 dishes seduced us over with a waft of delicious scents. There were 10 stations, one by each of the signature restaurants at the Gulf Hotel.
There was dahi puri courtesy of award-winning Rasoi by Vineet, flaming grills, Arab fare and mezzah provided by Zahle and Takht Jamsheed, selections of sushi prepared by Sato, pad thai and satay presented by Royal Thai and three delectable-looking peking ducks from China Garden. In the middle of it all was a monumental motley of mouth-watering desserts. A few things short-listed in mind, I returned to my table, ordered a drink and waited for my colleagues.
The next step to an optimal buffet strategy is arranging your food groups, which includes prioritising your proteins and setting your salads. Carbs are the natural enemy of the smorgasbord surfer. Not only do they fill you up quickly and make you unduly thirsty, they also are the most culpable food coma culprits.
Of course, in Bahrain and the Gulf, they are unavoidable to a certain extent, but by picking up some kebabs and tikka from the grill stations, chicken makhani (more chicken, less makhani) from the Rasoi station, chicken satay from the Royal Thai station, and sushi and sashimi from the Sato station, I kept the carbs to a minimum. Because I was feeling a bit exuberant, I even added a few slices of Peking duck with a few drops of their special sauce on top.
My qualm with most buffets is that they are set up in a line, leading from most carbohydrate-rich to least. I understand there is a method to this madness but it also leaves diners feeling bloated yet unsatisfied. The great thing about the Gulf Hotel’s buffet is that it’s in a circular conclave, so you can hover from station to station and craft your own perfect culinary creation.
I paired my platter of protein with a healthy serving of salads including a Mediterranean salad, green salad and some seaweed salad from Sato.
On the side, I heaped on some hummus and indulged my carb affliction with some delicious pasta from La Pergola. And with a heavy and colourful plate, I sat down and enjoyed the tunes of the QBA band and the acrobatics of the belly-dancer from Zahle, as I devoured my plate.
And the final tip for enjoying a good buffet: don’t desert the desserts. Now this may be controversial, but here instead of being enticed by the spectrum of scents from the dessert island, I stuck to my old preference for chocolate.
I enjoyed the lotus monten cup, which was a molten lava chocolate cake served in a cup. I topped it with some ice cream to add that extra note of decadence and I enjoyed it with a side of games coordinated by marketing and communications manager Ryan Advincula as well as the emcee Belle.
It was a lovely evening and with new signature dishes and entertainment planned for the entire month, every week is a different adventure. Do check it out and sample the signatures from all the Gulf Hotel restaurants!
l Scan the QR code below to get a taste of the culinary adventure at Gulf Hotel!