Iftar banquets are not only a time for family and friends to come together to break their fast and meet during the holy month, they are also a welcome opportunity for businesses in the community to gather their associates and business partners together in a bonding exercise and act of appreciation.
The Crowne Plaza Bahrain has transformed its conference centre into a heavenly corporate dwelling with a glittering bright entrance with a corridor of light leading the twinkling calm of a traditional tented triumph of design.
Calmly lit with comfortable and round tables add to the friendly ambience and a traditional oud player strums delicately at the instrument’s strings at a level that skilfully compliments the occasion and allows for easy conversation.
Refreshing fruits juices and dates signal the start of a journey along another long corridor of cuisine, an astonishing spread of Arabic and international cuisine masterminded by two of my favourite chefs on the island, Executive Chef David Miras and Senior Sous Chef Suseno, and delivered with savoir faire and aplomb by the team.
The spread of crisp salad dishes was sensational, the range of sushi superb and the vegetable minestrone soup was a masterpiece and a nice change from the usual lentil offering.
Although everyone’s favourite Lamb Ouzi was luscious with oriental rice and yoghurt and cucumber raita combined with a blend of spring onion, garlic, ginger and lemon juice, as you would expect, and fellow diners rushed to fill up their plates with pieces of Bahrain Lamb Tikka.
My stand out dish of the evening, however, was the marvellous Murg Makhani which led to a heated conversation with other media types at the event over whether Butter Chicken was better than Chicken Tikka Masala, or they were both the same dish.
In demanded some smart phone research, Chicken Makhani (which literally translates to Butter Chicken in English) was invented by Kundan Lal of Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi after the partition, which saw an influx of immigrants from the Pakistan side to the city, as a result of which new recipes emerged.
To make sure his Tandoori Chicken (Roasted Chicken) did not go waste, he developed a recipe, wherein he could use his unused food in a curry sauce based recipe. Chicken Makhani has a tomato based gravy, and plenty of butter is added to add richness to the overall taste.
On the other hand, Chicken Tikka Masala was most likely developed in the UK by a Bangladeshi chef. It usually refers to boneless chunks of marinated chicken eventually cooked on a skewer. Masala refers to a generic spice mix, but can also refer to a gravy made using that spice mix.
Chicken Tikka is boneless, whereas Tandoori Chicken comes with bones. That is also one of the differences between the two. With time, variations have developed, so you also have boneless Chicken Makhani, which, as you would expect, resembles Chicken Tikka Masala … which led to the argument!
Conceptually speaking, the two dishes are similar in the sense that semi-cooked marinated chicken is added to a tomato based gravy. And, I would suggest, you’ll be hard to find a better version than at the Crowne Plaza Iftar and it tastes even more wonderful with the sauce soaked up with Arabic bread and the green salad on the side.
Don’t forget the desserts either. The cracking crème brulee, with always keeps the good lady wife, Kathryn, sweet at this location. The chocolate brownies and the selection of cakes were awesome too.
Don’t forget the Crown Plaza is also serving families Iftar and Ghabga selections each evening at its La Mosaique Restaurant.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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