READERS may recall that I recently attended the launch of the new Jeep Wrangler being unveiled by Behbehani Brothers at a snazzy ceremony and party at Reef Resort, watched on by VIPs, customers and members of the media.
Finely-clad waiters and waitresses at the five-star villa-stay, spa and dining destination brought beverages and tasty snacks on silver platters which included a selection of the tastiest sushi I’d enjoyed in a long time.
I thought at the time … mmm, this is so good, I have to return to try some more.
I must have been good in a past life, because lo and behold, I discovered that Reef Resort’s Tokyo Reef restaurant was staging a special Tabehodai Endless Sushi promotion.
Our party booked a table for Saturday evening and it gave me an opportunity to meet hospitality veteran Georges Saade, recently appointed food & beverage manager, who brings 22 years of experience with international hotel groups and restaurants to Bahrain.
He’s only been in situ a fortnight but has already tweaked the breakfast buffet offering at Pool Delight restaurant. The popular BBQ Seafood Buffet is going down a storm too and he has been mightily impressed by the positive feedback from customers enjoying the delights at its Japanese offering.
“Guests just love to watch as chef prepares your sushi and sashimi right in front of your eyes,’ he explained.
The man with the magic hands on Saturday evening was Specialty Sous Chef Brandy Manalang, a Filipino who learned the art of sushi making under the wings of a Japanese chef and has spent 13 years mastering the art.
The word ‘tabehodai’ is made up of the verb ‘taberu’ meaning ‘to eat’ and ‘houdai’ meaning ‘as much as one likes’. The menu is designed to be enjoyed by the whole table and comes with a refreshing warm slurp-uptuous starter of Edamame and Miso Soup.
That was followed by a choice of delicate dishes such as Tuna Poke with Rice Cracker, Chicken Karaage, Tofu Hiyayao, Dynamite Shrimp and a melt-in-your mouth Beef Tataki with Asparagus (no guessing my choice!)
The Sushi rolls featured Tempura Dynamite Maki with salmon, pickle radish and avocado, everyone’s favourite the California Maki with avocado, cucumber and Kani, Torched Maki, with salmon and avocado – a firm favourite with my Bahraini friends on the table, and the good lady wife’s Kathryn’s Number One choice, Spicy Tuna, a clever combination of diced tuna, cucumber, roasted sesame seed and golden Tobiko, the Japanese word for flying fish roe.
All were exquisitely executed and tasted as good as the night of the car launch.
Sushi is actually bite-sized cakes of cold boiled rice flavoured with rice vinegar and rolled in seaweed with, or topped with, fish, vegetables, or egg rice that is mixed with other ingredients, which may or may not include fish.
Alongside it on the menu came sashimi and nigiri choices. Sashimi is thinly-sliced raw meat – usually fish, such as salmon, hammour or tuna, served without rice. Nigiri is a type of sushi in which the fish, vegetables or meats are simply placed on top of the rice.
Chef Brandy was on sizzling form and insisted I try one his latest creations, not even on the menu yet, a Salmon Sashimi with truffle ponzu sauce and garlic chips. It’s a winner, chef, and thoroughly deserves a wider audience!
He also insisted the table try the venue’s biggest seller, The Dragon, a terrific Tempura Prawn with an avocado and salmon wrap and spicy mayonnaise. Marvellous.
The fun dessert of Mochi and Yuzu Ice Cream Balls was perfect in size and presentation after a filling affair.
Fabulous food is important, but it’s only part of the dining out experience. The service at Tokyo Reef was superb, polite, efficient and informative, and the actual setting offers divine ambience. With seating, inside and out, numbering 32, there’s a perfect cosiness to the place. The decoration is delightful and even the tables were unique with glass-tops seemingly held in place by bamboo shoots.
We enjoyed a coffee after the meal on the terrace, which at night is a joyous, calming affair with the waters of the Gulf reflecting the lights of Manama twinkling in the distance.
It’s understandable why this location on Reef Island is in such demand for product launches and wedding settings, but it’s also a supreme dining out destination.
The Tokyo Reef Tabehodai Endless Sushi sessions take part from Wednesday to Saturday at a reasonable BD14++ per person. For reservations, call 13110110.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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