CELEBRATED two-Michelin Star Chef Oliver Glowig has returned once again to Bahrain to help update the new season’s menu at one of the leading Italian restaurants on the island.
The German-born maestro, who for decades has made waves in his adopted home of Italy since landing the role of executive chef L’Olivo on the gourmet island of Capri, took on the consulting chef role at the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain’s Primavera with gusto in 2015.
Now an ambassador of the Italian gastronomic culture, Oliver is committed to mentoring new apprentices to help promote the healthy Mediterranean diet concept around the world. To prove the point, one of his kitchen protégés, Chef Vincenzo Nigro, has just been promoted from Sous Chef to Chef de Cuisine at the kingdom’s award-winning restaurant.
A select group of culinary connoisseurs, including yours truly, was invited to ‘a menu tasting experience’ at Primavera last week to test some of the new delights in store for diners, alongside a sprinkling of traditional dishes that attract regulars to this popular dining destination.
Chef Oliver joined us at the table for most of the evening as we watched Chef Vincenzo orchestrate the kitchen team through the glass window partition giving a full screen action picture of the preparations and delivery of the dishes … no pressure then!
At 30 years of age, Chef Vincenzo, from the small southern Italian town of Mottola, exudes a calm and confidence that belies his age, although his appointment fits perfectly alongside the dynamic young talent being pushed forward throughout the property by recently-appointed GM, Bernard de Villèle.
He’s a product of the celebrated hospitality school at the Institute of Mauro Perrone in the city of Castellaneta which he joined at 14. Shortly after his studies were completed, his culinary journey took him to the UK, Switzerland, Australia, the Maldives, Dubai and Russia.
In Bahrain, under the mentoring eye of former Chef de Cuisine Alfonso Ferraioli and Chef Oliver, his career has reached new heights.
“The best thing that I love about my job is that there is always something to learn,” he said. “New ingredients and fresh products continuously inspire me. I like to create new dishes, try new combinations and leave great memories for our guests. My experience, most recently in Rome with Oliver, has inspired me and my cooking!
“To make the perfect dishes you need to have a right combination of tastes, different textures and balance of flavours, but the most important thing is to do it with love. If you cook with passion, the food can never be wrong.
“My favourite ingredients are tomatoes, fresh basil and excellent extra virgin olive oil.”
It must also be noted that Chef Vincenzo has a glowing reputation, as what many eating out connoisseurs now describe, as a ‘food artist’. The taste of the cuisine is matched by the beauty of its presentation.
The family-style tasting menu produced by the dynamic duo, was traditional Italian fare, of course, with the chefs’ imitable modern twists.
I loved the beautiful Italian ceramic dinnerware much of the fare was presented on.
Starters included Parmigiana Three Way, a delightful grilled aubergine (sometimes called eggplant) layered with cheese and tomato sauce and then baked to perfection, a piedmont-style veal with tuna mayonnaise and capers and poached egg covered in a fried breaded casing with parmesan foam and sautéed spinach – a bit like a posh Scotch egg without the sausage meat. Obviously, the entrée selection at the establishment could not be concluded without one of its most popular dishes, the grilled octopus, with potato salad, green beans and pesto.
Main courses, featured a risotto cooked in tomato water, with burrata cheese and anchovies. This is the second time in a matter of days that I have enjoyed a rich risotto of such outstanding quality in a five star Italian restaurant, and, although I hate being indecisive, I’ve got to call in a ‘score draw’. Truly outstanding.
Other delights included a seared tuna with panzanella salad, a Tuscan-style chopped offering of bread and tomatoes that is popular in the summer, and chilled tomato soup, and a glorious grilled lamb chop with tomato purée and lamb juice.
Desserts are just as dynamic, such as the Tiramisu (one of the works of art I mentioned earlier), a Neapolitan tart with ricotta ice-cream and a duet of vanilla truffle and chocolate ice-cream, coated with crunchy milk chocolate. Sweet.
Rounding off the traditional experience, Ritz-Carlton’s legendary service is led by a predominantly Italian team, bringing to life the Trattoria Moderna experience, where guests are completely immersed in Italian charm and flavours. The new restaurant manager is another young gun, Gianvittorio Speca, and the hotel has also recently recruited Andrea Colla, as executive assistant manager food & beverage. Benvenuto to Bahrain.
For reservations at Primavera, call 17586499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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