Imagine sitting sweetly in a cool cabana on the edge of the Arabian Sea with the bright lights of Manama twinkling on the calm water on a warm spring evening.
Add a newly-opened five-star resort in the backdrop and the chance to celebrate Mother’s Day one day early with the good lady wife, Kathryn, and our daughter, Imogen, who was on a flying half-term visit from acting school in London.
The final ingredient was an array of the finest cuisine created by Reef Resort’s Executive Chef Steven Hill and his team bringing to the forefront his Middle Eastern culinary expertise with delightful dishes capturing the essence of the Shisha Lounge’s Lebanese grills and Arabian desserts.
As exclusively reported in GulfWeekly, the unique multi-million dinar chic Reef Resort has opened its doors to guests. Hospitality industry veteran Darryl Marsden is leading the charge with his senior management team in place for the destination’s restaurants and spas and during its soft opening period the luscious lounge has swiftly attracted a growing number of guests and visitors.
The cuisine is ideal for sharing in superb traditional Arabic style and where better to start than with a marvellous mezze with two triple-headers, one containing hummus, moutabal and labne with light, warm and perfectly-formed bread and the other feta, muhammara and olives, both reasonably priced at BD3.500.
The service was swift, informative and faultless, with a special mention to Justin, who I have happily crossed paths with on previous dining out adventures elsewhere in the kingdom, and the lovely smiling Rina.
The Fattouch Salad with romaine lettuce, cucumber, radish and crisp bread with a powerful pomegranate dressing (BD2.900++) was a perfect complementary dish.
Other star turns included the Kebbeh, fried seasoned lamb, burghul, onion and cumin with a garlic-yogurt sauce and superb Sesame Falafel, fried fava bean cakes with tahini relish, both BD3++.
But the best was yet to come. We were treated to a little taste test of some of the dishes available from the charcoal-fired grill and this is where Chef Steve excelled with style.
Born in the West Midlands of England before moving South West to what is described as the English Riviera, he boasts extensive Middle Eastern, European, Asian, African and Caribbean experience and has picked up numerous culinary accolades along the way, including nine gold and six silver medals.
Although he has managed at an executive level, including at a top beach resort in neighbouring Saudi Arabia favoured by the royal family, he still adapts to a ‘roll the sleeves up’ policy and says he is ‘passionate about high-class cuisine’.
The Shisk Taouk, Lebanese spiced chicken, was superb, as was the Lamb Kofta and Beef Kebab and for seafood devotees the Rubyan Meshwi prawns basted in tamarind ketchup was perfection on a plate.
There are some tantalising Turkish Pide boat-shaped flatbreads on the menu too with bespoke toppings including Taouk, grilled chicken with caramelised onion, cherry tomato and walnuts and Basturma, thinly-sliced cured beef with kasar cheese and rocca.
Surprisingly, we had room for desserts and some of the delights included Kunafa, a traditional Lebanese sweet made with semolina and cheese (BD3++) and phyllo pastry filled with pistachio nut just perfect with a double espresso to end the night.
This is a truly fabulous setting and another reason to head for Reef Island to check out the newly-opened Reef Resort.
You will not be disappointed from the moment you step through the grand entrance, pass the impressive art work and antique taxidermy on display and head up to the lounge in its exclusive lift.
Close to the cabanas, the lounge, which is open from 5pm to midnight on weekdays and until 1am at weekends, offers private enclosures, as well as a relaxed outdoor terrace overlooking the pool. It promises impeccable Mediterranean-style hospitality and it delivers.
For more details and to book a table, visit www.reef-resort.com or call 13110110.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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