For the first time I’m struggling over whether to write about the food or concentrate on the venue, such is the excellence of this year’s holy month offerings at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain.
The premier property has pulled out all the stops to deliver a dynamic package and the intrigue started when GulfWeekly revealed how celebrated scenographer Ammar Basheir had been called in to offer his artistic style to its sparkling pavilion overlooking the sea.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain’s stunning octagon-shaped structure called Masaya, which means ‘evenings’ in Arabic, has been constructed on its gazebo lawn area between its famous villas.
It’s quite a journey the moment you step inside, with a market-style buffet arena scattered with live serving stations with chefs ready to carve slices of succulent roasts on to your plate … but I’ll come to that later.
The large scale modular structure, which boasts 16 golden-hued arch windows offering stunning views of palm trees and the sea, features custom-made copper lanterns that were manufactured by a group of artisans in Morocco. Ammar also added 15 custom-made 4m high hand-beaded sparkling Swarovski columns to emphasise the elegance of his design.
Guests really need to explore before settling down to enjoy the fare. A door from the main dining area leads to an airy room where music is being played and if you keep walking you’ll find another lounge area and further on you’ll find another area to relax and a door to step outside, where people are chilled, laidback in chairs listening to the waves lap on to the shore.
The colour theme that runs throughout the majestic marquee includes gold, silver, aubergine and emerald green used to accentuate the magnificent arches that are individually lit and the addition of solid green marble tables and luxury leather chairs create a glamorous setting for the perfect Ramadan evening.
I met the dashing designer at the media event last Monday evening, on one of my three visits to the venue in recent days, having dashed myself from putting last week’s issue to bed and he was genuinely delighted that everyone was wowed by the creation.
Could the food be as good? Absolutely, when you have Executive Chef Christian Knerr and his talented team taking up the challenge.
I first met the German chef at last year’s Ramadan offering, just a few weeks after he had taken up his appointment having joined The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain from the world-renowned Harrods London, where he served as the Executive Chef of the entire mall culinary operations, and was immediately impressed by his culinary skills and enthusiasm.
He’s also a giant of a man and must measure more than 6ft 6inches tall in his socks. And, he has proved to be head and shoulders above the rest too having picked up the title of Executive Chef of the Year at the Bahrain Tourism Food & Travel Awards in recent months.
As the mighty Masaya makes its mark in a visionary sense so does the food at both Iftar and Ghabga, offering cuisine from the resort’s 11 award-winning restaurants. The flavours featured include traditional Arabian cuisine along with modern fare from the Eastern Mediterranean, Asia and Mexico regions.
My favourites were the slowly-roasted joints of meat, carefully carved in front of you. They were magnificent, perfectly cooked lamb and beef, every slice offering a mouth-watering moment to savour.
The salad display was dramatic, so eye-catching. It was if your eyes were surveying a glorious garden and to my surprise close by was one of the tastiest fresh, healthy creations I’ve ever tasted.
I had always considered water melon as a little wishy-washy, bland at best. That was until I tasted an extraordinary Tofu, Watermelon and Baby Spinach Salad served at this venue. It’s one of those ‘wow’ moments. I’m not sure what spice was added to the mix but it gave the melon a mighty kick. Marvellous.
The sushi selection should also be applauded for variety and freshness. As for desserts, the Date Cake was delicious and went down a treat with a helping of ice-cream delivered on the plate, bowl or cornet by a cheeky chappie from Turkey, who was a crowd favourite with his serving style.
To conclude, a stunning venue, fabulous fare and delivered with grace, efficiency and friendliness by a delightful smiling serving crew.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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