This leading hotel is aiming to entice customers with its revamped brunch – Charlie Holding sampled an affair that offers a scintillating selection of fine fare and an alluring array of sweet treats.
They say variety is the spice of life, and Baharat, which means spice in Arabic, certainly has no shortage of variety. This restaurant – located at Le Méridien Hotel, City Centre Bahrain – is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
At the heart of this restaurant is the kitchen team, which comprises of around 15 different nationalities. Austrian Andreas Gober – executive chef for Le Méridien and The Westin – says it is the diversity behind the scenes that affects the variety on the menu.
“It’s about teamwork and collaboration,” he explains. “Each chef contributes something and we try to add new items each week so we don’t become stagnant. We continuously evolve the menu and we have a number of exciting things planned in the coming months.”
Brunch is nothing short of an institution in the Kingdom and there is certainly no shortage of options to choose from. Some pride themselves on the bevy of beverages, others entice with an overwhelming selection. Baharat sinks in its hooks with a medley of marvellous creations.
Heading the kitchen is Hany Mustapha, an Egyptian chef with an eye for detail. “We want people to come and discover the brunch for themselves,” he says. “I’m sure there is something for everyone.”
The man behind the stunning selection of 100 desserts is Sri Lankan pastry chef Sanjeewa Perera. He decided to move the dessert station outside the restaurant so that it is the first thing guests see when they enter the hotel. “This has made a huge difference because people can see what we have to offer,” he says.
Alongside the sweets, the starters, mains and tidbits are also a formidable combination. Baharat is not the biggest brunch on the island but it stands its ground firmly thanks to the sheer variety and quality of dishes available.
The chef insisted I sample the beef ribs and I’m so glad he did. These marvellous morsels were an absolute delight for the taste buds and the tangy sauce really brought this dish to life.
I moved on with a selection of sushi, each mouth-sized bite being more tantalising than the last. The spicy tuna was my favourite because, although it packs a kick, it’s not an overwhelming one that will send you reaching for the ice water. It is a must-try!
The carvery was the next stop on my culinary journey and it did not disappoint. I began with the glazed duck, which was succulent and cooked to perfection. The rib-eye beef was equally as impressive – tender, juicy and it melted on the tongue like butter.
Foie gras is a luxury food product made from the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. Baharat has this preparation down to an art and it leaves a moreish aftertaste in your mouth.
A single page isn’t enough to do justice to the selection at Baharat. There is also a fresh seafood station, an Asian station, a pasta station, kids’ station and Indian station among many others.
The dessert rounded off a magnificent meal. After pacing up and down the aisle for what seemed like an eternity, I opted for the bakewell tart. However, the most impressive addition was yet to come. I asked chef for some ice cream and a mischievous grin shot across his face before telling me he’d bring it to the table. What followed was literally the coolest thing I’ve ever seen at brunch.
The ice cream arrived atop a metallic container with a series of vents. Chef then poured water over it, which caused frosty smoke to majestically appear! A well-deserved 10 out of 10 for presentation.
Some of the other desserts worth trying include the chocolate shawarma and the incredibly popular, ‘make your own éclair’.
But the fun didn’t stop there. Chef recommended I try a meringue dish which was prepared fresh at the table with a little help from a blowtorch – yes, a blowtorch! Baharat certainly pull out all the stops to deliver a memorable brunch.
I was so full, I genuinely struggled to move as I got up to leave – now I know how the foie gras felt.
Call 17 171-000.