A Luxurious Winter Wonderland - Eats and Treats by Tania Rebello
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain is one of those hotels that has consistently defined luxury in style. With the chilly winter gradually emerging, they have spared no efforts in creating an incredibly magnificent winter pop-up restaurant.
The winter chalet is a dreamy, fairytale set-up located by the beach that serves up cozy winter delights.
Instantly awestruck by the enchanting décor, I made myself comfortable on the relaxing, cushioned bench.
The glass panels and the wooden floorboards are reminiscent of an Alpine Swiss chalet. Crystal chandeliers and Christmas trees adorned with fairy lights and baby blue bows added to the glamorous, festive sensation.
A friendly duo of servers made their way to my table with the menu that consisted of a range of comfort foods.
After placing my order, I relished the selection of bread from the bread basket. Nothing compares to freshly baked sourdough and rye bread with unsalted butter.
The who leroasted, warm chestnuts and peanuts served on the side were a nice touch.
Winter does not begin until you have had a piping hot soup, so I began my dinner with a bowl of Shepherd Soup.
This soup is a heartwarming bowl of clear vegetable broth that is loaded with nutritious vegetables such as peas, carrots, leeks, potatoes and onions.
The soup was very delicious with sweetness from the peas and carrots while the leeks and onions contributed to its savory side.
The soup is usually served in a sourdough bread ‘bowl’ but you can opt for a gluten free version that is served in a porcelain bowl.
Next on the table was the Salad “Mont Blanc” which is a very colorful and thoughtful combination of fresh and crisp assorted lettuce, slivers of pickled gherkins, boiled potato and freshly sliced tomato, topped with beef bacon vinaigrette and egg mimosa.
The salad was delicious with tidbits of beef bacon that added a mild saltiness to the salad, while potatoes and eggs contributed to the creamy texture.
A raclette cheese grill was placed on the table in preparation for the Cheese Racle t t e experience. Did you know that raclette means ‘to scrape’? This is because melted cheese was scraped off the cheese wheel onto people’s plates.
In this situation, individual slices of cheese are melted in little grill pans and then scraped off onto the plate.
The raclette was served with steaming hot baby potatoes, bresaola, cold cuts and pickled vegetables. The golden, melted cheese with the perfectly boiled baby potatoes was a mouthful of lusciousness.
Pairing the melted raclette with the bresaola, cold cuts and pickled gherkins was equally delectable.
The Fondue Bourguignonne is a dish not to miss. Premium beef tenderloin is served with six sauces that are prepared inhouse and a bowl of French fries.
A vessel containing boiling hot oil is placed on a hot plate. Fondue forks are provided to pick the meat.
Like the Cheese Raclette, this is a very interactive dish requiring the involvement of the guests. I particularly enjoyed this dish as the beef could be cooked to my liking in the hot oil.
They had six sauces that were packed with flavor; Dijon mustard, tartar, saffron aioli, chili, cocktail and basil.
Each sauce was a star on its own that paired perfectly with the tremendously tender beef as well as the fries.
The saffron sauce was creamy, had a mayonnaise consistency and a prominent saffron flavour.
The basil sauce had fresh notes of basil and was equally creamy and delicious.
The chili sauce was creamy and tasted like hot sauce.
After all the scrumptious food that I had consumed, I was excited for what was yet to come with the Fondue “Chinese”.
I have always been impressed with the hot pot experience and this is exactly what the Fondue “Chinese” is all about.
Taking on an Asian twist, this dish was nothing short of a warm and cozy hug to keep you warm on a chilly winter night.
As the vegetable broth bubbles in a large hot pot, platters of seafood, chicken and beef as well as a vegetable platter including mushrooms and glass noodles are served. Condiments are served separately to flavour the broth to your preferences.
I began by adding a touch of chilly garlic paste, some red chillies and soy sauce to the broth followed by shrimp, crabsticks, cuttlefish, sea bass and allowed that to simmer in the broth.
As I fished out the seafood with a cute copper wire colander, I spotted shiitake mushrooms in the broth.
Shiitake mushrooms add a sweet, earthy, umami flavor to broths.
This dish was such a treat to the senses.
Also featured on the menu is a selection of signature cocktails, mulled wine, mocktails, savory and sweet crepes, veal schnitzel and many more delights for you to experience.
My dining experience was complete with a warm apple strudel paired with creamy vanilla ice cream and a rich three-layer chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream.
The apple strudel was an uplifting combination of warm, buttery pastry and sweet, cinnamon apple pie filling.
The chocolate cake was not overly sweet but chocolatey enough to make me go back for more.
The pistachio ice cream served with the cake had a delicate pistachio flavor that worked well with the cake.
I waited for a ride back to the hotel lobby and while having a horse carriage take me back would have been the ideal Presenting the exceptional winter chalet at The Ritz-Carlton finishing touch to this magical culinary journey, I settled for a golf cart ride and left feeling exceedingly satisfied.
To book your dining experience at the Winter Chalet, contact 17586499.