Tue, 01 October 2019
Liz O’Reilly headed to Equal Romanov in Adliya for an eastern feast.
Some time ago, I set out to compile a round-the-globe list of dining options in Bahrain. Admittedly there were quite a few missing but one really notable omission was Russian cuisine. When I heard this gap had now been filled, I was eager to check out what’s on offer.
Firstly, let me start with the venue. Everything from the chairs, some of which bear portraits of the former Russian royal family, to the plush wallpaper and prints of Tzar Nicholas Romanov and his clan, has been chosen by restaurant manager Yuliya. She’s Russian by the way, as are the chefs.
The atmosphere is high-end yet at the same time relaxing, which just helped the excellent culinary offerings render me close to a food coma!
Yuliya had suggested a selection of dishes which she assured me were classically Russian fare and I was keen to dig into the starter of Salad Olive’ye with shrimp. A special occasion dish, usually prepared for high days and holidays, such as New Year, I could easily see why – it’s rich, very rich! A selection of chopped veggies and pickles brought together with homemade mayonnaise and a dash of mustard, it’s a treat for the taste buds and the firm but tender juicy shrimps were the perfect accompaniment.
Next up was Draniki S Mochankoi. Here, I must confess that my Irish heritage makes me a sucker for potatoes in their many and varied forms but potato pancakes are an absolute favourite. This dish sees them light, fluffy and deliciously crispy accompanying bite-sized chunks of tender meat (I had beef and bacon but there are other options) served in a rich, creamy white sauce flavoured with onions, mushrooms and spices. Don’t be concerned though, it’s not spicy, just full of authentically warming flavours.
I had been limiting my portions in anticipation of trying four separate dishes but I must admit Draniki S Mochankoi challenged me to put my knife and fork down without polishing off the lot.
When I arrived, Yuliya was breakfasting on a delicious looking plate of pancakes, or blini, and, noting my covetous expression, she added these to my tasting menu, much to my delight.
Now, if you’re American, these are not what you think of as pancakes. They’re much more European; a lighter, thinner batter made without soda. To my mind, they’re actually much better than the thicker American version, but that’s a matter of personal preference. However, add a generous serving of berries and sour cream and I would challenge anyone not to be impressed – even just the look of the plate is inviting, never mind the fabulous texture and mix of flavours.
And to make them even better, they’re also available with savoury accompaniments such as salmon and red caviar or ham and cheese.
Last but not least came Sirniki – curds with fruit and clotted cream. I’ve never had curd before, it’s made through a process of curdling milk, which, I have to say, sounds a bit off-putting. But I was pleasantly surprised. There’s a smooth but almost crumbly texture and the taste is akin to a sweet cheese. I’d definitely recommend you try it as it’s hard to describe and it’s also homemade as it’s not easy to import from Russia without compromising the freshness.
All in all, Equal Romanov gets a definite thumbs up. I will be back.