Fri, 03 November 2017
Stepping out on to the 35th floor of The Domain Hotel and Spa, the cool blue and white reception outside Imari gave me a hint of what the evening was to bring us. The exquisite bone china theme continues inside the restaurant, and the textured false ceiling gives the place a calm ambience. My dining companion and I chatted as we took our seats by the glittering night view of marvellous Manama, in total anticipation of Imari’s Kaisaki Bento Box promotion.
Connoisseurs of Japanese fare will appreciate the offer, which is on every Tuesday, and includes a bento box as well as a salad, sashimi and dessert. All this can be washed down with either half a pint of malt, a glass of grape or bubbly, as you please. Priced at BD17++, it makes for a relaxed gastronomic experience.
Quickly chowing down our fresh greens with a generous side of wasabi dressing, rich with olive oil and garlic, we looked forward to sashimi. In an ornate dish arrived neat cubes of raw coral-hued salmon, deep pink tuna and yellowtail that had a translucent blush. The meat was moist and shiny: an indication that it was fresh produce. The fish was assembled on a bed of assorted seaweed and piquant, crunchy shreds of Japanese yam, with a small mound of wasabi on the side.
Next, came the pièce de résistance – two glossy, black square boxes topped with bowls were set before us. Our stewardess neatly arranged the bowls around the boxes and proceeded to open them. A rich aroma assaulted the senses before the eyes could take in the colours of the dishes. I was first drawn to the pinwheels of chicken breast with a verdant green centre of asparagus. This delicious poultry preparation was to be savoured with katsu sauce, a thick liquid that kept the taste buds guessing with hints of sweet and bitter. Alongside it was the beef teriyaki, which looked very appealing – its deep brown colour punctuated with bright green broccoli done al dente. Eaten with sticky pearls of rice, its comforting flavours can appease the tongue unfamiliar with Japanese tastes.
Next, I dunked the tempura in its accompanying sauce. An assortment of milky white prawn, tasty mushroom and tender eggplant, the tempura had a lovely crunch, thanks to its crispy goldenfried coat.
The grilled yellowtail with Japanese omelette was a textural experience for the palate. The firm flesh of the fish contrasted beautifully with the custard-like feel of the delicate and airy egg. These four mains were complemented by miso soup.
We were completely satiated by the seemingly conservative portions of food even before the final course. Dessert with the Kaisaki Bento Box promotion is a choice of matcha tea, red bean, black sesame or espresso ice cream. We sampled the first two options and thoroughly enjoyed their uniqueness.
All in all, Imari competently captures the extraordinary flavours of authentic Japanese food that is characterised by understated, simple tastes and artful presentation.
Call 16 000-000.