Mon, 01 October 2018
Apple Sharma tried some delectable dishes at Primavera Trattoria Moderna, the Italian restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, and met the chefs behind its new menu.
Primavera, one of the classiest Italian restaurants in Bahrain, serves exceptional Italian cuisine under the leadership of two Michelin-starred chef Oliver Glowig. As a lover of Italian food, I was excited about trying the new menu and tasting the creations of the newly appointed chef de cuisine, chef Vincenzo Nigro.
Coming from Southern Italy, chef Vincenzo’s family’s cooking traditions inspired him to follow his passion for food. His early upbringing in the kitchen led him to hospitality school at the Institute of Mauro Perrone, Castellaneta (Italy), at the age of 14. His culinary journey began in 2006, working at major fine dining establishments across London, Switzerland, Australia, the Maldives, Dubai, Russia and most recently Bahrain. Under the mentorship of chef Oliver and former chef de cuisine, Alfonso Ferraioli, chef Vincenzo’s career has soared since joining Primavera in August 2017, starting as sous chef and becoming chef de cuisine, a role he has assumed since August 2018.
My colleague and I were joined by some of the ladies and gentlemen from The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, including the GM Bernard de Villèle and chef Oliver himself. The brilliant serving staff were prompt to seat us and offered a glass of bubbly to start.
As the entrées rolled in, chef Oliver gave a quick summary of the dishes we were about to enjoy, including some of his signature dishes. First came Parmigiana di Melanzane – parmigiana three-way – traditional with tomato sauce; wrapped in mozzarella and fried; and a grilled eggplant-mozzarella-tomato-pesto stack. I’m not a big fan of aubergine but it was heroed so tastefully and paired impeccably with tomatoes and cheese that I couldn’t get enough of it. Vitello Tonnato – veal Piedmont-style with tuna mayonnaise and capers – was a treat for the taste buds, delicately pink and succulently tender. The Uovo Croccante con Spuma di Parmigiano (O) – crispy poached egg – that followed was simple yet elegant. An ode to the humble breakfast staple, the dish came in a crunchy coating with a perfectly cooked yolk, complemented by the parmesan foam and freshly sautéed spinach. It looked as pretty on the plate as it was to taste – definitely worthy of a five-star restaurant. The starters came to an end with another beautifully presented creation of grilled octopus, potato salad, green beans and pesto.
We had barely disembarked the entrée train when a medley of main courses arrived. These included homemade fresh fagotelli filled with parmesan mousse, crispy sage and butter; risotto, cooked in tomato water, burrata cheese and anchovies; seared tuna, panzanella salad, with cold tomato soup; grilled lamb chop, with tomato purée and lamb jus; and roll of oxtail with celeriac cream and crispy celery.
The risotto was my favourite – creamy Arborio rice had just the right amount of bite to it, with a wholesome taste of tomatoes, intensified by the silkiness of the burrata and the saltiness of the anchovies. My colleague raved about the grilled lamb chop – the flesh barely needing to be shown the knife before falling off the bone, and the tomato purée made a tasty combination with the rich lamb jus. Another favourite was the oxtail – served in a mini crispy cup, and one of the standouts from the new menu.
Our evening came to a spectacular sweet ending with a trio of desserts. A duet of vanilla truffle and chocolate ice-cream coated with crunchy milk chocolate, and Neapolitan tart with ricotta ice-cream were both simply delightful. But the pièce de résistance, in my opinion, was the Tiramisù. The traditional dessert of mascarpone cream and espresso-soaked ladyfingers is chef Vincenzo’s grandmother’s recipe. Creamy, light as a feather with a melt-in-your-mouth decadency, it leaves a lingering sensation to go back for more.
The tasting was an absolute hit and I will most certainly be returning to sample more delicacies from the new menu.
Call 17 586-499.