With interest in vegan food options growing exponentially, within the last couple of years in particular, it seemed to me unsurprising that a major restaurant institution in Bahrain, such as Maki, would lend itself to the ongoing revolution in the country’s dietary habits.
We were invited to ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Plant-Based’ in the first week of March, to sample the new vegan menu. What I wasn’t prepared for was the experience that followed – namely, a five-course feast which belied the fact that it was completely vegan/plant-based, with no animal protein whatsoever included in its preparation.
The event and menu were a joint effort by two Maki executive chefs: Chef Louis, the Taiwanese-American from Las Vegas, with more than 30 years of experience as a sushi chef, and Japanese Chef Daisuke, who joined Maki from Vienna.
We started off with a hot and sour soup featuring shiitake mushrooms with a hint of spice which was extremely enjoyable even to my delicate tongue. We were next served a crispy salad with tofu croutons, one of Maki’s signature dishes; somewhat reminiscent of agedashi tofu (without the mirin sauce), it added a generous amount of high-quality protein to our experience. The tofu combined with the hot and sour soup would have also been an exciting combination!
This was followed by special filo asparagus tempura, delightful in its simple succulence.
The Makis came next and were up to the normal standard of excellence expected from this fine cuisine venue, except for the fact that they were 100-per-cent pure vegan. A house made vegan-burger maki ended this selection for the evening.
The matcha yaki udon noodles, as the main course, were perfectly piquant and superbly satisfying, not to mention, like the whole menu, beautifully presented – I must add that dining at Maki is almost as much of a treat for the eyes as it is for the taste buds, a true multi-sensory experience.
To finish, we enjoyed a delicious trio of traditional homemade mochi, a sweetly sensational way to end the evening.
After this unique culinary experience, I can certainly say that by the end of the meal, I did not feel deprived in anyway by the lack of animal protein on my plate throughout the evening.
We all felt replete and extremely satisfied by the outstanding selection of innovative wholesome and sustainable offerings.
Maki has long been known for its vegan and veggie options. Co-founder Amer Zaitoon says: “We want to inspire people who are vegan to continue and for the carnivores, show them that plants can taste good, and even better than meat!”
Carnivores and pescatarians beware – even in Japanese food, there is now a viable plant-based alternative here in Bahrain.