Much to the delight of seasoned diners in the Kingdom, The Gulf Hotel’s spectacular Ramadan tent Khaimat Al Khaleej is back. Farah Baig dined at the magnificent venue and found out exactly why it’s considered to be so special.
Whether you’re a local or an expat, there’s an indescribable feeling brought on by Ramadan in Bahrain every year. There’s a pleasant sense of serenity during the day followed by a truly vibrant atmosphere after sundown with iftars and ghabgas encouraging people to connect with one another over a scrumptious meal. Strolling into Khaimat Al Khaleej, it was clear that the team had worked hard to amplify this feeling.
The warm tones of the opulent tent set the tone for the feast that was to follow. My guest and I were seated at a table that was beautifully decorated and laid out with familiar Ramadan essentials – an assortment of dried fruit and dallahs of qahwa and black tea.
After making ourselves comfortable and whetting our appetite, we took a tour of the lavish buffet and multitude of live cooking stations to get a feel for what was in store. The Khaimat Al Khaleej tent plays on the many strengths of the hotel, presenting a range of delectable cuisines from several of its restaurants.
I made a beeline for the sushi counter and plated up an assortment of maki, nigiri and gunkan sushi. I appreciated the fact that all the ingredients were incredibly fresh and that aside from soy and wasabi, some of my favourite condiments (hello, togaroshi!) were available so I could mix, match and dip to my heart’s content. Sticking to Japanese, I stopped by the teppanyaki station for some delicious beef before tucking into its luxurious prawn tempuras – five-star flavours for sure!
There are several hot and cold mezzas, fresh salads, and Ramadan dishes to choose from including lamb qhouzi, harees, thareed, prawn biriyani and fried safi too! The assortment of manakeesh and bread fresh out the oven was a delight.
Next, we ventured to ‘Bait El Mashweyat’ which quite literally translates to ‘House of Grills’. It sure lived up to its name with the chefs expertly grilling a range of local favourites including an assortment of kebabs and tikkas. I have to mention that the range of Argentinean grills including juicy lamb chops, steak, chicken and prawns were a carnivore’s dream. Coupled with the freshly made chimichurri, chipotle mayo and tomato salsa it was just phenomenal. Sauteed vegetables and garlic and herb mashed potatoes from the hot food counter were the perfect accompaniment.
The appetisers and mains were sufficient to satiate our appetite, but visiting The Gulf Hotel and not eating dessert is almost… rude. The beautiful tent makes the time pass with ease so we enjoyed some banter over delicious Ramadan drinks including passion fruit-flavoured laban, tamarind and Vimto – a staple!
Ready to indulge our sweet tooth, we ventured to the many dessert stations – Arabic sweets, ice cream, pastries, cakes, fresh fruit, a chocolate fountain and crepes – we were spoiled for choice! Ultimately, we opted for a selection of light and flaky baklava and cheesy kunafa. The chocolate tarts, profiteroles and banoffee with date were absolutely decadent, but my favourite had to be the unique Mascarpone Chocolate Kunafa Bowl which had so many layers of flavour and texture too.
The food, service and luxurious décor made the Khaimat Al Khaleej experience one to remember. Perhaps that’s what it should be called henceforth, the Khaimat Al Khaleej experience, as there’s nothing else quite like it.