Winters in Bahrain are synonymous with barbecue nights all over the island – be it in the vastness of the desert, a garden, or even your very own balcony or backyard. There’s something about the heat from the glowing charcoal, the smoky aroma of grilled meats and biting into hot grills in the nippy air that makes the experience so wonderful.
Weekday nights, however, are not meant for going through the hassle of marinating your ingredients, keeping a diligent eye on the pit and cleaning up after. That’s when Baharat’s Barbeque Night comes in. This cosy restaurant at Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre fires up the grill every Wednesday, allowing you to kick up your heels and enjoy charred treats with family and friends. And that’s just what I did one Wednesday evening, not so long ago.
The venue’s ambience bears the exotic aura of the Middle East, bathed in dull gold with ebony accents, yet living up to the Parisian lineage of the hotel.
The restaurant stages a lovely spread indoors, comprising an impressive range of appetisers, breads, cheese and dessert. The Mediterranean seafood salad, Portobello mushrooms, beetroot moutabel and the muhammara were a riot of colour, and the moreish roasted vegetable roll with pesto was unique on the palate. Crabs, mussels and clams sit on ice, to be eaten with fresh vegetables and pickles.
I made a beeline for the wild rice and mushroom soup, the whole-hearted flavours of which immediately warmed me up. My partner relished the tortilla soup with chicken.
All the live barbecue action was outdoors, under the ink-blue sky. I thoroughly enjoyed all the varieties of potato – baked in foil jackets, triple-fried, and roasted baby spuds. Close by was a gleaming chunk of roasted beef. Its exterior was well-seasoned with spices and generously strewn with rosemary; its interior a rosy pink, just as it should be. A selection of sauces – barbecue, Béarnaise, mushroom and mustard – are most suitable accompaniments.
At the far end of the outdoor space was a sight that was both amusing and clever. The open bonnet of a car served as the pit for the meats that were sizzling away on the red-hot grill. A chiller held a variety of cuts of beef, lamb, chicken and fish to chose from. We opted for a small sampling of each of them (but of course!) and try as I might, I cannot pick a favourite. The tender chicken taouk and drumsticks were mildly spiced and the salmon fillet and kingfish steak looked and tasted excellent. I polished off the succulent lamb kebabs and chops before you could say “Barbeque Night at Baharat”.
The highlight of the dessert buffet was a pink chocolate fountain beckoning us with cake and fruit on sticks. There’s plenty for anyone with a sweet tooth – blueberry cake, vanilla and strawberry napoleon, pistachio and vanilla cakes, egg custard tart, mango mousse, chocolate brownies, baked almond tarts, apple pie and more. The strawberry trifle – a sweet amalgamation of pineapple, white chocolate and strawberry sponge – and the sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce were winners in my book. The nearly-burnt caramel flavour of the latter was just heavenly!
With a couple more precious months left till balmy weather eludes us, I’m going to feign fatigue at the end of as many Wednesdays as I can, to keep returning for the chargrilled goodness and sweet treats that this theme night offers.
Call 17 171-000.