Away from the skyscrapers and traffic, Keizo hides furtively at the stern of the stunning Al Areen Palace & Spa, moated and accessed via underground tunnels, bridges and golf buggies like a supervillain’s lair. We are transferred with military efficiency until the temple-like edifice stands before us – it’s an impressive start.
The service is similarly noteworthy – professional and competent staff explain the dishes in detail and cater to our every need.
Keizo is pleasantly situated by the Al Areen Wildlife Reserve and birds from the nearby aviary circle overhead. There are individual marquees for couples to spend a romantic evening under the stars and the interior of the restaurant is notably, appropriately, lavish.
We begin the meal by ordering a variety of sashimi but unfortunately we’re told most of what we choose is not available. Undeterred, we plump for a delicious and tender Thai beef salad that’s a riot of flavour. Sadly, we’re disappointed by the sashimi we do get: chewy prawns and gracelessly sliced lumps of salmon are not a good sign in a joint that specialises in Japanese food, especially one that ticks so many other boxes.
Thankfully, the main courses more than make up for it. The beautifully-presented rock lobster is utterly infused with butter.Keizo’s chefs recognise that this is a decadent luxury and provide us with as good a lobster as we’ve had. The second entrée is the Canadian scallops, and once again Keizo’s kitchen staff rise to the challenge. Paired with a delicate rice, the scallops are seared with precision yet yield readily to the tooth.
As our night wends its lazy way towards a conclusion, we finish on a high note. The caramelised pineapple with ice cream is a perfect example of a simple dish done well. Meanwhile, the ginger crème brulee, albeit not as browned as we’d hoped, exhibits subtle flavours and the delicate touch we now expect from this venue.
The bill (for two) 1x mixed sashimi BD5.8 1x Thai beef salad BD3.9 1x Canadian scallop BD6.2 1x rock lobster BD9.3 1x ice cream BD3.8 1x ginger brulee BD2.1 Government levy BD1.788 Service charge BD4.665 Total BD37.553
The bottom line With a little more care and attention, Keizo could join the elite and draw in the Manama crowds nightly.
Keizo Al Areen
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com