Victorian mediums knew the value of smoke and mirrors. And as you venture into Plums – past the gothic empty picture frames and skulls on black walls, through the low lights that obscure its little nooks and corners – it becomes clear that such showmanship endures into the 21st century. A little wonder never goes out of style. Plums is shot through with ceremony and drama – the amuse bouche (a sadly neglected art for the most part in Bahrain) tantalises, the steak knives are presented in a wooden case and you’re asked to choose your weapon. After your meal, you’re presented with dry-ice confectionary rigged with chocolates and mini ice-cream cones. It’s a sensory maze designed to delight and confuse.
However, unlike the conjurers of the past, who were all style and no substance, Plums delivers where it really matters. The trickery doesn’t mask deficiencies, rather enhances quality. Scallops are seared perfectly, layered with fragrant truffle – overlarge, but satisfying nonetheless. Sides are well-judged and unfussy. Steaks are charred with precision and full of flavour – the choice of beef is excellent and each cut is shown respect, being carefully sourced and prepared.
The theatre of dining – in some places a lost art due to the propensity for earthy simplicity – is alive and well at Plums. Take your seats and enjoy the show.
The bottom line Theatrical verve meets rare quality.
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com