We check out the new Italian at the InterContinental Bahrain 8 Reviews
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Bahrain already has a generous serving of Italian restaurants: think Olivetto, Roma, Café Italia and La Pergola. And Italian dishes – or at least pasta wading in some kind of viscous off-white sauce – are consumed with gusto in the food courts of the island’s malls.
The recently opened Medzo, located on the mezzanine floor of Manama’s InterContinental Hotel, clearly targets those at the more discerning end of the dining demographic. For starters, the décor is so contemporary it risks being passé as early as next month: dark parquet flooring, silvery blue wallpaper, and a cluster of circular lights, like huge Christmas baubles, protrude boldly from the ceiling.
But there are subtle nods to rusticana too: sprigs of fresh rosemary sprout from each table, and the French cutlery is of simple lines – the kind that almost looks better suited to the hands of a surgeon.
Medzo’s musical fare is modest Italian pop, played at what my dining partner and I concluded to be a perfectly acceptable ‘no need to raise one’s voice’ volume, and how we relish being spared the soulless pap of lounge tunes favoured by many a modern eatery. We also found the temperature of the room to be absolutely perfect for gastronomy, unlike the glacial conditions to which diners are normally subjected to in Bahrain.
Shirt-sleeved and relaxed, full feeling of noses and lips retained, we begin with the complimentary bruschetta. The tomatoes lacked sweetness, and the toasted bread was a little soft, but we tucked in with lashings of the olive oil from the small bottle on the table.
The waiter soon returned with our choice of salads: insalata di polpo (octopus) for him and insalata di carciofi e funghi con parmigiano (artichoke hearts with mushrooms and parmesan) for her. Both were beautifully presented and challenged us to find fault. The only things to note were a slight chewiness to the octopus, and the leaves of the salad themselves could have perhaps benefitted from a touch more dressing. Again the olive oil came in handy.
The main courses provoked equal measures of gushing praise and surprise. My fillet of hammour in chardonnay sauce was spectacularly presented in aluminium foil sculpted in the form of a swan, and served with a delicate little mound of garlic mash and a mille-feuille of grilled vegetables. The sweet aroma of the grilled red pepper in the marvellous mille-feuille was one of the evening’s enduring memories, and the puréed potato was fantastic. How could something so silky smooth be insulted with a word as messy as mash? The hammour, however, wasn’t as good, and the chardonnay sauce lacked the punch we had hoped for.
Thankfully, the other main course, cotoletta Milanese (escalope of veal), was the size of an elephant’s ear. Served bone-in and accompanied by the proven duet of garlic mash and the mille-feuille of grilled vegetables, the meat was rich and juicy. The presentation, however, could have been improved upon, as it was a little unflattering: its bone generously wrapped in aluminium foil, the cutlet resembled an enormous flattened drumstick alongside its more carefully crafted accompaniments.
By the time dessert was served, we thought we were prepared for just about anything. Anything, that is, except the sublime mousse of the torta limoncello (limoncello tart) and the perfectly balanced quartet of pistachio, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry in the torta gelato (ice-cream tart). A fantastic way to end the meal, we ate in absolute silence.
Bahrain has many Italian restaurants, and while the arrival of Medzo is a welcome addition, we will have to see how it fares over time. Sure, there are a few things to iron out, but presentation of some of the dishes and flashes of excellence in others, like the puréed potato, show there is good potential – but like other Italians in Bahrain, similar points could be said.
The bill (for two)
Insalata di polpo BD5.4
Insalata agro dolce BD3.86
Filletto cernia BD10.62
Imported water BD2.29
Total (incl charges) BD37.25
Time Out Bahrain,
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