Premium steakhouse in the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Discuss this article
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If a fork is dropped in an empty restaurant does it make a sound? In the case of the Ritz-Carlton’s newly refurbished steak restaurant, Plums, the answer is a definitive yes. In fact, you will probably have half a dozen waiters pounce on the cutlery before scurrying off to drum up replacements.
I know this because I tried. Arriving for a 7pm reservation just days after the restaurant re-opened following restoration we were solo diners for a good half an hour before a single other customer arrived. Despite there only being two diners in a room big enough for 40, a crew of waiters busied themselves aligning napkins, smoothing creaseless tablecloths and rereading the menu.
Not that it would take them long to memorise the entire single page document. Just a couple of soups and half a dozen starters are the extent of the appetizers and mains are almost entirely steaks. Rather than being minimalist the effect is one of focus. If you want a wide selection of dishes carry on up the Ritz-Carlton’s corridor to international restaurant or choose the hotel’s Italian, Primavera.
Come to Plums only if you want quality steak and are prepared to pay for it.
The restaurant’s new look is more austere than the previous incarnation. Gone are the purple flourishes and pop art murals on the walls. The recent makeover seems to have worked under the brief that designers could use any colour they want: as long as it is black. Black pictures hang on black walls obscured by black curtains and reflect the black floors and black statues and furniture.
The few exceptions are the alabaster white napkins and a pair of striking portraits on one wall. Instead of being gloomy, the dark design and low lighting give a sense of intimacy, and not just because the restaurant was empty.
This is the sort of place to have hushed conversations about food. You’ll find yourself debating the merits of tenderloin versus sirloin and whether or not the béarnaise or peppercorn sauce is the better accompaniment.
Although the main focus of the restaurant is the steak, you should take the time to explore the appetizer menu. Our jumbo scallop was seared and served up with a green lentil salad and leek fondue. The scallop was moist and flavoursome while we appreciated the imagination shown in the garnish. Less impressive were the crab cake lollipops with wasabi mayo. The dish was dry and would have benefitted from a more substantial sides than the radish salad with yuzu vinaigrette.
The main courses, however, are what cement Plums reputation as Bahrain’s best steakhouse. Any menu that contains a BD85 piece of meat is clearly locating itself at the very high-end of the spectrum. Although I am sure this tenderloin Japanese wagyu dish is worth every cent the company credit card was not willing to stretch that far on this occasion. Nor did we want to go for the Plums ‘Wow’ burger. Again the sticking point was the price tag. Even when smothered with pan-fried foie gras, truffle sauce and porcini mushroom compote it is hard to justify BD45 for a (Japanese wagyu) beef burger. Like many visitors to Plums we opted, instead, for a more reasonably priced steak. The options are wide, with sirloin, rib eye, tenderloin, T-bone and cowboy cut on offer.
We tried the tenderloin and T-bones and both were plump, juicy an immaculately prepared. Like all good steaks they needed very little in the way of accompaniment – the quality of the meat itself was enough with a little salt. This being the case our béarnaise and green peppercorn sauces barely touched the meat.
The same can’t be said of the sautéed mushrooms and grilled asparagus. The mushrooms in particular were succulent and richly flavoured. Truffle mash (with the tenderloin) and an enormous baked potato (with the T-bone) rounded off the plate and helped confirm our belief that this is Bahrain’s finest steak restaurant. Being the gluttons we are we still found space for dessert. In lesser restaurants the trio of crème brulee would have stood apart as a culinary highpoint – so enamored were we with the roasted pistachio option – but after the steaks this was mere afterthought. It is clear this restaurant will not be empty for long.By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,
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