Say “Aloha!” to Trader Vic’s brand new Saturday brunch, for this stalwart of smart-casual dining and entertainment has played upon its Polynesian character to bring us the first-ever Waikiki Hawaiian Brunch.
With curiosity piqued by the dual novelty factors of this being both a newcomer and uniquely themed, Time Out Bahrain just had to be among the first diners to dive in.
Virtually every Bahrain resident has stepped foot in Trader Vic’s at one time (and many others). It’s synonymous with good times and great beverages. Combine this with the setting and it’s perfect for the new Saturday brunch.
The buffet is laid out around the back of the main dining area, where walls of bi-fold doors are pushed open and seating spills out onto the outdoor terrace.
Sunshine and sea breeze filters in, as The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain’s lush landscaping and ocean views draw the gaze out.
The tropical theme extends to the piped music and menu, and we’re delighted to find a number of authentic Hawaiian dishes on offer that we’ve never even heard of, never mind had the pleasure of tasting before.
We discover Loco Moco is a hearty concoction of fried egg served on top of rice with various other trimmings.
Hawaiian Ahi Poké and Salmon Lomi Lomi are like sashimi re-imagined, and desserts feature twists on the venue’s notable mixed beverages such as the Bahia Crumble, which is a creamy, fruity, textural delight.
Regular Trader Vic’s diners will also be pleased to know there are plenty of favourites from the standard restaurant menu included in the offering, as well as brunch staples such as the obligatory live pasta station.
Breakfast food aficionados are also well catered for, with plenty of classic options available in addition to a great live egg cooking station.
And seafood lovers are also in luck, as there are beautiful peeled prawns and fresh oysters aplenty.
Meanwhile, at the dessert table, while many of the concoctions are on the sickly sweet side, we have to commend the selection of exotic fruits and quality of cheeses from around the world on offer.
One of our fundamental disappointments is found in the fact that there is no live music from the regular Cuban band. This would definitely take the atmosphere up a notch or two.
Having said that, in comparison to other five-star offerings around the island, this is certainly a well-priced brunch.
(However, with timings only from noon until 3:30pm, it’s also shorter than your average weekend affair.).
As for the service, a high ratio of servers to diners means that plenty of attention is paid and there are no frustrating empty plate pile-ups. Certainly a brunch niggle we could all do without.
We do believe there’s room for improvement here, however, as our servers could do with being a little more cheery and slightly more finessed in general, which is true of the restaurant on most occasions.
Overall, during this brunch, while we found the food isn’t of the highest quality in town, it certainly has a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere, underpinned by glorious surrounds, and the Hawaiian theming adds a splash of fun.
Once the team have settled into their brunching rhythm, we believe this has all the makings of a very fun, very respectable new addition to the Bahrain brunch circuit.
Sat noon-3.30pm. BD18.5++ (food and soft drinks), BD24.5++ (house beverages). The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 586 555).
The bottom line
A first for Trader Vic’s and a first for Bahrain, we love the novelty factor of this Hawaiian brunch.
Three more To try on Saturdays
Cut by Wolfgang Puck
A selection of Wolfgang Puck’s favourite dishes are served à la carte style.
From BD29++. Fri-Sat noon-3pm. Four Seasons Bahrain (17 115 000).
The family-friendly Italian has pasta, pizzas and lots of cheese on offer.
BD24 (food and beverages). Sat noon-4pm. Art Rotana (16 000 111).
This European affair offers fantastic breakfast and lunch classics.
From BD25. Fri-Sat noon-3.30pm. Palace Boutique Hotel (17 725 000).