We try the restaurant formerly known as Ken Lo’s Memories of China

Time Out Says

I must admit I haven’t been to Tian since it changed its name from Ken Lo’s Memories of China, at which time it was good but more than a little pricey.

So it was a nice surprise to find a reasonably priced offering with a really good selection of Asian dishes, not just Chinese but Thai and Malay also.

I went for the degustation menu – four courses for BD12, and if two of you order there’s a free bottle of a rather nice house grape.

For a set menu there’s a really good variety ranging from chicken and shrimp dumplings or wasabi prawns as starters to kung po chicken and steamed fish with ginger as a main course.

I chose the salt and pepper squid which came coated in a light, crispy tempura batter on a bed of cruchy friend onions and seaweed.

My personal preference would be for the squid minus the batter but, that said, it was very light and extremely tasty.

My dining companion didn’t fare so well opting for the duck rolls from the a la carte menu. If size were all, these would surely be a winner, since the portion was more than big enough to constitute a main course. But sadly the flavour was a little lacking with the duck somewhat overpowered by the hoi sin sauce.

My inbetweeny was hot and sour soup – I’m never sure whether to go for this since so many places concentrate on the hot at the expense of the flavour.

But I can honestly say, though it’s something I wouldn’t have ordered were it not part of the set menu, this was one of the standout dishes of the night. Yes it was spicey, but not so much that I could not taste the flavour of the broth and it really set the stage for the meat to come.

For main course I went for Angus beef in black pepper. A tip, should you prefer your meat rare, make sure you say so as I wasn’t asked – my guest called the result over-cooked but for me it was just right. Tender and succulent with just the faintest tinge of pink – I’ve never been one for wiping its face and slapping it on the plate so this suited me just fine.

The sauce too was a good choice, tasty without drowning the meat and the food was served with a small bowl of really good crunchy vegetables in, what tasted like, very lightly salted water.

To accompany I chose egg-fried rice which, to my mind, never usually tastes of anything but on this occasion was actually quite eggy so another winner for me.

Back on the a la carte menu, again my companion wasn’t so lucky. She picked broccoli and mushrooms, the broccoli was good, tasty, fresh and crunchy but the mushrooms were over-cooked to the point of slimy.
Her main of red snapper with ginger was a disappointment. The fish, once again, was over-cooked. Snapper should be firm but this was almost watery and the sauce, which was actually very tasty, may simply have been poured over rather than being used as a marinade as the fish had taken on little of the flavour.

The great thing about the degustation menu is that all the courses are included and for desert I opted for banana fritters. I must’ve been on a roll as this was another clear winner.

Even my dining companion could find no fault with the crispy, piping hot batter encasing the super sweet banana filling. Topped off with a sticky caramelised sugar coating and toasted sesame seeds and served with icecream, this, for me, was the evening’s other stand-out dish – in fact, I’d probably have been quite happy with just a double portion of desert and forget the rest of the food altogether - well except for the soup.
All in all, the degustation menu was the clear winner. A good range of choices for a very reasonable price – who knew that Tian had such good offers eh? (They also do a fair deal on brunch.)

The restaurant itself is no less impressive than in its previous incarnation, architecturally airy and interesting with some really nice welcoming touches.

We actually chose to eat in the upstairs lounge, where it’s possible to smoke, and this space is really quite impressive – dark colours and low lighting give an impression of intimacy which would make this place at home among some of the island’s better clubs.

The service too was flawless, you really get the feeling that nothing is too much trouble, so I’ll be paying a return visit to see if they can do better on the a la carte menu next time.

The bill (for two)
Degustation menu
Duck rolls BD 4.500
Broccoli & mushrooms BD 3.000
Red snapper BD 5.500
Bottle of house grape BD14.000
Total (inc service) BD49.680

By Time Out Bahrain staff  | 28 Mar 2012

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12:00 PM to 11:59 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMMonday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMTuesday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMWednesday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMThursday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMFriday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PMSaturday: 12:00 PM to 11:59 PM
Show number 17 717 080
Manama, Adliya, 847 Rd No 3828, Manama 338, Bahrain

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