OHLALA’s Fernanda Langhammer follows the trail of aromatic spices and unique dishes at Rasoi by Vineet at The Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention & Spa.
Celebrating special moments is an essential part of our journeys. To make them unforgettable, we do it surrounded by friends and memorable food. Choosing the right place is crucial, so we picked Rasoi by Vineet to celebrate some excellent news my friends had received. Rasoi by Vineet was the first fine-dining restaurant in Bahrain operated by a Michelin-starred chef, the renowned chef-restaurateur, Vineet Bhatia. When you step into the room, you feel its grandiosity.
Spacious chairs and tables, beautiful artworks, sparkling crystals hanging from the ceiling and strategically positioned lights to give you the perfect seating arrangement to watch the main stage – the kitchen. The long cooking station takes almost an entire side of the restaurant and has large glass panels surrounding it for our enjoyment. At the end of the kitchen, a private Chef ’s Table dining room is composed of a big oval table, the perfect spot to get a group of friends together. We arrived at the restaurant, and Chetan, one of the friendly staff members, took us to a table surrounded by crystal curtains. On the other side of the room, we could see the bright kitchen and the busy cooking team preparing mouth-watering food. Sri, the restaurant manager, came right after (in a stylish suit that we all loved) and explained that we were having a selection of plates carefully chosen for our dining experience.
It is important to highlight that the editor here does not eat animal products, so I thought my dining journey wouldn’t match that of my companions. However, at Rasoi by Vineet, all dietary restrictions are accommodated and, if they know in advance, they can prepare a more comprehensive selection. In my case, they did, and, oh boy! My food was as impressive as the regular menu. Chef Tej Thapa, who has been working with Chef Vineet for 17 years, and his team will ensure that you have the dining experience of your dreams despite any restrictions.
After ordering our drinks, the traditional crackers arrived with flavourful dips. The small containers were filled with beetroot, mint, spicy mango, coconut with mustard seeds and tamarind chutneys. The non-dairy coconut one got the table’s ovation, a fresh and distinct combination that played with our taste buds.
The amuse bouche that followed was composed of a shot of Muglai Dal Shorba, a healthy and hearty soup made with yellow moong dal, and Dahi Puri, a staple snack in Indian cuisine. The thin shell was filled with refreshing ingredients such as finely chopped onions and tomatoes with a mix of chutneys that created an explosion of flavour. The starters arrived, and they were plated as an art piece. My dining comrades had the Tandoori Salmon, a home-smoked salmon tikka (small pieces of meat or vegetables marinated in a spice mixture) with dill-mustard and honey.
According to my husband, this was the best salmon of his entire life. Chef Vineet is known for adding a creative twist while creating dishes with unexpected flavours, and that’s what was behind this fantastic fish. The other two appetisers were part of the Kabab Mela menu (available until October 20), the Citrusy Orange Chicken Tikka, tandoori chicken pieces marinated in a citrusy mix, and the Gilafi Lamb Seekh Kabab, a traditional lamb kabab coated with mint and bell peppers for an extra hint of flavour.
In a separate bowl, they served a mandatory bite in every Indian restaurant, Samosa Chaat, a triangular dough filled with cheese and coriander, served over a bed of Chana Masala (chickpea curry) and topped with tasty sauces. My version was composed of crispy stir-fried broccoli, which I couldn’t find on the menu, I will start a petition to get it added as soon as possible. The small floret bites had the perfect balance between great seasoning, stickiness and crispiness, absolutely delicious.
I also had the Green Pea Radish Chaat, which was quite refreshing, and Hara Bhara Kabab, a vegetarian take on the meaty option, which was made with spinach, boiled potatoes, herbs and spices. The Subz Samosa, a non-dairy option of the famous fried triangles, also in a bed of Chana Masala, was consumed in seconds.
A palate cleanser made with a drop of ginger and lychee sorbet, or a grapefruit version, got our taste buds ready for the main feast. My special menu came in a beautiful Rasoi by Vineet tiffin that looked hand-painted, adding extra excitement to discover the food inside.
In the bottom part, I found Aloo-Gobhi Masala made with cauliflower florets and baby potatoes cooked in a chunky onion and tomato masala with a finishing touch of fresh ginger. In the middle, a rich and fragrant Dal Tadka, yellow lentils seasoned with onion, tomato and garlic. And on top of the tiffin, Palak Corn, spinach cooked with sweet corn that added a hint of robust nuttiness to my Subz Pulao, a gourmet rice dish with fresh vegetables and Tandoori Roti (Indian flatbread).
The meat-eaters had Chicken Tikka Makhani, a chicken tikka in a creamy tomato-fenugreek sauce, a popular dish but one that at Rasoi gets gourmet status for its surprising mix of spices. The Lamb Shank was the star of the mains; while Sri removed the melting meat from the bone (which is marinated for 24 hours and cooked for about 12 hours), there was complete silence at the table.
A ceremony enjoyed even by me. And, as they reported, the slow-cooked meat’s beautiful flavour was accented by the Kashmiri spices and yoghurt in which it had been cooked. To accompany the proteins, they also had Dal Tadka and Jhinga Biryani, prawns cooked in peanut and curry leaf masala, layered with saffron basmati rice, fresh coriander and caramelised onion. The dessert was a selection of Rasoi Sorbets for me, with phenomenal compositions, saffron-pineapple, kaffir lime leaf – lemongrass and raspberryfennel.
Meanwhile, my friends enjoyed the Rasoi Dessert Platter with chocolate caramel cake, Rasmalai, Gulab Jamun and Mango Kuffi, stepping into Indian sweets paradise. Our dining experience ended, but the memories from this evening will linger on our palates. We were introduced to a mix of singular flavours that I doubt we will find anywhere else.
Indian cuisine is well-known for its extremely spicy dishes, but at Rasoi by Vineet, the heat was there as a complement to the distinct flavours, never overpowering and, for us, this was spot-on. Consistency and wow effect are also guaranteed.
For more information or to make a reservation, please call Rasoi by Vineet on 1774 6461. @rasoi_by_vineet_bahrain @thegulfhotelbahrain