If you’re on the hunt for some flavourful Italian food, you’ll find it at PRIMAVERA. With the introduction of their Chef de Cuisine, and the recent launch of their fabulous Rustico Lunch, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain there is no other place you should spend your Saturday afternoon.
The premise here at Primavera is that guests and diners will experience the very best Italian fayre whilst drinking up the tremendous views of the gulf from the veranda. Housed within the Ritz Carlton’s vast, lush grounds, the setting is tranquil and airy. When the first Ritz hotel opened its doors in 1906 it was heralded as one of the greatest hotels of all time.
Today the brand carries this legacy. It follows that each dining venue represents the very best of the best, whether that be Thai, Traditional Arabian or Italian. Chef de Cuisine Delfino Sanfilippo Chiarello has created the Rustico lunch menu to showcase the tastes, textures and colours which typify the stunning selection at this trattoria moderno. Purity and simplicity are at its core whether that be the stylish, clean lines of the décor or the menu as a whole.
The décor is a fusion of contemporary and homely. Dark and light interspersed with quirky, colourful artisanal crockery which adds an element of authenticity and personality. The mixed antipasti arrived on a breadboard, an impressive selection of Cicchetti to whet our appetites. Bruschetta and charcuterie were familiar staples but as we explored further, we discovered some delicious Mediterranean morsels. Panzerotti resemble small calzone pizzas, understated parcels which certainly packed a punch. The crunchy casing housed an unctuous, creamy mushroom filling.
I was also introduced to Carrozza which is essentially a deep-fried mozzarella sandwich but this description is too simplistic. The contrast of textures and the fabulous quality of the cheese make this such a special appetiser which I may not have sampled otherwise. Alongside these were bitesize portions of Eggplant Parmigiano, Bresaola and a beautifully vibrant caprese salad. It encouraged us to graze and take time to savour each element. Pasta and Pizza typify the way in which simple ingredients can produce stunning results. The baked pasta with a combination of bechamel and zingy tomato sauce was rich and decadent.
In contrast the Mushroom Tagliatelle was fresh and light. The sauce clung to the strips of al dente noodles allowing the flavour of the mushrooms to take centre stage. Pasta or ‘Primi’ courses as they are referred to in Italy aren’t meant to be filling but rather a precursor to the main event or ‘secondo’ . In addition to the quality of the pasta dishes, the hand stretched pizza dough created a wafer thin crust that highlighted skills and dedication to delivering authentic dishes just as they would be in Napoli.
“The sauce clung to the strips of al dente noodles allowing the flavour of the mushrooms to take centre stage.”
Although pizza and pasta are fabulous examples of what Italy has to offer many aren’t aware of the fabulous fish and meat dishes. The Rustico Saturday menu offers an introduction to this in the form of Braised Beef with Polenta and Red Mullet Livornese style. Livornese style sauces originate from Livorno in Tuscany and once again hinges on the quality of the simplest ingredients to allow for a truly homegrown culinary experience. Tomatoes, olive oil, capers and garlic provide a sumptuous sea in which the Red Mullet can swim. The fish was cooked to perfection with crisp skin and mouth-wateringly moist flesh.
Polenta is yet another Italian ingredient which demands appreciation. The creamy polenta provided the perfect vessel for the deep, rich braising juices from the beef. The beef, despite being extremely tender, held together perfectly and was infused with the flavours from rich stock. Molto Bene! And so to dessert, which was as indulgent as it was veritable. The Godfather of all things ‘dolce gusto’. Each spoonful left me craving the next. The perfect symphony of sweet, creamy and chocolatey.
Equally, the fruit slice topped with chilled crème anglaise and fresh fruit also served as the perfect finale to such a fine lunch.
Primavera offers an exciting and indulgent alternative to traditional weekend brunches or buffets affording fine dining quality with the variety expected of a brunch style menu. Served between 12 and 3pm, it’s ideal for couples, the whole family or indeed, more convivial gatherings. The Italian Guitarist Stefano ‘Stevie’ Arcieri adds another dimension to the dining experience. Quality, authenticity and simplicity at their very best. Rustico Lunch is an opportunity which should not be missed. Just like Grandma would have wanted it!