Good Food, Meaningful Moments

When we eat, emotions become associated with the experience. The Ritz Gourmet Lounge left lingering memories with Fernanda Langhammer and the OHLALA team over a breakfast and lunch feast.

If there is an iconic place to dine on the island, it is The Ritz Gourmet Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. Its French flair and impeccable, decadent décor transport you to a sophisticated Parisian café with a twist. The twist comes in a unique interior design touch – paintings hanging on the ceiling! Comfortable sofas and armchairs in floral and paisley upholstery and delicate tableware add to the dreamy vibe. It also has a veranda, which is a great area to enjoy your food al fresco.

During my visit, the restaurant was buzzing with a group of ladies who were clearly regulars, ordering their coffees with a simple: “As I like it, please”. Other tables were taken with people enjoying small talk or by themselves. It has such a nice ambience and offers an array of options, so no matter the size of your hunger or craving wishes, you will find something delicious to eat. The place is well-known for its pastries and desserts (the infamous cheesecake is a best-seller and a must-try), but classic savoury meals are just as fantastic.

The all-day dining is operating its regular hours during Ramadan and is now offering the Ultimate Morning Coffee Experience, from 7am to 11.30am – a curated breakfast with everyone’s favourite morning bites. For those who love to try new options but are currently fasting, don’t worry, this delightful spread will still be available after the Holy Month.

The breakfast comes on a three-tiered tray with a selection of savoury and sweet options; it reminded me of a lovely afternoon tea treat. The best part was that I didn’t have to choose between sweet or savoury. Every time I go for breakfast, I always try to get someone to share one savoury and one sweet pick with me; in this case, you get it all. But not just that, there’s also a plate with freshly cut fruits such as watermelon, melon, blueberries and strawberries and a basket of croissants and other breads. And you can order your favourite drink, coffee, tea or juice. I opted for an Americano and orange juice, while my dining companion chose a flat white.

We started by trying the savoury options: three slices of bread with different toppings. My colleague went for the eggs Benedict, which was composed of a perfectly cooked poached egg (yes, with a creamy, runny yolk) that sat on a bed of spinach covered in light yellow Hollandaise sauce. She also tried the smoked salmon in multigrain bread with capers. We later found out that the salmon is smoked in-house, and its thin texture makes the bite very light with the perfect smoky aftertaste. I opted for my favourite breakfast item, avocado on sourdough bread with a mashed avocado base with slices on top and some cherry tomatoes decorated with tiny edible purple flowers – a beauty to the eyes and a delicious and healthy fatty option to start the day. The mini croissant filled with scrambled eggs and cheese was soft and a treat to the palate.

And that’s not all from the savoury options; small falafel balls covered in sesame seeds and grilled halloumi cubes coated in zaatar added an Arabic touch to the ensemble along with hummus, labneh and olives. The falafel bites were crunchy on the outside and moist inside, and the halloumi was super tasty with the addition of zaatar. I am a hummus lover, so I added it to my avocado bread for a hint of earthiness, expanding the avocado’s bland flavour.

Butter pancake and classic cinnamon French toast with berry compote and maple syrup were the sweet options. They were fluffy with a hint of vanilla that made them kind of dreamy and comforting. But if you like croissants, you will have a feast with chocolate, pistachio, almond, cheese and plain. Flaky and airy with a nice ratio of filling, they were a great treat to end this perfect spread.

However, there is much more at The Ritz Gourmet Lounge. As I always say, food is not just about satisfying hunger but an act that connects you to your feelings – be it childhood memories or new ones created when you are dining. To make these feelings come to life, you need a menu that offers classic dishes with an exciting approach, and that’s precisely what The Ritz Gourmet Lounge provides.

We had the Endives Salad with blue cheese, baked cherry tomatoes, candied walnuts, chives and mustard dressing. Endives are firm, crunchy and bitter leaves that, combined with the tartness of blue cheese and the sweetness of the baked cherry tomatoes, created an explosion of flavours. It was so refreshing and daring at the same time; I really enjoyed it.

The appetiser was the star dish of the day: Baked Goat Cheese in filo pastry, baked cherry tomatoes, candied walnuts, rocket leaves, honey and balsamic. It was also filled with caramelised onions, making this everyone’s favourite. The mix of soft goat cheese and crispy filo elevated the textures, and the balsamic added the necessary tanginess to make this a dish that will stay on my mind and something I will return to. I am sure that’s what most restaurants want to provoke in their guests – at least one dish that touches them.

For the main course, we opted for the classic Pan Seared Salmon served with steamed vegetables and lemon beurre blanc sauce. The salmon was cooked perfectly with crispy skin and flaky and moist inside. My dining companion said this dish reminded her of her mum, from whom she would always steal some bites as this is what she always orders.

The dessert was Pêche Melba, another traditional recipe made with poached peaches, raspberry sauce and cream – an effortless and sophisticated sweet treat to end this spectacular meal on a high note.

The Ritz Gourmet Lounge is the place to eat beautiful food that will evoke pleasant feelings. The same dining companion said that despite the salmon being a comfort food for her, she left the meal thinking about the adventurous flavours of the Baked Goat Cheese (it was the first time she tried these flavours), and that’s what a memorable food experience should sound like.

For more information or to make a reservation, please call The Ritz
Gourmet Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain on 1758 6425.
@ritzcarltonbahrain

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