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Diving into dumplings.

PREPARATIONS are in full swing to welcome in the Year of the Dog at one of the kingdom's top hotels from the moment you step through the door and head up to one of its award-winning restaurants.

re/Asian Cuisine by Wolfgang Puck allowed GulfWeekly to exclusively sample some of Executive Chef Brian Becher's special Chinese New Year creations and the spread looks set to be spectacular.

The team at this awarding-winning restaurant is in a state of RED-iness in more ways than one. In fact, the team will soon have special made-to-measure red coloured outfits delivered to dress up in style for the occasion because they do nothing by half measures at this establishment.

And that goes for the cuisine too. re/Asian Cuisine's Night Market will be enhanced with live cooking stations to create an authentic 'live market' atmosphere in the restaurant elevated on the 50th floor.

Having just celebrated the ringing in of one New Year, the restaurant has gone into overdrive in recent days to prepare for another one. Chef Brian has created mighty new menus for the third time in Bahrain that feature appetite-whetting chicken and wagyu beef soup dumplings, followed by roasted whole duckling served with bao buns.

The forever favourite lo mai yurn, sticky rice with local lamb and tangerine puree, will perfectly prepare palates for 'The Five Blessings' representing Chinese New Year's wondrous wishes of longevity, riches, peace, wisdom and virtue ... with the help of Szechuan chili lamb dumplings, venison buuz, king crab crystal chive dumplings, beef and prawn chiu chow and roasted root vegetable dumplings.

The several live-action stations will also showcase delicacies such as an aromatic roasted duckling, flat chive rabbit sausage and longevity noodles among other festive dishes.

The good lady wife, Kathryn, and I, were joined by GulfWeekly columnist Ellissa Williamson and her husband, Martin, for our taste-testing session.

One again, the table service was impeccable with attentive, informed and helpful staff readily available despite a full restaurant and buzzing atmosphere aided by the sultry sounds of Ahmed AlQasim.

To give it its correct title, the Xiao Long Bao chicken and wagyu beef soup dumpling with Szechuan sweet soy, was probably the juiciest Chinese sensation we've ever sampled. It's an unlikely combination that's works on the taste-buds in spectacular fashion.

The Beef & Prawn Chiu Chow was another masterpiece with sweet bean, black vinegar and sesame and then came a duo of dumpling delights, the Alaskan King Crab Crystal Chive, mine and Martin's favourite with Szechuan Chili Sauce and marvellous Chinese Mustard and a spicy Szechuan Chili Lamb featuring Szechuan Pepper, black vinegar and crispy shallots which had the wives playing fair and cutting the fifth dumpling in half to share. Did you know, it's traditionally unlucky to dish out four, so you regularly get an odd number on the plate!

Up until Saturday's feast (aided and abetted by helpings off the Saturday Dim Sum Brunch menu such as the standout Crazy Noodles featuring Hon Shimeji, Thai Chilis and Black Pepper) I rarely have room for dessert.

Until this day, I never really thought the Chinese had ever cracked the pudding scene. Back home, in the UK the choice is usually limited to three; banana fritters, ice cream or banana fritters with ice cream.

And, funnily enough, the final session started with a soup, a tasty Tang Yuan Litchi Broth with lemongrass and a sweet dumpling, followed by Chinese Green Tea Wonton with tangerine jam, no less.

The pronunciation of the word tangerine sounds like the word for money and we could all do with some of that in the New Year, ours or theirs!

And, just when you thought dumplings could not get any more delightful, we dug into a dreamy Crispy Chocolate Dumpling, a powerful purse containing 70 per cent Guanaja Chocolate Mousse.

Pastry Chef Pierre Chambon has also prepared a tempting Chinese rolled ice-cream in green tea, chocolate and litchi flavours along with his sweet fruit dumplings.

The entire evening from 7pm-11pm on February 16 is priced at BD42 net per person, including beverages.

From February 17 to February 28, the restaurant will also offer special five or seven course Chinese New Year tasting menus in lieu of regular tasting menus that include a generous dim sum plate with chiu chow, dan dan and XO shrimp dumplings, wagyu beef pot stickers, Hong Kong style black bass served with shitake mushrooms, filet of beef Sichuan au poivre with wok fried green beans on the side, and a mouthwatering dessert duo to mention a few of the carefully-crafted festive menus.

The menus are priced at BD35++ (five-course menu) and BHD50++ (seven-course menu). Regular a la carte items will also be available.

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Jan 17, 2018
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