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Dynamic Domain of fine fare.

WHERE do you go when you wish to celebrate something special? The answer's easy, somewhere special!And special is probably the best description of the new kid on the block, the stunning Domain club/hotel in the Diplomatic Area which is currently enjoying a soft opening, with special offers and gifts galore, two astonishingly impressive restaurants and a cool club bar.Our daughter Imogen calmly took an entrance examination into Queen Margaret's in York, one of the UK's leading all-girls' boarding schools, and we had been anxiously awaiting the results at the end of the summer holidays.It was strange to see our 14-year-old daughter with her head out of the clouds and concentrating on her school books but her hard work paid off.Her 80 per cent plus pass rate was also a huge endorsement of the excellent schooling she had received at St Christopher's in Bahrain and was worthy of a slap-up farewell meal.The Domain sparkles and the good lady Kathryn saw a few stars too when she accidentally walked into the entrance door on arrival. Despite a wobbly tooth she quickly managed to pull herself together and enjoy the party upstairs.Up the lift to level 34 there are two restaurants, one on the right called Le Domain, South of France fare with a chic Art Nouveau setting and great city and sea views adding, as the publicity details state, to the oh-la-la factor.The one on the left, namely Le Sauvage, is a manlier, sizzling steakhouse with smooth, leather-bound upholstery, shiny decor and a cool-looking model on a poster-style painting looking across with a suitable moody expression. The lampshades are what can best be described by my now aged but former psychedelic sister of the 1960s as 'far out'. This is the domain of Swedish Executive Chef Kjell Kollin and his trusty Swiss sidekick Executive Pastry Chef Serge Decrauzat and their busy, bustling kitchen team getting down to business in front of the diners' very eyes. It's like being in the TV studio whilst they are recording a hit chef series, and hard to take your eyes off despite the brilliant views out of the windows.Chefs Kjell and Serge wanted us to have a taste of the delights of both restaurant menus whilst we ordered and chose our meaty main courses at Le Sauvage.Our party included three of the sun-worshipping Gibbings family from Bristol on their third summer holiday to the kingdom.Copper roofing specialist Matt, his elegant wife, Gemma, and daughter, Issy, 14, have visited numerous restaurants on their trips to the island and reckoned we'd saved the best for last before they headed back to Blighty.There was a lot of talent on show in the kitchen and the team was determined to show off their prowess. As Chef Kjell explained: "I want people to have a memorable experience but not at an exorbitant price."Now he's talking my language, especially when you check out the Wagyu beef dishes available which are embarrassingly over-priced at some of the island's other fine-dining establishments.Matt's and my Wagyu Entrecote, priced at a reasonable BD24++, was cooked to perfection as was the good lady wife, Kathryn's Sirloin (BD23++) which melted in the mouth, luckily really as her mouth was sore and her lips had started to swell.Gemma tucked into a rack of lamb priced BD14.500++ and the children shared an interesting Wagyu burger in charcoal brioche bun, served with sundried tomatoes, red onion marmalade, pickled cucumber, yoghurt cream cheese at a snip at BD14++.The main courses were marvellous and easy to describe. The extensive sample of starters and sweets, however, were out of this world and to be honest, if we didn't love Wagyu meat, we'd probably never had enough room to tackle the main courses.Chef Kjell has been cooking up treats since 1983 after starting an apprenticeship at the opera house in Stockholm, Sweden. He has gained experience across the globe with some of the biggest names in the business and has held executive chef positions with Kempinski, The Banyan Tree and most recently enjoying a three-year spell after helping to open the celebrated Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai's Jumeirah Palm.His starters included Pissaladiere onion tart, tomato, black olives and goat cheese and at the same price of BD4.5++ came the Sweet Peppers with extra virgin olive oil, anchovies and garlic.My personal favourite was the bowl full of crunchy Crispy Baby Squid at BD5.5++. Amazing.Chef Serge is simply an artiste and that's no exaggeration. He was voted best pastry chef in America in 1990 and has worked alongside some of the finest chefs in the world in Paris and New York before holding the executive pastry chef positions at renowned establishments such as Le Perigord, the Lipstick Cafe and Le Cirque. The former head chocolatier of Swiss International Chocolates is now performing his magic at the Domain and will be melting a few hearts in the kingdom before long. The Creme Brulee (BD3.5++) featuring Cocoa beans and Madagascar vanilla was described by the creme brulee queen of Bahrain, Kathryn, as 'the best' she had ever tasted.My Open Apple Tart Pommes Arienne at BD3.5++ with Caramel ice cream was incredible, and the Roasted Banana costing BD4.5++ produced a taste sensation mixed with an Acacia Honey ice-cream. So good, I had to lick the plate. I don't think I can wait for the next family celebration.Editor's note: Check out the special introductory offers, such as 2-course lunch BD11++ and 3-courses for BD15++ or come for dinner and get breakfast free -- and they'll even throw a room in free! Terms and conditions apply, dinner-for-two, minimum spend BD80, running throughout September.

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Sep 4, 2013
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