Paul Mercer and his family pay a visit to Saveur the contemporary international cuisine restaurant at the Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre
The place and ambience
‘Elegant and inviting’
Located on the lobby level of the Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel with direct access to the Bahrain City Centre Mall, Saveur restaurant is both elegant and inviting. The décor is modern and stylish and with fashionable cushioned seating the atmosphere is sophisticated and comfortable. For a more cozier or intimate dining experience I suggest you sink into one of the high backed cushioned chairs which line the side walls of the restaurant. At the centre of the restaurant is an open cooking station and to the rear is another cooking area which looks out on to the restaurant. I always find open cooking areas a sign of confidence that the chefs not only know what they are doing but actually want to show off their culinary skills.
As for the front of house experience I can only say that it was one of the best I have ever experienced. Our host for the evening was the restaurant manager, Cornelia. Cornelia and her colleagues made every effort to make our dining experience a superb one and even managed to keep my three daughters entertained as we waited for our orders!
‘Good range of fabulous dishes’
The Saveur menu exhibits a good range of fabulous contemporary international dishes which I am sure will satisfy every type of palate. I sampled several starters and my favourite was the rock shrimp tempura with chili miso dip and daikon soy sauce (Delectable!) Fresh shrimp, cooked and seasoned to perfection with a wonderful accompanying sauce (Recommended) A close second was the crab tempura Caesar salad with parmesan and pine nuts (A very wholesome salad, light, refreshing and tasty.) I also sampled the home-made tagliatelle with truffle and aged parmesan. (A very good starter; rich and creamy cheese sauce with tasty slivers of truffle) There is also a choice of cauliflower soup with duck rillettes (pate) beignet (deep fried dough) and truffle or tomato consommé with asparagus and assorted root vegetables and chives.
For the main course you can order quiche, Turkish pide or pizza from the stone wooden oven or there is a choice of steaks from the grill or fish (dover sole or turbot) or veal or beef. A good range of options but at the same time focused.
My favourite main course was the slow cooked veal shank with saffron barley, gremolata (chopped herb condiments) and root vegetables; a very good dish. Melt-in-your-mouth veal drenched in a succulent full bodied sauce (Well cooked, very flavoursome and highly recommended) I also tried the 250gm US sirloin with assorted vegetables and the Dover sole with brown butter, sautéed spinach and parsley potatoes. The Dover sole was a touch dry and was not as succulent as it should have been. The US sirloin was cooked well but I felt that the accompanying sauce needed a bit more to make it superb.
My three daughters ordered the pizza margarita from the stone wooden oven and judging from the fact that not a crumb was left I can safely assumed that they enjoyed it!
I also tried the Christmas set menu of sweet spiced foie gras terrine with black pepper caramel, flamed cherries and toasted brioche followed by pan fried halibut with ginger bread lemon crust, asparagus and sauce maltaise. A very well thought out combination. The terrine contrasted and complemented the tangy orange sauce which accompanied the halibut – I hope this remains on the menu after Christmas.
Saveur’s prices are pretty much in line with the prices of other similar high calibre fine dining restaurants. The Christmas set menu of three courses was good value at BD18 (excluding 20 per cent service charge and government levy) and many of the starters are competitively priced. The more exotic options are, as you would expect, more expensive with the Dover sole and the Wagyu tenderloin each priced at BD39.
Saveur is a welcome addition to Bahrain’s restaurant scene and I would definitely recommend anyone who enjoys fine dining to give Saveur a try. If you have had a busy day shopping at Bahrain City Centre Mall you would certainly end your day on a high by treating yourself to the wonderful cuisine and fabulous service at Saveur.