Irresistible Infusions by Movenpick’s New Maestro
This island is popularly referred to as the ‘Land of the Two Seas’, and if there’s something we can take from that phrase, it’s the fact that the locals have a strong liking to what the sea inhabits. Seafood comes in a rush of flavours and textures that are tantalizing and rewarding to the taste buds. It consists of all kinds of sizes, colours and piquancy, when endured through delicacies of greatness. Certainly something that appeals to the diverse range of people who call Bahrain as their home and something that definitely tempted and served as a challenge for Chef Iain Joyce, as he decided to take the role of the new Executive Chef for Movenpick Hotel Bahrain.
Chef Iain, who besides looking forward to settling in a country that is highly family-oriented and has a diverse residency of people with stories much like his own, is excited to give diners a rejuvenating experience as he adds bits and pieces of what he learned and mastered in his impressive culinary journe of more than 20 years, into the already well-established and highly regarded menu of Movenpick’s kitchen. Speaking to Weekender, as he welcomed us into the main dining lounge of the five star hotel, Chef Ian said, “I enjoy cooking seafood. It’s open to different kinds of flavours; you can make it into a curry, a thai, even fish and chips. Every country, every culture has an area or a region which is near to the sea, hence you can create great a many recipes and dishes.” Besides which, he also likes to work his hands around different spices, cheeses and meats, creating unique and uplifting tastes and combos that certainly go the long way.
And thus began a culinary experience, insurmountable. Lucky as we were, Weekender team was presented with a gripping menu that listed a few of the very fine and very palatable dishes his culinary genius could coin up. The ingredients, the names and the aroma as the appetizers were being fired up, was giving our taste buds a tantalizing temptation as we waited to be treated to food heaven. Alas, good things to those who wait, and soon enough our first appetizer made its way onto the table.
While scallops manage to hold their ground through their own succulent taste, intensifying the serving with a dash of vanilla, seared with cauliflower puree and few crunchy sugar peas, the ‘pan seared scallops’ tasted beautiful and weren’t chewy but moist to the optimum level. Once we had managed to wipe clean the first platter, a breathtaking presentation of the ‘Grilled Chicken Salad’ made its way. Consisting of sugar roasted pear, bean sprouts and a hint of hazelnut dressing (yes you read that right) the salad’s distinctive ingredients complimented one another with flavours and textures. The two starters had certainly created the right ambience and we were looking forward to the ingenuity with which Chef Iain layered his main course dishes.
Tender, So Tempting
And before anything else, the star of the night ‘Braised Lamb Ribs’ made its way and it looked divine- which really doesnt come as a surprise considering the time it took to bring it into its majestic form. Weekender caught some of the ‘behind the curtain’ action as Chef Iain in his absolute form, worked his culinary tactics on the wok, giving the marinated lamb with soya sauce, brown sugar and spices, a final reheat before plating it up. “The lamb is marinated for a day, after which it is taken out, seared and cooked for two hours. It is then cut into desirable pieces and then finally reheated.” Chef Iain informed the reason to ‘wok it up’ is to infuse all the flavours deeply into the meat, since they use the rib which isn’t the prime cut, hence it needs a bit of work to make it soft and tender to eat.” And was the lamb tender; making it almost unneeded to even chew it; the lamb was cooked to the perfect temperature as it was graced with bits of pumpkin gnocchi with flavouring through star anise. The recipe was mastered by the chef during his stint in China for 5years and he proved he was as comfortable working with meats as he was with seafood. And with that, our meaty endurance just got better. A ‘Grilled Beef Open Sandwich’, topped with dried tomatoes, caramelized onions and balsamic, was again tender yet juicy and even had a hint of mustard and wasabi sauce to it. With a crunchy base, it could serve as the perfect poolside lunch, fulfilling and appetizing. We were getting accustomed to Chef Iain’s out of the box combinations and when the interestingly created ‘Seared Local Sheery’ graced us with its presence, we were intrigued to know what was inside the dumplings and again, we were amused but not surprised for alongside the fish and baby spinach, we got a tantalizing touch of goat cheese, that truly made our day. It was unique and it worked well.
Desserts of Art
Almost to the end of our riveting and truly mesmerizing experience, the luncheon concluded on the sweetest note as it was just a treat for our mouth but for our eyes too. Possibly the most beautiful presentation we had seen till date, the Fig Tart with Movenpick’s signature ice cream and berries was a sight to behold. It was almost sinful to break the art apart as we devoured into the plating that consisted of a gorgeously decorated golden web of sugar on top. Besides which, Chef Iain presented us with an orangey goodness of creation had an orange cake and cream, with a side serving of crushed ice granite- the perfect dessert for the summers indeed.
We were curious, we got intrigued, we indulged and we give our thumbs up to this maestro who will be reviving up Movenpick’s kitchen with his definite creations, that will be added to the different settings and dining areas of the hotel. Chef Iain is a valuable addition to the Movenpick family; whose recipes and creations we will be looking forward to.
Braised Lamb Ribs
Seared Local Sherry
Grilled Beef Open Sandwich
Grilled Chicken Salad
Orange Cake with Orange Cream and Granite