Tag Archives: tea

Ritz Carlton Bahrain Gourmet Lobby Lounge Review

The weather is amazing.  And when the weather is amazing in Bahrain, people jump at the chance for al fresco dining.  A place that I’ve been gradually hearing more buzz about is the newly opened Ritz Gourmet Lobby Lounge outdoor terrace.  The setting is beautiful, with comfortable chairs on a patio overlooking the manicured grounds and swimming pool of one of the swankiest hotels in Bahrain.  Sheesha is available, with a multitude of flavor combinations, which for many will be a huge drawing point.  Indoors, the decor is very reminiscent of London afternoon tea parlors, and is elegant and luxurious without being overdone.  I was most excited about their dessert sundaes, since I feel there is a real lack of sundae places in Bahrain.  We ordered saffron tea, american coffee, tiramisu sundaes, oreo brownie sundaes, and the lobster mac and cheese to try.  The saffron tea was delicious, it had an exotic undertone of flavor without being overpowering.  The lounge also has an extensive tea cocktail menu, which is cold blended tea drinks that I still haven’t tried.  Next came the lobster mac and cheese. 

It was good, but nothing that I’d really crave again.  The sauce was mild and creamy, the lobster pieces were good sized but the whole combination seemed to lack a little flavor.  A few bites, and I was bored of the dish and ready for dessert.  And dessert came looking very good.

The portion size was good, filling without being excessive, and surprisingly I liked the tiramisu sundae more.  The coffee poured over it gave the ladyfingers a nice moistness and the white chocolate whipped cream gave the needed sweetness.  The oreo and brownie sundae was good, but nothing amazing.  The brownie bits were a little dry and the oreos being present in their whole form instead of crumbled also made the sundae a little dry and hard to eat. 

What redeems the Ritz’s lounge for its exorbitant prices (3.300 BD for coffee, 4 BD for each sundae) and slightly above average food is the beautiful ambiance and the setting in which you eat.  I felt like I was somewhere other than Bahrain, the pleasing views, comfortable chairs and attentive service made this a place I know I’ll go again and again.  Only next time, I think I’ll stick to drinks and dessert maybe choosing something from their exquisite looking pastry display case.  Check out the full menu here!

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Honey Chamomile Cupcakes

 

This recipe forever won a way into my heart.  You are going to love me for sharing this with you.  It’s one of my favorite cupcake recipes , and the combination of ingredients is so delicate, unexpected and pleasing.  Don’t be nervous about the tea! It gives such a mild enhancement to the flavor even unadventurous people will like this.  I got this recipe from the Joy the Baker cookbook, the source of many excellent recipes, and I highly advise you try these for any gathering, bridal shower, tea party, breakfast or brunch you have.  In short, try these whenever and wherever and you’ll find them to be a crowd pleaser.  They come together in no time which is such a plus for a dessert.  I made them after my morrocan tagine and curried couscous dinner, and the exotic flavor in the cupcake really worked well with the above.   The cupcakes are infused with delicate chamomile flavor which pairs perfectly with the honey icing on top.  I’d love to experiment with other tea flavors too! They look so pretty, and they taste even better then they look. For maximum effect serve with tea…we had authentic morrocan tea with these…Enjoy!

Honey Chamomile Cupcakes adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook

For the Cupcakes:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons dried chamomile (tea bags)

1/2 cup milk (low fat works fine)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar, taste and add extra 1/2 cup if desired

1 tablespoon honey

about 5 tablespoons heavy cream

pinch of salt

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a cupcake pan with paper or foil liners and set aside.

To make the cakes:  in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pinch of salt, and chamomile leaves.  Mix on medium speed until the mixture is slightly coarse and sandy.  This takes about 5 minutes.

While the mixture beats, in a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

Pour half of the milk mixture into the flour mixture.  Beat until just incorporated.  Pour in the remaining milk mixture, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 1 minutes, until well blended.

Divide the batter between the prepared cups.  There isn’t a lot of batter so you’ll only fill the cups up half way.  You’ll also need to scrape the bowl for remaining batter.  This recipe doesn’t waste a drop.

Bake the cupcakes for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes from the pan to cool completely before frosting.

To make the glaze: in a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, honey, cream, and salt.  Whisk until smooth.  Use a butter knife to generously spread the frosting atop the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with just a bit of chamomile tea leaves and arrange on a pretty plate.  Cakes will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to three days.

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T Spoon Kempinski Hotel Review

Just like I hate wasting time on recipes that don’t turn out well,  I hate wasting my appetite on restaurants that disappoint.  I think there is a desperate need for proper restaurant reviews in Bahrain, so I add this category to everylittlecrumb so that people can benefit some from my quite frequent trips to restaurants and see my musings while eating my way through Bahrain.  Comments and reviews are very welcome!

I love afternoon tea.  There’s something about having a variety of finger sandwiches and delicate pastries and cookies with a steaming pot of tea that makes you feel fancy.  That said, I still don’t think theres’s a really solid option for British style afternoon tea in Bahrain, which is a bit of a waste considering the amount of British expats we have.  Yesterday, I was excited to try T Spoon in Kempinski Hotel.  The atmosphere is surprisingly serene and classy for a mall venue, and service was impeccable.  We were seated immediately, order for type of tea taken, and a little platter of mini cookies were sent out.  The cookies were forgettable, the tiny crispy ones you usually get as a side to a tea or coffee order.

The menu made the afternoon tea seem extensive, which was good because I was really hungry.  To be specific, this is what it read:  Lemon tartlet, raspberry mille feuille a la minute, Bakewell tart, chocolate éclairs, almond and pine seed croissants and delicious macaroons.  Savory items: sandwiches including foie gras on crispy bread with chutney, smoked salmon and black pepper on brown bread and French brie and truffle on toasted brioche and freshly baked plain and raisin scones with Devonshire clotted cream, wild strawberry jam and lemon curd.

(If only there were a few more sandwiches)

When our platter arrived, after a 15 minute wait, I was a little disappointed.  Even for an afternoon tea, portions seemed a little small.  The amount pictured is meant for two people.  The pot of tea (not pictured) was enough for two and a half cups.  The sandwiches pictured should have been offered as double portions, because we needed to cut each one in half in order to be able to both try them.

The food was mildly good, but extremely predictable.  You got the distinct feeling that you could easily make better sandwiches at home.  Scones were a little hard and sweet, on the plus side the clotted cream was actual clotted cream, not a whipping cream substitute that we so often get.  The dessert was equally average.  The bill ended up being 16BD which is along the lines of what I’m used to paying for afternoon tea, but I usually leave other  venues much more satisfied then I did yesterday.  Still looking for an afternoon tea experience in Bahrain that will leave a more lasting impression!

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