Exploring gastronomic experiences with Sawsan Baluch, owner of Mahonia, Bahrain’s first fine dining degustation restaurant.
Mahonia Is The First Fine Dining Degustation Restaurant In Bahrain. Can You Explain To Us The Concept Of A Degustation Restaurant?
Degustation is a French culinary term meaning the sampling of small dishes, in a sequence of several dishes that create a culinary journey. Each dish presented is unlike the one before. The dishes are designed to play with your palette, with different and unique ingredients, textures and cooking techniques all combined in one bite to create the ultimate enjoyment.
What Inspired You To Bring Such A Concept To Bahrain?
I love ne food! When I travel I make a list of restaurants with Michelin star chefs and degustation restaurants that I want to dine at. The food and experience is utterly amazing and I believe it is something people should try if they have the chance. So I thought, why not have such a concept in Bahrain? In my opinion, Bahrain is an excellent destination for such a unique restaurant concept because Bahraini people are fond of travel and are exposed to all types of cuisines. Further, we are close to Saudi Arabia and many of our customers visit over the weekend simply to dine.
What kind of clients is mahonia aimed at?
Mahonia is for people who love food, respect good ingredients, and are adventurous. Mahonia is also the perfect partner for many companies. We offer a level of service equal to many of the nest restaurants in the world; and as a fine-dining experience Mahonia truly supports high-level discussions and gives clients an unforgettable night. Mahonia also appeals to those celebrating a special occasion who simply want to enjoy life and create remarkable and memorable moments.
What is your favourite dish on the Menu?
It’s very dif cult to say, I love them all! The processes used, the techniques applied, and the ingredients sourced, all contribute to the individuality of each dish.
How often do you change your menu? Does your menu vary seasonally?
Our menu will change seasonally, and as we progress the Chef may offer signature collections.
Do you cater to special dietary needs, e.g. vegan or gluten free?
We do cater to vegetarians and gluten free or if someone has an allergy to a dish on the menu, we replace it with something that suits them. At the time of booking we ask our guests to specify this.
Your menu is curated by three times michelin-starred executive chef, Herve Pronzato. Can you tell us about some of his other iconic projects?
Chef Herve has worked all over the world and has cooked for many celebrities and world leaders including Queen Elizabeth, Brad Pitt, Sting and The Rolling Stones. He worked under the celebrated 3-Michelin star Chef Joel Robuchon, a global culinary icon, running his restaurant. He has learned the secrets of molecular gastronomy from the master of molecular cuisine, Chef Heston Blumenthal, and his accomplishments led him to become one of the judges on Top Chef, a hit TV show in Greece.
All your ingredients are sourCed aBroad or Created in-house. hoW does this affeCt the taste of the food?
Astronomically, since good food is all about freshness and quality. There are no additives or preservatives in the food we prepare, so you taste the delicate and delicious avour of the actual ingredients. We pride ourselves on creating and importing the absolute best produce. We even have our own ‘food lab’ for butter, cheeses, meats etc and grow our own microgreens, make our own breads and prepare all stocks, consommés and sauces from scratch. Good quality ingredients are evident in the taste.
What is a typical Mahonia experience like? how many hours should someone set aside for the full experience?
Mahonia is a complete journey of all senses: taste, sight, sound, smell. We advise that our customers set aside 2-3 hours for the full experience, depending on whether they have selected the 7- or 16-course degustation menu. The experience is designed for people who want to savour it, not for people who are rushed and want to eat and leave in a hurry. Overall it is a fun and thrilling experience, and a must for true foodies.
What is your advice for enjoying the meal to its fullest?
Be adventurous and try everything. At the end of the day, the dishes are made from clean, fresh ingredients and prepared by highly experienced, passionate Chefs, who love and respect all kinds of food and cuisine.