Drawing up to the ART Rotana Hotel in the evening, you can’t help but notice more than a passing resemblance to the striking architecture of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel; raising the obvious question how does it compare?
Although only there for dinner at Flames, the hotel’s signature restaurant & grill, first impressions were indeed promising. Genuine warm and friendly greetings from the security team at the main gate and concierge at the front door set the tone for thae evening.
I will admit to a little initial trepidation upon venturing in to the main lobby, it was a little too bright and probably a little too loud for a 5 star hotel on a Saturday night; but certainly nothing that couldn’t be fixed by a deft hand on the dimmer switch and volume control. There needs to be a balance between the simplicity of design and elegance.
However any vestige of such concerns quickly faded once we were seated in the relaxed and stylish Flames Restaurant, enjoying the smooth service and soaking up the warm ambiance created by Chef Darren Andow and his team.
Chef Darren’s intimate knowledge and passion for honest simple food shines through at Flames; preparing a succulent array of balanced dishes that let the finest ingredients delight as the star on each plate, rewarding even the most discerning of palettes.
The menu promised a mouth-watering array of seafood and traditional grills; aged grain-fed beef, succulent lamb and delicacies from the sea, and the talented team at Flames didn’t disappoint.
One of the stars amongst the appetizers was a fruit de mere platter; juicy oysters, prawns, Alaska crab, mussels, & marinated squid prepared with care and presented with a simple panache that would not have been out of place in any seafood restaurant in northern France. Although a personal favorite was one of Chef Darren’s signature dishes a rich and velvety seafood chowder, loaded with seafood and shellfish and served in a specially baked loaf, infusing the already flavor-packed soup with the essence of freshly baked bread.
Having enjoyed the treasures from the sea it only seemed right to savor some of the other delights from the Flames grill. Cooking a steak well, is most certainly an art, and one that the chefs at Flames have undoubtedly mastered. Aged grain-fed beef, lightly seasoned and grilled to perfection melted on my tongue, and tender lamb kebabs marinated with herbs and spices, suitably accompanied by a perfect balance of garden fresh vegetables prove to be worthy successors to our appetizers.
For those of you with a sweet tooth ensure you save some room for a treat from the array of sumptuous desserts
Flames is a great addition to the Bahrain restaurant scene, fine service, great food and excellent value for money. If you enjoy a drink with your meal the range of grape available offers something for the discerning palette without breaking the bank. I look forward to seeing more from Chef Darren and the team at ART Rotana. www.rotana.com/rotanahotelandresorts/bahrain/amwajisland/artrotana