Buon Appetito!

Explore Italy’s vibrant flavours with Bushra Hakim at L’ORTO, discovering the extraordinary in every simple dish.

Italy’s magnetic allure captivates anyone who has wandered its cobblestoned streets and relished its culinary treasures. Once tantalised by authentic Italian cuisine, the craving becomes insatiable. The secret lies in its simplicity — few but fresh ingredients. In my quest for authenticity, I discovered L’ORTO, an unmissable gem in Block 338, renowned for its exquisite Italian fare.

Stepping into the restaurant, I was greeted by a bright, spacious interior that catered to every preference. Whether you favour the airy courtyard or a snug family table, the contemporary design with its warm earthy tones and rustic wooden accents creates a cosy yet stylish setting. Classic Italian melodies softly playing in the background enhance the intimate ambience, setting the stage for a remarkable dining experience.

I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Antonio Camilli, the charismatic new Executive Chef, whose creations promised to captivate my senses. With over a decade of experience spanning London’s bustling kitchens and Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe and Australia, Chef Antonio brings a blend of innovation and tradition to Bahrain. His commitment to the finest ingredients and his creative spirit are set to usher L’ORTO into an exciting new chapter.

The journey began with the Asparagi, featuring grilled asparagus with earthy, smoky notes, complemented by the creamy tang of homemade ricotta and the rich, salty hint of cured egg yolk. The harmonious combination of textures and flavours was a great start to what was to come.

The Carpaccio di Filetto was a revelation. The chilled, thinly sliced fillet was tender and succulent, perfectly balanced by the sharpness of mustard crema, the nutty, savoury essence of Parmigiano flakes and the peppery bite of wild rocket, all brought together with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The dish was an elegant play on traditional carpaccio, yet elevated.

The Tuna Cutlet is what truly stood out — a departure from the classic, it boasted impeccably rare tuna encased in a crispy fried coating, offering a surprising juxtaposition of textures. Accompanying the cutlet was a delectable squid ink mayo. Its creaminess complemented the delicate taste of the tuna really well. The addition of sun-dried tomatoes lent a subtle sweetness, while the herbs infused the dish with fragrance. Whether savoured solo or shared, it’s a plate of pure indulgence, simply meant to be enjoyed to the fullest.

For the mains, I began with Baccalà alla Mediterranea, a sublime blend of rich, savoury notes. The cod fish was tender and flaky, beautifully paired with the briny intensity of black olives, grated so finely over the top that I wondered what the intriguing taste could be. The aromatic freshness of mint and the subtle herbal notes of bay leaf added layers of complexity. All of this was enveloped in a robust Mediterranean sauce with olive oil, tying the dish together seamlessly.

Then arrived the star of the show: the Tagliolino e Bottarga, brought in proudly by the chef himself. This signature dish featured fresh tagliolini pasta, cooked to al dente perfection. The smoky butter lent a luxurious richness to the preparation, while the chives provided a subtle, refreshing note. However, it was the bottarga that stole the spotlight, imparting salty and savoury umami flavours that lingered, enticing with each bite. A dish so simple yet bursting with a myriad of taste profiles.

To conclude the main course, I devoured the Burrata Pizza, a delightful fusion of tastes and textures. Its crispy sourdough crust added a satisfying crunch, complementing the creamy mozzarella and burrata perfectly. Tangy tomatoes and fragrant basil completed the ensemble, creating an irresistible medley of freshness and creaminess.

For dessert, the Torta Basca was a lovely surprise. This Basque cheesecake was a flawless creation, unlike any I’ve ever tasted. Its rich and luscious texture, coupled with a slight caramelised crust, was a testament to perfection, baked just right! The sauce of lacto-fermented strawberries and Moroccan lemon provided a unique tanginess and zesty finish. I highly recommend indulging in this masterpiece.

The Crêpes Suzette was a gastronomic marvel, a delicate dance of flavours that was both delightful and surprising. Each velvety crêpe was adorned with a decadent drizzle of caramel, infusing every mouthful with a buttery sweetness that lingered delightfully. The addition of fresh oranges lent a burst of citrus brightness, harmonising beautifully with the caramel sauce. Enhanced by luscious chocolate syrup and a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream, it concluded the meal on a high note.

As the feast came to a close, the impact of Chef Antonio’s artistry became clear. Each dish told a story of passion and expertise, elevating my dining experience to new heights. The journey through L’ORTO’s menu was a celebration of Italian culinary heritage. Meticulously crafted for the modern palate, every course redefined what this cuisine could be in Bahrain. Grazie mille Chef Antonio for a meal that transcended the ordinary and left a lasting impression! ✤