Flavours Of The Orient

Indulging in authentic Asian cuisine, Apple Sharma embarked on a culinary journey to rediscover popular favourites and try out new dishes on the menu at BO.SABI.

Afirm favourite of many on the island, BO.SABI at The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa is the award-winning restaurant famed for its Pan-Asian cuisine. It had been a while since my last visit, so I was only too eager to re-experience it with my colleague, as we headed over for a mid-week lunch.

As we walked in, a sense of serenity washed over me – perhaps it was the ambience or the warm greetings of the lovely Restaurant Assistant Manager, Jeno Pandit, and the ever-friendly Khyrul, who attended to us.

The interior, boasting a vibrant setting, immediately transported me to the heart of East and Southeast Asia. The décor is a blend of traditional and contemporary elements, featuring high-pointed ceilings made of wooden beams and thatched reed panels, evoking the essence of Asian architecture.

Bamboo accents are everywhere, with simple yet comfortable seating imparting a rustic, cosy feel. The large, dome-shaped ceiling lights and under-lighting on the steps cast a warm glow, creating an inviting atmosphere perfect for casual lunches, dinners or special celebrations.

The spacious main area houses a well-stocked bar in one corner, with the opposite wall depicting a typical Asian city scene, while a striking BO.SABI sign shines brightly on the main wall behind a raised platform for live music.

Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the pool, combined with the relaxed vibe and Oriental background music, made us feel we were on a mini-vacation. As soon as we took our seats, Khyrul presented us with a couple of refreshing mocktails, just what we needed to quench our thirst on a scorching hot afternoon. The Fish Berry – a blend of ginger beverage and fresh mixed berries – was a standout. The classic Pina Colada, with its creamy coconut and pineapple concoction, was equally delightful and set a refreshing tone for our meal.

Our dishes were prepared by Sous Chef Mohan Gurung and Executive Chef Younis Ramadhan. A quick glance at the menu and we knew we were in for a treat with the huge variety of dishes on offer, from classic favourites to signature creations and new additions. Our journey began with the Salmon Crab Salad, a light medley of crab meat, salmon, avocado, cucumber and lettuce, topped with vine tomato and green scallion. The flavours were perfectly balanced, providing a refreshing start. The Crispy Dynamite Roll, one our favourites, was visually stunning. The chilli on top had my colleague cautious of the spice level but also adventurous to try something new. Surprisingly, its crunchy exterior, combined with tuna, avocado and spicy sriracha mayo, delivered a gradual, lingering heat that tantalised the palate.

Equally impressive was the Crispy Crazy Crab Roll. Coated in crispy tanuki and filled with crab meat, smoked salmon and avocado, each bite offered a satisfying crunch, with the spicy mayo providing a subtle kick. The Philadelphia Ebi Mango Roll was a colourful combination of smoked salmon, shrimp and Alfonso mango, creating a unique blend of salty and sweet tastes that we had never tried before.

Moving on to soups and starters, the Laksa Soup, featuring egg noodles, poached lobster and a comforting coconut broth, felt like a warm hug – an ideal dish for any season. The Takoyaki, traditional shrimp and octopus stuffed balls, brought back memories of a fun-filled trip to Dubai, while the signature Steamed Crystal Dumpling Prawn offered a simple yet flavourful experience with its trio of dipping sauces. Next up was Szechuan Shrimp, featuring perfectly textured shrimp wontons that came with a bold, hot and sour vinegar and a hint of spice. Meanwhile, the classic Peking Duck was beautifully presented with perfectly tender carved duck slices, served with hoisin sauce, cucumber, leek, plum sauce and wrapped in flaky pancakes, ideal for sharing.

The main courses continued to impress, starting with the Korean Spicy Short Ribs. These tender beef ribs, marinated in a ginger-soy barbecue sauce, were a meat lover’s dream, perfectly complemented by subtle fried rice. The Lobster Chow Fun, with its visually stunning presentation, was as much ‘fun’ to eat as it was to look at, combining stir-fried lobster with scallions, shiitake mushrooms and a spicy XO sauce.

The Malaysian Fish Curry, served with fragrant steamed rice, was a highlight with its creamy coconut sauce, tangy tamarind and tender hamour, staying true to the exotic flavours of Malaysian cuisine. I also tried the vegetarian version, which was equally delicious. The Nasi Goreng, a signature dish, was a meal in itself – a delightful combination of wok-fried rice, shrimp, chicken and sweet soy tamarind, topped with a perfectly round fried egg and accompanied by chicken satay and prawn crackers.

Lastly, we were treated to two exquisite desserts. The Mango Rice Pudding, a clean and humble dish, featured fresh, juicy mango pieces that wonderfully complemented the mildly sweet rice pudding. Meanwhile, the Japanese Cheesecake with Plum Sauce was light and indulgent. Its sponge-like cake base, circled in a thin white chocolate shell and topped with silky smooth coconut cream, was perfectly balanced by the fresh plum sauce – a decadent ending to our feast.

If I had to choose one of the few Asian restaurants in Bahrain that evoke an authentic experience, BO.SABI would have to be among my top picks, excelling in every area, from ambience to flavour to service. If you want to truly savour traditional Pan-Asian cuisine in an elegant and vibrant setting, then BO.SABI is a must-visit. ✤