When you think about south east asian food, we’re really spoilt for choice in Bahrain with quality and variety. this month, FaCt rediscovered a long-time favourite of ours, Kontiki at the Diplomat radisson Blu Hotel, residence & spa…

enter Kontiki through the grand doors and you’ll be greeted by a stylish venue, reminiscent of a five-star beach restaurant on some faraway paradise island in Thailand or Bali, or an equally serene setting. Kontiki is a great-sized venue with tall ceilings and large tables and chairs, fit for anyone who is visiting for a foodie feast. The interiors boasts soft light and warm shades of red and brown with the roof and walls adorned in bamboo-style wood panels. In fact, the venue does have some Polynesian flair too. Here, guests can tuck into dishes from China, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam and the Pacific Islands. The bar serves expertly prepared drinks designed to accompany Asian cuisine. The menu has just the right amount of dishes with starters, salads, soups, vegetarian dishes, main course with curry and sizzling platters and a good selection of side dishes as well as yummy desserts (but, we’ll get to that later!).

Begin your oriental feast with a selection of starters. We went for the Mixed Satay (grilled beef, prawn and chicken skewers, served with peanut sauce); Crispy duck Poh Piah served with silky peanut sauce; Samoan Crab Cake, served with mango and avocado relish and Kontiki tangy dips; and a plate of assorted sushi and sashimi. One thing that we all agree on, immediately, is that the portions are generous and the different sauces with each dish are perfectly paired to enhance flavours. The relish with the crab cakes is what made the dish so spectacular, and the peanut sauce with the satay was excellent. The sushi and sashimi was some of the freshest we’ve tried, and though we wished there was a little less duck filling in the rolls, the incredible crispiness made them our favourite starter.

Next up was Warm Tuna Tataki, Soy Flavoured Ginger Salmon, Rack of Lamb “Tahiti Fashion” and Stir Fried Prawns. The tuna was exquisite and was made even tastier with the flavours of capers, beans, potatoes, and cherry tomatoes, all drizzled in lemon vinaigrette dressing. The standard fail-safe option of the salmon was livened up by the likes of pok choy and shitake, as well as a subtle ginger kick. The lamb chops remind us of a more Western cooking technique, however, the mint, garlic and coriander crust, alongside the wasabi mash gives the dish a lovely, exotic twist. The prawns were simply divine – packed with flavour and the right amount of zing from the onion and garlic – a definite must-try!

For dessert we went for a mix of modern and oriental. The Chocolate Fondant with vanilla ice cream was heavenly. The cake was soft and spongy in the middle and we polished off the plate in blissful silence! The Sesame Crusted Mango Spring Rolls, though a little heavy, are an absolute delight in terms of flavours and textures, making for a flawless finish to our meal. Kontiki offers good food in a beautiful setting with five-star service, right in the heart of Manama. As a foodie, what more could you ask for?