For a taste of authentic Kushiyaki, Apple Sharma headed to Le Jardin, the newest culinary gem at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain.

The recently opened Le Jardin introduces the Japanese art of Kushiyaki, which refers to meat and vegetables that are skewered and grilled. If you’re craving some Japanese street food in a refined setting, then this is the place to be.

Tucked away on the pristine white sands adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton Villas, this quaint little restaurant offers an exquisite dining experience that will tantalise your taste buds in a serene surrounding.

As we stepped into this charming open-air eatery, we were greeted by the gentle rustle of palm trees, chirping of birds and the soothing sound of waves. Arriving at sunset allowed us to experience the ambience, both during the day and into the evening. With only five tables, Le Jardin offers an intimate al fresco setup right on the beach, complete with tiki torches, ideal for sundowners and quick bites. Surrounded by a herb garden, illuminated palm trees and moonlight shimmering on the water, the restaurant’s picturesque and tranquil setting was a welcome retreat and the perfect way to end the weekend.

Warmly greeted by Restaurant Manager Jomjit Cheepchol and Supervisor Jenallen, we were handed a refreshing welcome drink of herbal-infused tea, a signature concoction that changes daily, followed by a round of colourful mocktails expertly crafted by bartender Shampu. The refreshing Tokyo Twist with its subtle ginger and pineapple notes and the vibrant Wasabi Berry with a hint of spiciness, transported us to a beachside paradise with every sip.

Le Jardin has a strong focus on sustainability and locally sourced produce. From the avocado straws to the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients, we were thoroughly impressed and off to a great start. Curated by Executive Chef, Joergen Sodemann, the menu features mainly Kushiyaki from the small kitchen on site.

We began with an assortment of starters. First to arrive were two condiments – soy and universal sauce (a mixture of ponzu and soy with sesame seeds) – followed by Hammour Chips. Delicately fried to perfection and served with spicy wasabi mayo, these delightful bites of fish with their crispy exterior and tender interior, were a crowd pleaser. Equally impressive and one of our favourites was the Corn Tempura. These crunchy, golden balls were mouth-wateringly scrumptious, so much so that the chef prepared extra for us at the end of the meal. The sweetness of the corn harmonised beautifully with the zing of the wasabi mayo, making them the perfectly moreish snack that you can’t get enough of.

Next up, the Wagyu Beef Salad proved to be another palate pleaser, featuring tender Wagyu slices dressed in a tangy, sweet in-house ponzu sauce and garnished with delicate micro herbs. This was followed by Tuna Tataki, which was beautifully plated and garnished with edible flowers. The tender pieces of seared tuna were dressed in ponzu sauce and served with ginger, wasabi and lime. The vegetarian option of Radish and Cabbage Salad was also a big hit, featuring crunchy julienned red cabbage and radish, smothered in a creamy sesame sauce – in a word, delicious.

Moving on to the main stars of the show, we were treated to a Kushiyaki extravaganza from the BBQ Skewers menu. Grilled to perfection over an open flame, these bite sized pieces of meat offered a tantalising array of flavours and textures. Each dish is meticulously prepared – first barbecued on steel skewers, then seasoned with salt and pepper and finally brushed with a mouth-watering tare sauce made of mirin, soy and sugar.

The grilled shrimps stood out in their simple presentation. The fresh catch did all the talking – plump and succulent, with a slight golden caramelisation. The grilled octopus was cooked to perfection – sous vide for an hour and a half and charred for a delightfully smoky taste.

For poultry lovers, there’s plenty on offer at Le Jardin. We tried the grilled chicken breast with spring onions, which had a beautiful barbecued flavour, but the chicken thigh was something else – these tender, flavourful bites were heavenly and are a musttry. The vegetarians amongst us indulged in grilled leeks and shiitake mushrooms, which had a lovely velvety texture and a rich earthy flavour.

The beef bacon and spring onion skewer presented crunchy, sweet onions wrapped in crispy, salty bacon, while the Wagyu beef tenderloin was a melt-in-your-mouth experience with its buttery texture and rich flavour. Finally, the salmon belly perfectly blended soft, flaky fish with zesty acidity to create a unique flavour profile.

All the meat is served off the skewers, dressed in the glossy tare sauce and comes with a refreshing wedge of lime – simple yet satiating flavours that linger on your palate.

As our skewered journey drew to a close, we indulged in the ultimate finale – mochi dessert. We were treated to four delectable flavours, including sesame, green tea, strawberry and chestnut, providing a sweet and satisfying end to our evening.

Le Jardin isn’t just about its delicious food; its versatility makes it an ideal venue for intimate gatherings and small events, with the option to extend onto the beach.

With every dish presented with care and finesse and every bite enhancing the natural essence of the ingredients, Le Jardin promises a serene dining experience that will beckon you time and time again.

The restaurant is open Wednesday to Saturday on regular days and Wednesday to Sunday during Ramadan. ✤