“Carnivores are in for a major meaty treat,” says Melissa Nazareth, who dined at the island’s first Bahraini steakhouse.
Tucked away in Janabiya’s popular District 1 Mall, The Don Steakhouse is your typical steakhouse but with a strong personality. On entering, we noticed the dimly lit, warm toned interiors with rustic embellishments such as a chandelier with deer-antler-detail and a faux fireplace at the bar, all offering a mellow hunter-style vibe. The wall on the right had black cut outs of bulls and the one behind the bar was adorned with an enlarged trademark of the Steakhouse – a grill – and miniature trademarks were carved on the tables. Restaurant manager Chelsea told us that the grill shows that the steakhouse serves grilled food. The seating was straightforward with cushioned chairs and wooden tables. You can also dine al fresco if the weather permits.
The Don Steakhouse takes pride in being the first Bahraini steakhouse and one that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg. I learned that they serve only fresh meat, not frozen, which is imported weekly – Wagyu from Australia and Certified Angus Beef (CAB) from Omaha, USA. The owner, Ali Al Khaja, who has been passionate about steaks from an early age, told me that he travelled far and wide in search of the perfect steak but none made the cut, which inspired him to open a homegrown steakhouse.
We got started with the Quinoa Salad, which was light with fresh vegetables and creamy burrata cheese, combined with a refreshing orange dressing – the perfect accompaniment for our meaty meal. From the Grills section, we tried The Don lamb chops. Tender and juicy, they had an intensely tangy flavour from the traditional Bahraini lumee aswad – black lemon – tantalising the taste buds. I enjoyed them with and without the cooling mint sauce that seemed to slightly ease the tang. From the Skewer section we had the Wagyu Skewer that came with a side of salad with balsamic dressing. Firm and flavourful, the meat is ideally eaten smeared in creamy garlic sauce, which has a wasabi taste, and wrapped with flatbread – both served with the dish.
Next came the leanest of cuts, the Medallion Tenderloin Wagyu, which Chelsea told us is preferred more by lady diners as it has less fat. You can mix and match the sauces per your preference – demi glaze, mushroom, chimichurri, black pepper – and choose between mashed potatoes and wedges as sides. Our medallions – fillet mignon – were cooked to medium, as were the rest of our steaks, which made the red, bloody and oily juices flow onto our plates as we sliced them.
The medallions came with a pepper sauce that was savoury and had a kick to it – tread carefully – and crunchy coleslaw – a contrast of flavours, temperatures and textures. The meat on its own was sweet and succulent and we knew were tasting premium cuts here. After this, we ate the Wagyu Ribeye that was perfectly seared and the fat rendered, making it juicy. It paired wonderfully with the mushroom sauce that had a nutty, garlicky flavour. We smeared each bite with buttery mashed potatoes, that offered the perfect texture and flavour base for the meat.
As the steaks flew in, so did the beverages. The Blue Lagoon Mojito came in a goblet – great to share. It was spritzy with hints of mint and lime. We also tried the blue lemonade and fruit margaritas – peach, blueberry and strawberry – all non-alcoholic – that washed down the grease, preparing us for the adventure ahead.
Among the CAB cuts, we ate the short ribs blanketed with a buffalo-barbeque sauce. Watching our server pull the meat apart was satisfying – it fell off the bone. However, we couldn’t eat much of this dish as the sauce set our mouths on fire. Our server told us that the ribs can be ordered with just the barbeque sauce too – we’ll be taking her up on her offer the next time. That being said, we found the meat fatty, moist and streaky just as ribs ought to be. Next came the CAB Striploin, which we enjoyed with a silky, savoury demi glaze sauce, that had the flavours of a traditional gravy, and a side of steamed vegetables. Cooked to perfection and well-rested, it was juicy, oozing with flavour as we sliced through it.
Last but definitely not least, came the ‘King of all Meats’ – the CAB Tomahawk – a 1.2kg beast that was flambéed at our table, which added to the richness of the meat, deepening the flavours and making it slightly sweeter to taste, all while retaining its juices and tenderness. The herbal and earthy flavours of the chimichurri sauce heightened the taste of the tomahawk, making it the perfect ending note to our steakhouse sojourn. ✤
GO: CALL 3975 3770 FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A RESERVATION.