Hadag’s Fernanda Langhammer embarked on a culinary journey at La Table Krug by Y, an award-winning dining experience that blends culinary flair with luxury surroundings and a flavourful, artistic touch.
The act of eating is one of the most awakening experiences that we can embrace. It can bring back memories and expose us to new sensations. This sentiment could not ring truer than it does at La Table Krug by Y at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. To say it was a memorable culinary journey wouldn’t do it justice, so I will try to transform the tastes, textures and emotions I encountered into words.
To put very simply, every part of this luxurious dining experience will touch your soul. And here’s how…
As soon as I arrived at the exclusive and private restaurant, which seats just 16 people, the iconic Yann Bernard Lejard, Director of Culinary and Food and Beverage, greeted me. He oversees all 14 dining venues at the hotel, but La Table Krug by Y (he is the Y in the name) is where you are exposed to his personal skills and brilliance. The space is an ode to luxury with velvety chairs, wooden panels on the walls and cute little lamps creating the perfect ambience. In the middle of this unique space lies Yann’s portrait and right under it, a pedestal holds his most recent project, a massive book. An imposingly beautiful volume with a fantastic compilation of images that evokes Yan’s passion for art using the medium he knows best: food. The book, a collaboration with Brazilian photographer Sergio Coimbra, is a concept that extends the definition of live painting to an understanding of a living painting where the work is transformed each day, creating new beginnings.
Yann is, first and foremost, a creative mind. We are just lucky that he expresses his artistic talents through food. However, despite plating and playing with volume, colours and textures, his creations taste like food – comforting food. Somehow, he develops a culinary art movement which involves the senses without losing the real nature of the food. His dishes take you to new heights exposing your taste buds to unexpected sensorial experiences.
The first amuse-bouche was a large piece of sourdough bread with fennel and cumin seeds paired with saffron butter (my dining companion and I kept it next to us throughout the entire meal). The bread had the perfect crunchiness on the outside and a soft and moist interior. I love fennel seeds in bread and cakes (it takes me back to my childhood and the corn cake I used to eat); the flavour was just delightful. The second, a creamy textured pea soup adorned with caviar, was served atop an impressive glass dome, and a beef bruschetta on a fried brioche base rounded off the small plates, giving us a flavourful introduction to this food voyage.
From the First Things First section on the menu, we had the #Playwithfire (the names of the dishes are very original), which consisted of duck foie gras cooked at a very high temperature, placed on top of caramelised seasonal fruits and plated with vibrant yellow mango coulis. My dining companion was delighted with the cooking style and over the moon that she could have the whole piece to herself. I did try the fruits and they had a beautiful smoky hint.
We also had the #Groundreality, a visually striking dish that looked like a natural painting. It was composed of local vegetables, such as zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, radish and more, with different colours and textures due to the diverse cooking methods, complemented by a pea velouté. They tasted fresh and each bite revealed their true nature and flavours. I believe this is how you should treat vegetables, respecting their composition when cooking.
The #Wildwildeast finalised the appetiser feast with a big ravioli filled with assorted mushrooms bathing in an intense truffle sauce. The foamy white sauce made with whipped cream hid the mushroom reduction (with delicious pieces of smoked mushroom) and the base of the ravioli, so all we could see was a ball of stuffed pasta – such a playful dish. I absolutely love truffle oil, but it is a tricky item that needs to be used with wisdom. Yann knows his ingredients intimately, so his hand on the oil was just spot on. The fragrance hit our nostrils before touching our taste buds and this sensorial experience made it even better.
The mains are creatively called Unpredictable Climax. The first dish was the #Tribute, which consisted of a salmon soufflé accompanied by scallop mousseline, caviar, beurre blanc, zucchini pearls and chives. While going back to this experience, I thought I wouldn’t be able to highlight one dish as my favourite, but I can. The scallop mousseline was it. It was so airy and comforting, with well-balanced flavours and consistency. I remembered my words to Yann: “I could live in this little pot”.
The other main was the #Pureinstinct with U.S. beef tenderloin centre-cut, white pepper foam and teriyaki sauce teamed with a velvety mashed potato. The meat was, as expected, cooked to perfection, with a dark brown searing and buttery smooth interior. The white pepper foam added a touch of complexity to the overall taste without overpowering it.
For dessert, first, we were served a dish that resembled a stone – the large, smooth pebbles one sometimes finds on the beach. Cracking the black chocolate shell and finding a creamy lemon custard interior with delicate flavours was amazing. La Table Krug by Y stands out for the surprise elements, and this would be repeated with the Reminiscing The Sweet Story, a magnificent dessert trolley with an assortment of mouth-watering treats. From the most exquisite fruit Charlotte cake (a recipe from Yann’s mum and a must-try) to tarts, fruits in syrup, bonbons, cake pops and so much more.
The desserts vary from time to time and that day, we had the Ile Flottante (Floating Island) in the selection, which consists of a floating meringue on crème anglaise topped with almond shavings. It was so delicious that even Yann couldn’t resist and served some for himself joining us to chat about food, art and how he is transforming the culinary scene wherever he goes. His creations are full of passion that is translated into every single dish and concept.
The restaurant serves a high-end dining experience without losing the intricate flavours and warm touch that homemade food should give us. If you are looking for extraordinary, you now know where to go.