When we crave fine dining where food is reliably delicious, there’s only one place in Bahrain that ticks the box. So, when a new menu at CUT by Wolfgang Puck came calling, Hadag answered. Who wouldn’t want to indulge in tender meats and fresh fish over a chat with executive Chef Brian Becher? That is exactly what we did.

Sometimes, a steakhouse is just a steakhouse. Other times, it’s a culinary institution that delights even the most discerning of palates worldwide – even if it’s not one that belongs to a big meat eater. CUT by Wolfgang Puck is one such example, drawing loyal patrons and true food-enthusiasts from across the country, courtesy of signature dishes such as Filet Mignon and Grandma’s Chocolate Cake. Now, the launch of a new menu can only mean one thing: we skip breakfast and thank our lucky stars for what’s to follow. Executive Chef Brian Becher refers to a meal at CUT by Wolfgang Puck as “relationship dining” rather than fine dining. “The ethos of who we are is about our relationship to the ingredients (be that excitement or curiosity or passion or affinity), our guests’ relationship to the food we serve them, and our personal relationship with our guests. Good music, beautiful décor, ample parking, amazing views… these things are great and certainly help.

But at its core, I believe the relationships we have with our guests is key, and I don’t think this will ever change.” What has changed over the course of the pandemic, however, is his perspective on the principle of trust. “Many of our regular guests were, and still are, ordering takeaway and delivery from us two or three times a week. They tell us they feel safe and comfortable ordering from us because they trust us. They say they can’t wait to return as dine-in guests because they feel at home here.” Fortunate enough to be dine-in guests ourselves, our culinary journey begins before our first bite.

The staff at CUT by Wolfgang Puck are friendly and attentive, talking us through the uber-fresh Steak Tartar that kicks things off with a combination of Dijon mustard, grilled country bread, and crispy beef tendon. But do we dare say the Red Snapper Tartar is even better? Chef Becher has ingeniously incorporated regional flavours like pine nuts and Peninsula Farms labneh into the appetiser, and it works. Reflecting on this unusual time and its lessons, he says: “The last mistake I made – repeatedly, in fact – was thinking I could forecast when the restaurants would be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. When we shut down in midMarch, I thought for sure we would be open by Ramadan. And in Ramadan, I was certain we would be welcoming guests back by Eid al-Fitr.

I learned pretty quickly that I had no ability to predict when the circumstances would change, so I decided to focus on making guests happy… and kept my sanity as a result.” Back at the table, CUT by Wolfgang Puck’s Corn Cappelletti, which comes with beef chorizo and fresh Italian parsley, is also worthy of a mention – the sweetness of the corn and saltiness of the parmesan pair beautifully.

Another instant hit with everyone on the table is the Braised Veal Cheek. Not only is the meat melt-in-your-mouth tender, but a velvety harissa sauce and bed of couscous bring the whole dish together. We’re not ones to turn down cheese (of any sort), so of course the arrival of Fresh Italian Burrata is cause for celebration. Sinfully creamy, it’s served alongside duck prosciutto and fermented plums, the balance of flavours and textures speaking of Chef Becher’s talent. “When we open our doors to our guests, we have one shot to meet and exceed their high expectations.

To me, anything less than excellent is a failure,” he says. And it shows. But bear in mind that CUT by Wolfgang Puck is not just about catering to carnivores. Our taste buds revel in the Black Bass, the butter-poached summer vegetables, and the warm lemon vinaigrette that’s drizzled across. This is a feast we won’t soon forget, but it’s not over – the creations of executive pastry chef Abderazik Fourkou await. Both the Raspberry Chocolate Brownies and Strawberry Shortcake are elevated takes on old-fashioned favourites, but it’s the Chocolate Mango Chow Feung Roll that takes us by surprise – an Asian-inspired dessert that borrows from the best of mango season. Genius? We think so.