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Restaurant Review: 'Gathering is the root of happiness' at Bahu Restaurant

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It was the evening of the opening and Bahu was shining bright. The strobe lights on the green-and-glass building were piercing the sky. The elegant interiors were lit up by chandeliers and the gentle sound of a running fountain trickled through the restaurant.

We were led outside to the terrace that overlooks a lake, and soon the tasting menu was passed around. As Spanish and Arabic music filled the night air, we began our sampling. The courses came in bite-sized portions on individual plates.

First up was the golden royal Balik salmon, a thin slice of salmon on a bed of Fattoush and pomegranate seeds. Fresh and refreshing, it set the tone for the Mediterranean menu. Then came the silky hummus with olive caviar and mille-feuille of muhammara, which had the mild, slightly sweet taste of roasted peppers and paprika complemented by the crunch of the walnut. Among the refreshing dishes was a mix of watermelon and feta and Caesar salad, which had Romain lettuce, Caesar dressing and a prawn.

Other items on the tray included vine leaves from Ottoman palace kitchen, which was a delightful bite of rice, dried black currant, sour cherry and vine leaves.

The performers, which included a flamenco dancer, walked among the guests, stopping for photographs and smiling at the new entrants as we continued on our culinary tour.

After the cold nibbles came the warm ones. The savoury bonbon truffle cheese candies were especially good; they began with a crunch and melted in our mouth. Another standout dish was the manti, an Anatolian homemade pasta with wagyu beef in its centre and slathered generously with tomato sauce and garlic yoghurt. The koobideh tacos were a highlight too; the wagyu made for a succulent morsel. There was also kibbeh.

A list of delicious items followed. These included the sea bass Sarafina, which had sea bass, green peas, tahini puree, gnocchi, prawns and lemon butter sauce; a creamy risotto with wild mushrooms and parmesan foam gently wrapped in gold and Angus beef shashlik seasoned and cooked just so. The lamb chops were a celebration of Aleppo spices and came with a vegetable skewer.

Soon it was time for the drone show. These unmanned aerial vehicles flew into the sky and glittered in various colours as a voice over spoke of Bahu and the inspiration and ethos behind it. The restaurant believes ‘gathering is the root of happiness’. And certainly the 1,000-capacity eatery’s terrace area was packed with people who had come to celebrate it.

After the sky show, it was time to sink our teeth into the desserts and the first round was a palate cleanser – chocolate. Then came the more interesting points on the menu. It began with something called Lojain’s tree of love, an impressive candy floss cherry blossom chocolate tree in magical cocoa crumble and strawberry ice cream; baklava with vanilla yoghurt sorbet and cinnamon cake, in milk cream.

The sweet ending came in the form of Anatolian pistachio with semolina sponge and lemon meringue. As sweet endings go, this one was just right.

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