Trader Vic’s Polynesian Fusion
BY ANAAM IKRAM
With the arrival of the new Executive Chef and acting General Manager, Sylvain Brucato, the traditional Polynesian cuisine of Trader Vic’s Bahrain is now being served with a touch of French finesse. The Polynesian restaurant is popular among residents and visitors of the Kingdom for providing excellent food and service over the past 15 years, placing heavy emphasis on atmosphere, Chef Brucato has brought to the table his years of experience in the culinary industry to offer guests a truly unique experience. Chef Brucato spoke with Perle Magazine about the enhancements made to the original Trader Vic’s recipes.
An expert chef from the age of 10 years old, Chef Brucato’s passion for cooking shone through even before he decided to embark on the journey of becoming a professional in the culinary field. After finishing high school he went onto becoming a Compangnons Du Tour De France – the prestigious French organisation that educates on techniques of craftsmanship and artisans and involves being the apprentice of competent masters across different locations in France. Chef Brucato’s experience as a Compagnons allowed him to work in three-star Michelin establishments in France, picking up the vital skills required to become an established chef.
With over 30 years of experience as an Executive Chef, a memory database of over 25,000 recipes and having worked in countries such Thailand, United States, Saudi Arabia and most recently Morocco, Chef Brucato has brought his expertise to Trader Vic’s Bahrain to provide its customers a quality dining experience. Picking only the freshest and finest quality ingredients to prepare the meals, Trader Vic’s also does not prepare the food beforehand. The Chinese-oven, which located behind a glass window, caters especially to those who like their meat barbecued, whereas the front kitchen, which is open for the guests to see, is where the hot food is prepared, and the back kitchen is for cold starters, salads and pastries. Emphasis on quality control and hygiene has ensured that the food is of high standards from kitchen to table.
Playing host to around 1000 customers during the week and over 1500 during the weekend, Trader Vic’s many winning qualities include not just the taste of the freshly made food, but also the ingredients used to make it. From the selection of bread served in the breadbasket to the Labneh and sea-salt butter that accompany it, everything is made in the restaurant kitchen. The Black Angus Beef is especially ordered from the United States, the seafood is freshly caught every day, with the rest of the ingredients from the restaurant’s personal store.
Adding a classic French touch to the original Polynesian cuisine, the dishes have been revamped, along with the addition of a ‘dish of the day’ to the menu, as well as a ‘chef’s suggestion’ option. Also taking in the health factor, the team at Trader Vic’s makes sure that the food is prepared in a healthier way. Rather than serving Caesar salad with the sauce poured over, for example, the chef decided it was better to have it served separately and give guests the choice of whether they wanted it on their salad or not. Additionally, to create a colourful dish, the salad was served with lemongrass, a banana leaf, an Orchid flower, topped off with Parmesan cheese and cherry tomato. The combination of French, Hawaiian, and Polynesian elements on plate resulted in not only a visually satisfying, but also a delicious fusion dish. The subtle changes and additions, such as even a simple dish of French fries served with a basil leaf on top or a platter of spicy cheese balls carefully placed atop heat to keep them warm throughout the meal, has enhanced the menu and greatly elevated Trader Vic’s Bahrain’s dining experience. For the dessert-lovers, the wide selection of sweet dishes made fresh upon request serve as the perfect end to a wholesome meal.
The emphasis is on guest satisfaction and making sure all their needs are catered to with the utmost respect. “Whether you are spending BD15 or BD 200, all the guests are the same to us, they are all VIPs, which is why we have the red carpet at the entrance of the restaurant. The quality starts from the moment you come here”, chef says. The main target is to make sure the guests are satisfied with the services they are being provided. Along with good food, guests also need to be treated with respect and therefore the 200-staff of the restaurant make sure when they are greeting a guest or saying goodbye, it is with a smile on their face. The availability of security staff inside and outside the restaurant also provides a safe and welcoming environment for families and friends to dine in.
The unique aspect of the restaurant is the privacy and comfort it provides the diners. The isolation of the dining area from the bar, allows those looking to dine with their families and friends to have a pleasant experience without being disrupted. Great importance is also placed on the guests being able to have their Trader Vic’s experience without any problems and focuses a lot on guest comfort. The private rooms, such as Gaugin Room, which offers its private kitchen and restroom facilities and can hold up to 70 people, are available for the guests to use as well with no additional charge.
Trader Vic’s Bahrain also offers the availability of al fresco dining on the terrace, which also leads to the outdoor open-air Mai Tai Lounge and an isolated island table option as well so the guests are able to enjoy their meal in a private and cosy environment. The Luau room, situated right next to the hot-kitchen, provides a truly unique dining experience, as it allows a look into the kitchen while the food is being prepared while providing a comfortable and intimate dining experience. Looking to change the kitchen interior, the chef says he plans on having a ‘show kitchen’, which would be a central kitchen and guests would be invited to view, as their main courses are prepared. The lobster tank also provides fresh shellfish for the seafood fanatics, while the glass enclosed Chinese oven allows the guests to have a view of their meat-of-choice being barbecued.
The winning combination of good food, welcoming environment, and great emphasis on guest comfort, Trader Vic’s Bahrain has become amongst one the most popular places to visit in the Kingdom for a pleasurable experience. Accommodating all kinds of guests, the Polynesian restaurant has made a prominent impression on everyone who has visited, and has left them wanting to return again.
Situated Beside the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Bahrain, Seef District,
(00973) 1758 6555
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