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From Mexico to Bahrain: Cantina Kahlo Review

Bahrain Confidential goes on a culinary adventure at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain’s Cantina Kahlo.

Over the past years, The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain has been one of Bahrain’s most-loved luxury hotels because of its exceptional dining experiences. Just recently, we had the chance to try an authentic Mexican culinary journey at the hotel’s Cantina Kahlo.

Cantina Kahlo reflects the vibrancy of the Mexican culture in its traditional Mexican cuisine as well as its beautifully crafted interior. Adorned with eye-catching décor and quirky artworks (most of which highlight celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo), the whole mise en scène of the restaurant didn’t fail to amuse us during our recent visit.

When you say “Mexican food” to most people, they picture burritos bursting with rice and beans or fajitas on a tortilla. However, the dishes that came rolling out of the kitchen at Cantina Kahlo, were not nearly as close to the visual representation of the stereotypical Mexican cuisine.

Cantina Kahlo is taking the popular cuisine into a fine-dining realm. The exciting restaurant features salads, tacos, tamales and other authentic, street-inspired fare alongside premium grilled meats, fresh seafood and decadent desserts. Staying true to his Mexican heritage and craft, Chef Hector Miguel Mendoza Becerra created a menu that exudes perfection in many ways.

We’ve commenced our gastronomic adventure by digging into some ensaladas (salads), bites of antojitos (street food usually masa based) and ceviche. One of our favorites from the antojitos was the ‘Gorditos de Chorizo’ which was made of beef chorizo, cheese, roasted salsa, sour cream and masa. The ‘Tiradito de Salmon (Cured Salmon)’ was just as visually striking as the other dishes, and incredibly delicious too!

For the platos fuertes (entrees), we had the another seafood dish. The spoonsful of coriander emulsion that accompanies the ‘Hammour Con Pipian’ looked more like modern art than food – a bright burst of green surrounded by the ceramic canvas of a plate.

Of course, we had to sample Cantina Kahlo’s Tacos! There were four of us during the lunch and we had to get a separate table for our tacos because we’re firm believers of never having too much of this Mexican favorite! The tacos were served in threes per order and the selection included: shrimp, braised lamb, sea bass, flank steak, chicken and field mushroom. The tortillas were packed full of wonderful ingredients making a delicious explosion of flavors with each bite. Be careful as it is very easy to fill yourself up on these before having the other dishes.

The restaurant has an eclectic menu so we advise everyone to ask guidance from the chef or the knowledgeable wait staff to get their recommendations. We did the same during the lunch and we picked dishes that we would never have thought of trying!

Each dish at Cantina Kahlo was perfectly seasoned and we cannot remember even adjusting the flavors during the lunch. There was also a selection of postres (desserts) including the crowd favorite ‘churros’ and ‘pastel de tres leches’! Furthermore, their impressive special beverage list was as vibrant and bold as the décor itself.

Our visit at Cantina Kahlo was superb. We dined indoor because of the sweltering heat outside. However, it would be nice to visit the restaurant during the cooler months and take advantage of their beautiful outdoor dining area. The staff were excellent and attentive to any dietary requirements.

Cantina Kahlo represents an authentic, innovative and truly exceptional Mexican fare that stands out from the rest on the island.

Our recommendations:

  • GORDITAS DE CHORIZO – beef chorizo / masa / cheese / roasted salsa / sour cream
  • TIRADITO DE SALMON (CURED SALMON) – chilli cured salmon / coriander emulsion / passion fruit leche de tigre
  • HAMMOUR CON PIPIAN – hammour / green pipian / kale / potato

TACOS

  • CAMARONES GOBERNADOR (shrimp)
  • ALAMBRE (flank steak)
  • HONGOS Y FLOR DE CALABAZA (field mushroom)

For more information: +973 1758 6401 or rc.bahrz.cantina.kahlo@ritzcarlton.com.

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