If a picture says a thousand words then a dish by Yann Bernard Lejard speaks a million. With the unique ability to balance flavor, texture, and presentation, the Head Chef of Plums, at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, is a breath of fresh air for the island.
Bringing with him innovation and grandeur, Lejard fits perfectly into the aesthetic of Bahrain's quickly evolving food scene and the evening I dined solo with him, just as the RC Bahrain promises, is a memory that will last a lifetime.
As I scanned the menu that had been exclusively designed for me that evening, I gasped over the exotic ingredients, playful techniques, and mysteriously named dish – Ash. I was seated in the private dining room and pondered momentarily over whether I would get bored being alone. I needn't have worried because Lejard's designs for entertainment, leaving little room for patrons to reign in their joy from one course before the next round of pleasure is served up.
He specializes in creating menus exclusively for occasions and my first delight was a consomme served on the gueridon featuring Japenese Eringi mushroom, the only location in the country to have this ingredient on the menu. I felt special, yet things were only just beginning.
My first dish was followed by an astounding variety of bread, including charcoal bread, a flavor profile I love – how did he know? Perhaps it's his innate ability to lead trends instead of following them, because the second course was Ash, the dish I was most excited about.
This for me was the pinnacle of Lejard's capabilities; it's whimsical presentation of smoke billowing from the ashtray that once cleared revealed a small mound of what appeared to be burnt out coals, as light as air it melted upon hitting the tongue, a specter of food meets science.
The air of magic continued throughout the entire evening. Every element of each dish had been thoroughly thought out; from the blends of textures ranging from crispy, chewy, smooth, and rough to the balance of flavors always reaching the point of umami, the showmanship was spectacular. So entertained was I that when the chef and his team entered at the end of the evening I felt I had been serenaded by them and not just fed. My evening a Plums is one I will never forget, an experience that will live with me forever.