Sunday, January 11, 2009

Table Talk

We were phoned as usual around noon, from our hosts, to report that they would have a driver waiting for us at 8:00 for dinner. I should report that Bahraini time is quite different from the punctual American time, but because Leslie is English, the car arrives at a happy median of 8:15. When we are deposited via the Senor Paco van at the newly opened Memories of China, there is little to no surprise that we are Americans who pour out of another restaurant’s car service. This time it is okay—because this new trendy sky lit restraint is owned by the Al-Sharif twins. With a passion for elegantly presented and uniquely created food, the Al-Sharif family has a Mexican, Italian, and now Chinese choice of top chefs.
Once inside we are escorted to the second story bar, which serves as the family’s private reception area until it is ready to open in a few weeks time. This balcony level is decorated with white and black loveseats, punctuated by red pillows, and over looks a bamboo garden that is illuminated by the city lights.
After we all take turns answering either ‘white’ or ‘red’, we are seated and briefed. Tonight we will be dining with the British Ambassador as well as the Editor in Chief of the local newspaper that we read in our hotel rooms. With little more reaction than opened mouths, we all begin to fidget, wondering what sort of faith this family must have in us roping ranchers. Leslie, almost as nervous as us, says to “have to worry—they’re all down to earth and quite nice”…I would like to point out that when the Ambassador’s wife ordered her meal in perfect Mandarin to the head chef Mr. Butt who was flown in from London for the opening, all hopes of her being one of us were shot.
Over all it was, as the British would say, “a lovely evening.” Though I had no personal lengthy conversation with either couple, they did look quite nice strategically seated at the opposite end of the table.

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