Café Bateel’s new seasonal menu is a culinary journey across the Mediterranean

March 6, 2023

Blog > Café Bateel

Inspired by classic flavours and seasonal ingredients, Café Bateel’s new menu has brought the best of the Mediterranean to the Middle East.

The menu is the culmination of months of travelling, experimenting and tasting by Café Bateel’s Culinary Director, Nicholas Cuadrado. Continuing his family’s culinary heritage in Spain and the UK, Chef Cuadrado is on a constant quest to find incredible seasonal products to create delicious dishes.

Cuadrado explains: “The dishes on the menu are inspired by seasonality and the best products available.

“We work with artisan suppliers to find the finest ingredients, from mushrooms to truffles and different types of seafood.

“After travelling extensively in the Mediterranean to source and import the products to the region, we test them in our Research & Development kitchen before crafting our recipes for Café Bateel.”

Clockwise from top left: Black Cod Fishcake; King Mushroom Bolognese; Moroccan Wagyu Meatballs; Date & Fig Salad.

Café Bateel is known for serving wholesome food using natural ingredients and this ethos is perfectly showcased in its array of inventive salads. A new seasonal salad is Mediterranean Superfood, a nutrient-rich blend of quinoa, beetroot, baby spinach, pomegranate, squash, sauteed kale, roasted celeriac and puffed Italian farro, with a black olive and citrus dressing.

According to Cuadrado, one gourmet ingredient played a particularly crucial role in the dish’s development. He says: “The flavour profile of the superfood salad was shaped by an amazing extra virgin olive oil from Provence which has been infused with whole black olives for a more intense olive taste. From this we developed a delicious dressing which perfectly complemented the salad ingredients.”

Another exciting new salad is Lentil & Roasted Corn, a complex vegan dish with multiple layers of texture, sweetness and acidity. Revealing his inspiration, Cuadrado says: “I tasted a dish in Paris which used a combination of different lentils and it gave me the idea to create this salad.

“In the R&D kitchen we mixed Umbrian, Puy and Beluga lentils and they worked perfectly together. We discovered a fantastic pomegranate vinegar for the dressing, which gives a Levant twist and adds sweetness and acidity.”

Preparing Lentil & Roasted Corn Salad

Cuadrado continues: “You get the crunch from the corn and the carrots, and the avocado adds creaminess. This meant it didn’t need a cheese, so we were able to keep it as a vegan dish. The salad also has caramelised pecans, which is a Bateel product available in our stores.

“All these little details help to draw you back in for another bite.”

Lentil & Roasted Corn Salad

From Sea to Table

The new menu features three stunning seafood dishes. For appetisers, there’s the crispy and creamy Black Cod Fishcake with potato and Pommery mustard served with an avocado and pea puree and a classic gribiche sauce.

Bateel Fish Bisque is a new soup inspired by bouillabaisse from Marseilles, another destination on Cuadrado’s Mediterranean tour. In true Provençal style, the bisque is served with a crunchy, flavourful crouton with rouille and gruyère.

Smoked Salmon Rye is a symphony of a sandwich inspired by classic flavours. Cuadrado continues: “Rye bread with smoked salmon is a match made in heaven. It’s all married together with mascarpone, shallots, capers and rocket. At Café Bateel, we have a lot of respect for classic dishes and flavours.

Smoked Salmon Rye

“We wanted to use a bread that’s healthy and flavoursome so our head baker developed a recipe using ancient grains and a natural starter, which is great for gut health,” continued Cuadrado. “It’s free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and has a lower level of gluten, too.

“We use two different artisan flours to give it a dark colour and rich flavour, with oats adding more texture and nutritional value.”

Bateel’s homemade dark rye

From Tangier to Piedmont

For mains, Café Bateel guests can travel to the African side of the Mediterranean with the new Moroccan Wagyu Meatballs. Braised in a spiced tomato sauce, the prime beef meatballs sit on a bed of saffron couscous with dates, pine nuts and strained yoghurt.

Moving north to Italy, Black Truffle Cameroni is a new pasta dish with creamy winter black truffle sauce and sauteed king mushroom. Cuadrado reveals the inspiration came from tasting amazing products in Alba, Piedmont, the spiritual home of the truffle.

“I visited the oldest truffle supplier in Alba, Tartufi Morra, which was established in 1930. They have so much passion and knowledge about truffles and have developed a range of amazing products including truffle jus, salsa and oil. They even took me truffle hunting with their dogs in the countryside around Alba, which is just stunning.”

Chef Nicholas Cuadrado (far left) truffle hunting in Alba, Italy

“Back in the R&D kitchen in Dubai, we did a lot of tasting and experimenting with the products and this led us towards creating a pasta dish with artisanal bronze-cut cameroni.

“Once you understand the flavour profiles of an ingredient you naturally develop ideas.”

Black Truffle Cameroni

To complement the creamy truffle sauce, the dish is topped with sauteed king mushrooms which Cuadrado discovered in Paris’ famous Rungis Market. “These are high quality, organic, cultivated mushrooms. After cooking them, I knew straight away that the meaty texture would be a great addition to this vegetarian dish,” he added.

The fantastic fungi also make an appearance in the new vegan dish, King Mushroom Bolognese, featuring rigatoni pasta with roasted cauliflower braised in San Marzano tomatoes and Italian oregano, sprinkled with vegan parmesan.

Pan-fried king mushrooms

In-house artisans

For dessert, Café Bateel’s resident pastry chefs have developed their take on a French classic, Café Gourmand. This platter of freshly-made mini desserts includes a raspberry macaroon, blueberry cheesecake, Madagascar chocolate cake and a hazelnut praline choux. It’s accompanied by a choice of coffee from Café Bateel’s selection of single-origin and house blends.

Café Gourmand

Café Bateel’s beverage experts have also prepared a new range of hot and cold drinks such as Choco Praline, a coffee carefully layered with praline chocolate. The Avocado & Date Smoothie is a celebration of Bateel’s world-renowned organic dates, handpicked from the oasis estate in Saudi Arabia.

After months of painstaking sourcing, testing and crafting, the final menu was shaped around one deciding factor: deliciousness. “At the end of the day, if a dish doesn’t draw you in for another bite, then we don’t put it on the menu. We want to you to come back for more, and more, and more,” concludes Cuadrado.

The new seasonal is served at Café Bateel UAE and KSA and is available for delivery online. View the menu here

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