Best of the Maldives: Sun Siyam Water Breakfasts –Vilu Reef

The aquatic wonderland of the Maldives is all about the water. And Sun Siyam Vilu Reef have made the water a venue for a comprehensive range of distinctive dining experiences:

  • Pool Breakfast
  • Lagoon Breakfast
  • Sand Spit Breakfast

We’ve always loved eating our breakfasts by the water, and we have eaten them in the water with the increasingly grammable pool breakfasts, but we have never experienced so many and such diverse water-centric morning feasts.

I’ve added a new Tag for “in water” offerings and activities for things you normally wouldn’t do in water, but Maldives resorts have found a way to add an aquatic twist.

  

Best of the Maldives: Sand Bank Breakfast – Sun Siyam Iru Veli

World Food Day today. And the best place in in the world to eat any food was an experience we finally enjoyed at Sun Siyam Iru Veli this summer. We’ve fantasized about dining on a plot of sand ever since we first started visiting the Maldives two and a half decades ago. It epitomised the “plot of sand with a palm tree” isolation caricature. We’ve seen many of (exorbitant) dinners and even lunches such remote venues, but never a breakfast.

A breakfast is actually a great way to enjoy this sandbank location. Unlike a dinner which tends to have courses, the breakfast is more casual with more finger food (eg. pastries, fruit, pots of yogurt) that you can take in hand for a stroll around or wade into the sea to enjoy the sea-life nearby or the dappled azure vista beyond. And the morning has a particularly peaceful vibe to it which suits this indolent sliver of interruption to the gently surrounding waters.

Best of the Maldives: Sand Spit Breakfast – Sun Siyam Vilu Reef

The intimacy between land and sea in the Maldives is perhaps most vividly characterised by the ubiquitous tendrils of sand spits extending into the shallow lagoons. These tidally shifting, fragile peninsulas take you out into the water like a VIP gangway.

I have often celebrated the most distinctive of sand-spits in the Maldives, and now Sun Siyam Vilu Reef has made it a venue for celebrating the breaking of fast. We’ve had breakfast in lots of romantic and unique venues and this was one of our favourites. The elongated topology means that the diminutive rippled rolling in from each side crash together at your feet creating a percussive symphony of cross-lapping waves (see video).  And being at the very tip of your drop-of-sand-in-the-middle-of-the-ocean island where you are immersed on three sides by the aquatic world around you so it seems even more immersive than sand bank dining or water’s edge dining.

Best of the Maldives: Cold Brew Coffees – Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani - cold brew coffee

[photo credit:  Jai Lam]

One doesn’t typically think about a “cold brew” first thing in the morning to start your day. But cold brew coffee is a made by using time rather than heat to coax the coffee flavour out of the beans. Using cold water can take between 18 and 24 hours, in fact! The result is a brew which is a bit lighter, more floral, less acidic and more caffeinated than hot brewed coffee.

Soneva Jani not only offers cold brew, but actually has a collection of cold brew concoctions:

  • Tropical Pandan Brew – fresh banana, coconut milk, cold brew pandan coffee
  • Sparkling Brew – cold brew esperesso, homhade hibiscus syrup, top with tonic
  • Tumeric Latte – cardamon, cinnamon, honey, coconut milk, turmeric, top with espresso
  • Lemon Grass Cold Brew – homemade lemon gress syrup, top with cold brew coffee
  • Cold Brew Latte – cold brew coffee, top with milk

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Breakfast – Amilla

Amilla - Maldivian breakfast

Amilla not only sends you off to dreamland in style, but welcomes you back to the land of your dreams with equal distinction. In particular, it has completed mastered the “Indian Ocean” breakfast vittles’.

The heart here is Maldivian Mashuni. A light pancake, fresh tuna, chillies and coconut morning delicacy of the Maldives. Lori is a particular afficionado and has it at every resort that serves it (which is pretty much every resort). She declared that Amilla’s was definitely up there as one of the top execution.

Then, we move to another breakfast buffet standard – the breakfast curry. In most places, I’ve tried this dish out of curiosity and I do like a curry, but in more cases they just seem like re-heated leftovers from the previous dinner layout. Amilla’s version is light, fresh rendition which really suits the early hour and was especially tasty.

And to complete the Laccadive trifecta, they also serve a Sri Lankan Pani Pol Egg Hopper. A charmingly local (well, nearby) variation on the your morning eggs.

Best of the Maldives: Unicorns – SAii Lagoon

SAii Lagoon - unicorn party

· “Always be yourself. Unless You can be a Unicorn. Then Always be a Unicorn”

Happy Halloween! An occasion where all sorts of mystical creatures emerge.  After more than 20 years of visiting the Maldives, I might not have seen a whale shark yet, but I have seen a unicorn. Not just once, but twice. At the Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon’s kids club who host an “awesome Unicorn Party”. Then, later at the main restaurant buffer Unicorn Froot Loops not only provided another encountered with this mystical creature, but also satisfied my American-bred addiction to high-fructose corn-syrup.

SAii Lagoon - unicorn cereal

Best of the Maldives: Pancakes – Joali

Joali - pancakes

My biggest laugh this week was a gem of a line in the bio-pic flick “Judy” (about Judy Garland) which during a visit to London says, “You ever tried a crumpet?…Mm?…It’s like a pancake that’s had the living sh*t kicked out of it” (I couldn’t have put it better…if you visit London, don’t order the “crumpets” no matter how daintily British they sound). As an American by upbringing, we take our pancakes extremely seriously. I have yet to find the level of griddle cake quality in the UK that is standard fare in the USA. And, the same is true for most of the chewy circles serves at some of the resort buffets. Until we came to Joali. They have a special a la carte pancake menu including some savoury versions that are simply delicious:

  • Spiced Jaggery, fresh coconut
  • Cinnamon, prunes, honey
  • Banana, yoghurt, strawberry, mint
  • Chocolate, walnut
  • Exotic tropical fruit
  • Mixed berry, sweet mascarpone
  • Savory tuna tapenade, olives, remoulade
  • Sweet corn, cherry tomato salsa, crispy bacon

I had the spiced Jaggery (an unrefined sugar in Asia) and it was truly delicious (see photo above). Or as Lori and I would say for recipes we like, “a do-again”. A more-ish classic dish with a distinctly Maldivian twist.

 

Best of the Maldives: Breakfast Puree – Joali

Joali - breakfast puree

Fruit stations and fruit juices are standard items for most breakfast menus, but Joali adds a selection of fruit purees.

For your yoghurt, pancakes, porridge or whatever. They evoked fond memories of the iconic American restaurant chain “IHOP” (International House of Pancakes) which not only served maple syrup with its famous pancakes, but raspberry, strawberry and blueberry (!) to drizzle over your stack.

At Joali, you have an even more extensive selection of…

  • Coconut
  • Passion Fruit
  • Mango
  • Guava
  • Raspberry