Best of the Maldives: Lobster Bisque – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah lobster bisque

For “Best of the Maldives”, I try to focus on unique offerings and features. The easiest way to be the best is to be the only. If I haven’t seen it after visiting 60+ resorts and 20 years of research, then chances are it is pretty unique.

It is harder to (and I am more hesitant to) do “Best” pieces for more commonplace things. It might stand out in my eyes, but not having methodically sampled every version in the Maldives, who am I to say it’s the “Best”. Partly, that’s why I chose a blog format for this material. It allows readers to Comment do if I have missed out something, they can set me straight.

Also there are areas where I have quite a bit of experience (eg. house reef snorkelling, pina colada tasting) and others where my expertise is more limited (eg. wines, décor). Today’s post is both a nod to Lobster Day and an intersection of the (a) popular, with (b) expertise – lobster bisque.

Lobster is the stereotypical luxury seafood. And its prevalence in the Laccadive Sea makes it a popular dish at the exquisite Maldives restaurants. One of its most classic preparations is Lobster Bisque. Now this is a specialty of mine. I will *always* order the lobster bisque if it is available. I will seek it out and make a special trip to restaurants who offer well reviewed versions of it. I’ve sampled bisque all over the world and across most of London’s finest establishments. And I’m not the biggest chef, but one dish I have taught myself to prepare is a proper lobster bisque.

So despite this dish being quite prevalent in the Maldives resorts, I felt quite comfortable calling out One & Only Reethi Rah’s version. Reethi’s is so close to bisque perfection that while there might be others out there in the Maldives just as good (I haven’t had them yet), at best they could be is as good as Reethi.

The best bisque I’ve had since Wolesley Hotel in London (who sadly has since removed it from their menu). I should also clarify that I am a devotee of the coulis school of bisque. Thin and hot enough with just the right touch of cognac to ignite the stewed flavors of subtle herbs and lobster broth. The creamy (Normandy) style is fine, but simply not as elegant or flavourful as the traditional style.

Best of the Maldives: Maldive Doughnuts – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - doughnuts Gulab Jaam

National Doughnut Day! This is one of the more sacred celebrations in our household. We have regular Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donut pilgrimages on our trips back to the USA. We have been known to drive for half an hour first thing in the morning to get the “red light” (KK fans will know what I am talking about) “hot ones” (and then finish off an entire box before even getting home…of course, we bought several boxes).

And on our trip to Park Hyatt Hadahaa we not only got to indulge our fried dough infatuation, but we did so with a distinctly local twist. Hadahaa prepares and serves the local ‘Gulab Jamun’ (the locals normally call them Gulab Jaam). Though, really, they’re more like donut holes. Still, they are donuts! Paradise just became more paradise.

Also, the best resort for celebrity spotting Homer Simpson…

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - Homer Simpson donut

Best of the Maldives: Kids Buffet – Lily Beach

Lily Beach - kids buffet

International Childrens Day today is the time to cater to the needs and interests of our younger generation. And Lily Beach does this literally every day with its special “Kids Buffet. (thanks Paola) Lily Beach has one of the more sumptuous buffets of the resorts we have visited. And most fine buffets will have plenty of selection for the spaghetti-and-hot-dog set, but Lily’s lay out is the first we’ve seen where an entire section is devoted to the puerile palate.  Items include such kiddie classics as chicken nuggets, french fries, mini sandwiches, pasta, and sweet donuts.  .

Best of the Maldives: Table Decorating – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - table decor 1

JA Manafaru doesn’t just use painted grains of sand to make a stunning tableau, but also painted grains of rice to make a stunning table. And not just on the sand itself, but on the tables on the sand (of beach dinners). Actually throughout the resort too (eg. dining rooms, bars, other places of celebration). A meander through the #jamanafaru Instagram account brings up a whole gallery of masterpieces.

JA Manafaru - table decor 3

JA Manafaru - table decor 2

JA Manafaru - table decor 4

Best of the Maldives: Fish and Chips – Amilla Fushi

Amilla Fushi - fish and chips

Lillian Gish and hairy nips.

If molecular cuisine is the epitome of epicurean epiphanies, then the opposite end of the spectrum would be good old fashioned fish and chips. But in the Maldives, even this austere staple can have an artistic twist.

Amilla Fushi’s has taken a page from one of London’s top eateries, The Ivy, famous for both its celebrity clientele and for serving luxury fish and chips. The Fish & Chip Shop venue is located in the Baazaar eaterie run by leading Aussie chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan on the resort. They serve favourites such as battered or crumbed cod, haddock and scampi, as well as some of the more exotic local fishermen’s ‘catch of the day’.  Complete with newspaper wrapping (though I hope it is The Times or the International Tribune).

Chic Chippie.

 

Best of the Maldives: Dine Around Tour – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - culinary treasures

Happy Easter! If the Easter Bunny didn’t bring you enough eggs, then maybe you need to go hunt for them. When our kids were younger, we not only organised treasure hunts on our Maldives visits, but we organised Easter egg hunts at our house or church before we tucked into our traditional Easter dinner of roast lamb and Lori’s famous carrot cake.

Park Hyatt Hadahaa offers a gastronomic treasure hunt every day (including eggs, though not the chocolate version), with their “Culinary Indulgence”. For $670 per couple, you are treated to 5 meals (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, evening cocktails with canapés, and dinner) at assorted special locations around the island.

Fortunately, I pilfered a treasure map about from a scallywag rogue indicating where the culinary treats and treasures can be found.

Happy hunting.

Best of the Maldives: Butter – Dusit Thani

Dusit Thani - butter

I love attention to detail and during my tours I am always on the scrounge for those little touches that make the experience a bit more distinctive. One of my favourites was Dusit Thani’s butter patties wrapped with a little bow of greens. No balancing on the edge of your knife or unwrapping cafeteria-style packages. Just pick up the patty by the sprig and put it on your plate.

In our household, we have a family saying from Lori’s home turf in The South of the USA – “Everything is better with butter!” And a Dusit Thani, even the butter is better.

Best of the Maldives: Decorative Dessert – Jumeirah Vittaveli

Jumeirah Vittaveli - ornate dessert

A treat for women on International Womens Day (though men will like it too) by Jumeirah Vittaveli – Aloe Vera Baked Yogurt with Berries. Created by their Executive Sous Chef Francis Cornelious (see photo below)…

“The life of a modern woman is very stressful and busy, filled with a multitude of tasks and duties that we take on willingly but that also tend to deplete our energy reserves.  To counterbalance our stressful routine, we need to ensure that we take care of our body and mind, through healthy food and moments of rest and meditation. At Jumeirah Vittaveli, our creative Executive Sous Chef Francis Cornelious has created a tantalizing dessert that will assist your physical wellbeing, while utilizing unique yet commonly available ingredients.”

The focus of the creation was the health benefits (and of course the taste), but I was enchanted by the colourful artistry of glassy sweetness on top. May women around the world be treated with the same care, consideration and respect as Vittaveli’s tribute to them.

Jumeirah Vittaveli - ornate dessert 2

Best of the Maldives: Green Eggs and Ham – Kurumba

Kurumba - green eggs and ham 2

I am an aficionado of all forms of egg benedict. I have had just every variation imaginable, but I have never had “Green Eggs and Ham”.  Today is the birthday of the legendary writer Dr. Suess who own trailblazing creativity and whimsy would be right at home at Kurumba.  Their regular menu item is a gourmet delicacy that Sam-I-am (no relation to Will) would be just as enthusiastic about.

I also find it a bit prophetic that the recalcitrant narrator has his epiphany sitting in some shallow water (see below). I too would like them in a boat.  Maybe he was at Kurumba too.

I *DO* like green eggs and ham, Sam I am. Pesto with ham.

Kurumba - green and ham I like them

Kurumba - green eggs and ham 1