My meal at Amsterdam’s Restaurant de Kas was part of a public relations initiative I undertook in my previous role marketing at Microsoft called ‘Room with View’ (a play on the word ‘Windows’, since they were often hosted a venues with big windows looking out of distinctive vistas, as well as the notion of having a press briefing that offered fresh and clear perspectives on the company’s direction). If I had the budget to fly everyone down to the Maldives, I would have had an even more apropos option with Sun Island’s ‘Restaurant Zero’.
At Restaurant Zero, not just the herbs and vegetables are local, but everything served there is local including local fish and other produce. Their specialty is salads with a number of types of lettuce and other greens grown for serving.
And you don’t just dine on the vegetation and among the vegetation, but also on top of the vegetation. Several of the tables are located on a Swiss Family Robinson style tree deck accessed by a rope bridge (see picture below). Now that’s a Room With a View.
I’m visiting a low lying country that would be one of the first to suffer widespread inundation if global warming triggers rising sea levels. No, not the Maldives, but the Netherlands. In Amsterdam for the International Broadcast Conference as a part of my day job with Red Bee Media Piero.
One of my favourite restaurants in Amsterdam is Restaurant de Kas that I discovered at another Amsterdam trade show. It is situated in the Frankendael Park and has its own extensive garden. All of the dishes are prepared with greens, veg and herbs from that plot.
LUX* Maldives has its own version of ‘de’Kas’ dining. You pick your own salad from the garden for your starter. All the meal is cooked in front of you with ingredients from the “Jardin d’Herbes.”…
“Perfumed, sheltered idylls, these jardin d’herbes offer a change of scenery for guests looking to dine al fresco but out of the sun and away from the social purr of our restaurants. These charming oases also supply our kitchens with fresh ingredients…Reserve a spot for an intimate lunch or dinner, help our chefs pick some fresh herbs and savour the senses as they prepare your private table d’hote.”
The Chelsea Flower Show has become so big that it has spawned the ‘Chelsea Fringe’ which features some more adventurous and unbounded horticultural initiatives. With similar spirit, Kuramathi has developed its own alternative horticultural innovation with its new hydroponics garden…
“Set in the centre of the island, the Hydroponics Garden is a remarkable facility which caters 70% of fresh salads to the food outlets on the island. The garden which runs by a greenhouse system consisting of 20 greenhouses produces herbs such as coriander, rocket, green basil, mint, purple basil, dill, sage and lemongrass. This efficient and eco-friendly method facilitates rapid harvesting where plants grow within a month’s time. The greenhouses are categorised by type, for instance 15 greenhouses grow lettuce whilst another 5 grow herbs. Richard Brittaine, Resident Horticulturist who leads the Hydroponic Garden says that the system which is wholly dependent on water is supplied with nutrients that make up the solution necessary for the plants to grow, and the water is changed every 2 months. The facility has been running for nearly 18 months and more plants are planned to be introduced over time.”
Other resorts, like Park Hyatt Hadahaa and Filitheyo, have hydroponic garden facilities, but Kuramathi is the most extensive and ambitious that I have come across yet. For more details and pictures, check out their Facebook page.
Happy Vernal Equinox!
The official arrival of spring is a milestone to start working on that garden. And if you are into gardening, then the resort with the ‘biggest’ appeal would be Adaaran Hudhuranfushi.
Hudhuranfushi has the largest produce garden of any resort in the Maldives. So you are guaranteed a massive selection of fresh produce at the buffet. Such diverse produce as squash-like ‘snake goat’ (see picture below). Gardening is big thing in terms of scale and heritage at Hudhuranfushi. Before it was a resort island, it was an agricultural island.
Guests are welcome to tour the massive complex, but a guide is recommended to highlight all the distinctive things growing there (and to help keep from getting lost).