The sister resorts Amilla and Finolhu have a unique relationship in the Maldives. While Finolhu is the fun sister (think Princess Stephanie) Amilla is the elegant more traditional sister (Princess Caroline). And guests can easily travel between the two to make use to each other's facilities. And at Amilla, they have a very special pop up with Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen.
Ramsay and his family are frequent guests at Amilla Resort (along with Kate Moss, Kate Winslet, the Beckhams, Mel C, Robin Thicke and Cara and Poppy Delevingne). And so an idea was formed to bring the Bread Street Kitchen team to the Maldives to cook at the Amilla resort for a period of 10 days, a culinary coup for the island. This is their inaugural visit and it was so successful that they will be back four times a year.
At Finolhu we hop in the speed boat for the 30 minute ride across to Amilla. I don't want to give everything away (because I will show you more of Amilla soon in a separate story) but the property is stunning. The GM Jean Noel is also always there to greet guests on arrival. Guests regularly hop between the two resorts and there is a complimentary speedboat twice a day to take them. They can also charge back to their respective resort.
The 5 person Bread Street kitchen team includes chef Dario Catapano and his team of front of house staff and chefs. This is to ensure that an authentic Bread Street Kitchen experience is delivered to guests. The first stop is to have a cocktail from the curated list of BSK cocktails. I love the It's About Thyme with Grey Goose, Limoncello, thyme syrup, champagne and lemon foam as well as the Ultimate Mai Tai served in a coconut for adorability factor combined with drinkability.
As we are dining in a large group we ask them to bring out a selection of the best of the menu to share family style. We start with the compressed Bombay Sapphire gin watermelon salad served with feta, avocado, pumpkin seeds and aged balsamic. It's refreshing with a little hit of gin to give it an edge and just perfect for this weather.
They explain that the idea behind Bread Street Kitchen is sourcing the best food from around the world. For example if the best pineapples are from Costa Rica they source them from there. They explain that they changed the suppliers as they found they liked the quality of local lobsters so they added them on the menu with taglioni pasta, spring onions, chilli, garlic and a generous amount of lobster tail meat.
This is a dish that has long been on the menu at Bread Street Kitchen. It's a white snapper carpaccio with ginger dressing, horseradish, avocado dabs and wakame. This is such a well suited dish for the weather and it's refreshing with the Italian Sauvignon Blanc.
I have a soft spot for chicken wings and these are full of flavour. These Asian flavoured chicken wings are marinated in tamarind and spices and are saucy little morsels.
Another favourite is the tender thin slices of beef fillet carpaccio served with quartered artichokes, creme fraiche, mushroom dressing and a hit of black truffle.
There's a small break and then the mains come out. And hands down my favourite main is the duo of beef. There is a perfectly juicy and seasoned pan fried fillet and a soft, intensely flavoured beef cheek and the sweet accompaniment of shallots with horseradish and gremolata. This is a perfect balance of savoury, umami and sweet.
There are other lighter options like a pan fried salmon served with an aromatic broth with seasonal vegetables and clams.
Or if you can't decide then there is a surf and turf with a sirloin steal half a lobster, cafe de Paris butter and chips.
Although we've had such a great spread of food we can't resist dessert. They bring us a selection of the best of their desserts. The cranachan cheesecake is based on the Scottish cranachan dessert made with cream, raspberry, oats and whisky They've replaced the raspberries with mango here to suit availability and the setting. It's a super light unbaked cheesecake with a little bite from the whisky.
The recipe for cannoli is chef Dario's mother 25 year old recipe and one that won him an award in a cooking contest. It's a dark chocolate, pistachio and cherry cannoli filled with light whipped ricotta cream inside with a crispy shell on the outside.
The chocolate fondant is one of those things that can be average. But not in this case, the centre is wonderfully runny and the chocolate is divine. It's served with a salted caramel ice cream.
I remember trying this dessert when BSK opened up in Hong Kong. It's a thinly shaved pineapple carpaccio with passionfruit and kiwifruit sauce and served with a scoop of coconut sorbet. This and the chocolate fondant, although at different ends of the spectrum are my favourites and suit the tropical climate perfectly.
I sink my feet in the sand further and relax and watch the clouds in the sky.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever been to Bread Street Kitchen? And do you go to many pop ups and collaborations between chefs?
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