When the cruise ship Carnival Spirit was in its new home port of Sydney recently, I wanted to stow away. That was after a cocktail onboard, a tour, and dinner at The Chefs Table.
In our case The Chefs Table meant eating at a stainless steel kitchen bench in the galley for six courses before moving into one of the restaurant dining rooms for the main menu.
I’m kind of impressed with how I’m getting my head around the cruising terminology. Until last week I called a ship a boat, and didn’t know the aft from the stern. Anyway, I got to try the Carnival Spirit Chefs Table, all twelve courses, just as if I was a passenger, even though I actually wasn’t cruising any where at all, except back to my own bed at the end of the night.
The first six courses, Reception where served in the galley as a treat. I’m not sure if that will be able to happen when there are real passengers on board. Those dishes were a treat in another way too, as they were of a standard that I just didn’t except from a cruise ship. With a small group of other bloggers we oohed and aahed in gastronomic delight. Take for example the mustard sorbet. Well I’d had something similar previously, but that mustard sorbet was from a Michelin restaurant not a ship that feeds thousands of people. Yeup that was a surprise. Come to think of it, I didn’t expect to see a cruise ship galley using tweezers like a top restaurant either. My favourite dish of the night was also one of these six starters. When was the last time you ate pigeon? It was incredible – Quinoa, Double Cooked Pigeon, Oyster Sauce. What a sensational mouthful of contrasting creaminess and crunch, tender moist gamey flesh and earthy goodness.
The trick, you see, is that in sailing all around the world, a clever chef can pick up international inspiration.
Take a look: take a taste tour with me.
Executive Chef Daniel Arulraj welcomes Ms. Rebecca Varidel
Aboard the Carnival Spirit, 18th October, 2012
Lychee, Pistachio, Pink Hawaiian Salt, Sake Sorbet, Duck Sauce
Cured Beet, Ginger Cream, Salmon Roe,
Unagi, Cucumber, Jicama, Soy Glaze, Papay & Red Pepper Splash, Tobiko
Quinoa, Double Cooked Pigeon, Oyster Sauce
Purple Gazpacho, Mustard Sorbet
Tomatoes Our Way!
Aerated Tomato Juice, Cocoa Butter Coated, Chardonnay Poached
Southern Bluefin Tuna Banh Mi
Lemon Bread, Sesame Crisp, Miso Cream, Avocado Gel
Caramelised, Butternut Squash, Sofrito
Herb Peso, Cured Tomatoes, Carrots, Fava, Mushroom Earth, Condensed Beets
Slowed Stewed Short Ribs, Potato Pebbles, Pumpkin Fudge, Tomato Dust
Aerated Pistachio and Mango Cake with Mascarpone Cream, Guava and Caramel Praline
PS: there was a birthday at our table while we were onboard, so we also had birthday cake! An extra, I think.
“You’re holiday begins the minute you come on board.” Our feast certainly did. And next time, if I actually get out of port, I’ll make sure that I laze my time away on the Adults Only Serenity deck or sun myself on my private balcony as well as returning for another feast at The Chefs Table.
Rebecca Varidel was a guest for dinner of Carnival Cruises onboard Carnival Spirit.