Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dining at Landaa Giraavaru

Scallops at Blu @ Landaa GiraavaruFour Seasons' Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives has four restaurants. Besides Cafe Landaa, their all-day dining restaurant, Blu on the sunset beach specializes in Italian, Al Barakat at the jetty in Arabic cuisine, and Feugo Grill by the seaside in grilled meats and seafood. During our seven days here, we tried these restaurants more than once.

Blu, on the sunset end of the island, is contemporary and sophisticated with a white-and-blue decor that merges with the bright white sand and the blue waters on the sunset beach. They have a lobster night every Friday. We went with the Chef's tasting menu with four courses. The warm tropical lobster salad had sour and ripe mangoes and chunks of lobster meat with a hint of tropical spices. Very refreshing! My wife chose a lobster soup which was an Italian twist on a local spicy soup, also very good.

Blu @ Landaa Giraavaru
Herb encrusted jackfish at Blu
Grilled Tiger Prawns at BluNext came my lobster risotto, a killer! The freshest lobster combined with the flavorful and tasty risotto made my evening. This was by far the memorable dish of the night. My wife's pasta was not particularly remarkable. The braised boster that came next with foie gras was also delectible as was my wife's grilled lobster. We were so full by now, we could only taste the delicious coconut sorbet but made a note to come back here for more.

Mozarella at Blu
Grilled Lobster at Blu
Braised Lobster with Foie Gras at Blu
Lobster Risotto at BluIf you love seafood and Italian, this is a restaurant you want to try for sure. During our next visit, we picked stuff off the a la carte menu. The grilled scallops on a bed of Indian pulses was good as was the nicely spiced local jackfish. And finally, do try the gelato/sorbet selection here.

Cafe Landaa @ Landaa GiraavaruCafe Landaa opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the menu is heavily tilted towards Asian dishes from India and the Far East. On the day we arrived, they had an Asian rainforest-themed dinner. There was a sushi bar, a live teppanyaki counter, Indian kababs and curries among other things. In the mornings, this restaurant dishes up fluffy soft waffles and pancakes with raspberry compote to die for!

Fruits at Cafe Landaa
Cafe at Cafe LandaaLots of Japanese and Asian items abound in the breakfast buffet such as dimsums, miso soup, kongee, etc. You can also find some interesting varieties of sausages made of salmon, beef, etc. The restaurant is open on three sides and made of wood and woven bamboo, with water bodies and small fountains. They also have a fruit counter with a person who will artfully cut fresh tropical fruits for you on order.

Al Barakat at Landaa GiraavaruAl Barakat is located near the jetty over the turquoise waters of the reef. A Persian themed lounge overlooks the sea-waters. Hookahs, low seating cushions, rugs and lamps complete the interesting decor. Al Barakat is named after the North African scholar who made this atoll his home in the 12h century. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor dining spaces and we tried both during our two trips here. The a la carte menu contains cold and hot Lebanese mezze, Grills and Tagine selections.

Al Barakat @ Landaa Giraavaru
Cous Cous at Al Barakat
Mezze at Al Barakat
The mezze was quite authentic and tasty with the freshly made pita bread. We tried the hummus, Arides Lebnani Bil Zayton - shrimps with tomatoes, green olives and herbs and Jawneh Ferakh - chicken wings in corainder sauce.

Captain's Marques Platter at Al BarakatI tried Captain Marques Platter from the Tagine section. Tagines are special clay pots used in North African cooking. The dish itself is an ancient Moroccon recipe with grilled marinated lamb chops and homemade Moroccon sausages filled with ground beef, herbs, spices, cabbage and chickpeas. It was quite delightful!

My wife had the Samaka Harra, baked reef fish marinated with Arabic spices, diced tomato, cilantro and capsicum. She enjoyed her entree too. We also ordered some cous cous with the entrees that was good.

Desserts at Al BarakatThe chocolate profiteroles with date ice-cream was good, but the standout dessert was the banana, mango and strawberry gratin with cardomom ice-cream.

During the next night, they had a Sultan's night special dinner at Al Barakat where they had cooked an entire lamb for eight hours under the sand. The buffet included mezze samplers, beef and lamb shawarma which were so well seasoned, I can still remember the taste. We enjoyed our food on the outdoor terrace as lamps flickered in the cool wind and waves crashed below us.

Mezze platter at Al Barakat
Whole Lamb at Al Barakat
Feugo Grill is another excellent dining option. Both location and food are top-class here. Tables set in the bleached white sands, right at the waters edge where baby lemon sharks show up during the evenings. We gobbled up some real tasteful seafood selections here. Starters of crab meat and prawns were excellent. Our mains were always the catches of the day: snapper, lobster and tiger prawns. Fish here are usually always line-caught and absolutely fresh. We would be eating at 7 PM what was caught only at 4 PM!

Feugo Grill
Feugo Grill
Feugo Grill
Feugo Grill
Feugo GrillFinally, a word on in-room dining. We found the menu quite varied and Chandan's Chicken Biryani and Cheesecake were hits with the kid. It is actually quite fun to have lunch on the sun-deck of your beach bungalow with the ocean in front of you just after a swim in the plunge pool.

There are kids menus at all restuarants here. We had paid for half-board which is a good option if you are all adults. If you have kids, paying actuals may be a better option unless you can polish of three courses every night (children's menu are much cheaper). Also note that prices here are high because everything has to be flown in from distant countries. Dinner entrees at Blu are priced at about USD 40, lunch items at USD 24, a glass of wine at USD 24, etc. However, the portions are large.

Next: More Goodness at Landaa Giraavaru
Previous: A Vacation in Maldives

4 comments:

Aathira said...

By the pricing, I think it makes complete sense to take on half board, right? But to take the goodness of half board, how would you move to other islands and try out more local food items?

Shantanu said...

@Aathira: You rarely get to island hop here. Few of the islands are 'local'. Most are resorts or unhabited. You mostly get a taste of local stuff at Male.

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