Carnival Vista – The Chefs’ Table
Last night I had the pleasure in eating at ‘The Chefs’ Table’, an experience offered by Carnival Cruises. This is offered each night, but only for about 14 people at a time. It was superb. We were met in the lobby by Chef Plato.
The experience began in a small part of the galley, set up with a place for us all for champagne and tasting experiences. These included local olives with and without local parmesan cheese, then for a real taste sensation, the Chef wound delicate strands of fairy floss around an olive on a skewer, the resultant taste was as interesting for the texture as well as the taste. He then gave us a tiny morsel in a black spoon that was a combination of a few things including chicken, forgive me for not knowing all the ingredients, but it was delicious.
Next up Chef created at the central bench Greek yoghurt lollypops by quick freezing them and adding grated lemon rind, lime rind and fresh parmesan and a drop of sesame oil. He asked us to put the lollypop in our mouths and just let it melt. As it melted the individual tastes came and went in turn. Surprising combination, but a winner.
From the small galley, we took our champagne and were seated in the most amazing room. We didn’t have waiters, we had Chefs, (which is why I have used Chefs’ rather than Chef’s) one to every two diners. Before each course, Chef addressed the table to explain each dish, the ingredients and the process of creating it. Even the bread and butter was far from average. Brioche rolls with handmade butter as well as a homemade crispbread complimented with a butter, sun dried tomato spread.
Next, we started on the menu as such. Firstly, Spring peas and Matcha Soup. This was blended at the table. We had a small pot of fine green granules (peas that had been reduced to dust) put on the table, we put these in the bottom of the glass bowl and while your Chef was pouring green liquid into our bowl we were to stir with the bamboo whisk that was part of the place setting.
Next was Berkshire Pork Belly, Shrimps and a lobster sauce; Slow cooked Crispy Lamb served with a roasted beef and port jus; Olive Oil Poached Seabass with asparagus and white miso and from a tin labelled caviar was Chef created passionfruit caviar. After that was Quail, Wild Mushrooms risotto and Carnaroli, parmesan, the finest pepper threads and a roasted onion jus. Our last main course was Smoked Veal, Crushed Green Apples with a light cheese broth.
The prettiest dish of the meal was a delicate disc of Citrus Cream, topped with a beautiful white chocolate flower with mango caviar stamen, dusted with lime snow and elderflower caviar. It not only looked beautiful, but tasted devine.
And lastly, after almost three hours of a food adventure, our second dessert which was Chocolate Hazelnut, basil moss, chocolate logs and chocolate soil.
Our evening was punctuated with breaks. One was when we got a tour of the Galley. What an amazing place. They were in the middle of their dinner service for two restaurants. Reflections Restaurant is for those folk who have chosen to have set dining times for their entire cruise. I have never been one of those folk. I eat at my own time at Horizons Restaurant, a beautiful double story restaurant that is open for meals from 5.30pm, with the last diners arriving before 9.30pm. During this tour, one of the Chefs taught us how to make Carnival’s signature Chocolate melting cake.
The next break was quite unexpected. He was a magician. He entertained and intrigued us for around 10 minutes and was very good. Later a photographer in and took a photo of our group; a copy signed by Chef Plato was presented to each of us.
A fascinating evening which I would highly recommend.
Bellissimo, Chef Plato!