Luxury resorts in the Maldives come a dime a dozen, where dazzling turquoise lagoons, plush overwater villas, and first-rate hospitality are baseline expectations. Where these five-star escapes differ, though, is the food. Since its 2016 opening, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort set itself apart as a culinary tour de force with its selection of six gourmet, globally inspired restaurants and splashy wine cellar degustation menus. Now with a new guest chef series, foodie travelers have another delicious reason to book their next Maldivian getaway.
The resort’s rotating guest chef series rolled out in late 2021 and will continue through 2022, attracting a global roster of exceptional chefs to the five-star getaway two days per month. Early December, for instance, saw acclaimed chef Prateek Sadhu transfer his brilliant cooking techniques from his lauded Mumbai restaurant Masque to the Maldivian coastline with special dinners and intimate cooking classes. Previous headliners include chef Dharshan Munidasa, the maestro behind Sri Lanka’s world-famous Ministry of Crab, and Valencian-based chef Eduaro Torres of Molino Roca, with the 2022 line-up soon to be announced. Even if you miss out on the special guest chef dates, the resort’s bevy of restaurants and special dining experiences will still sate your gourmet appetite.
The St. Regis Maldives’ centerpiece restaurant is Alba, where a decadent buffet breakfast is served (if you’re not having breakfast in your own swish pool villa) as well as international choices for lunch and Italian for dinner. On an agreeable morning, guests enter the elegant, airy space to choose from a lavish buffet spread — from fresh dim sum and South Asian delicacies to continental bits — before settling onto beachfront tables on the sand. The breakfast à la carte menu is excellent, too, featuring sweet and savory favorite waffle and duck leg confit and Maldivian-inspired omelets.
Tucked underneath Alba is the resort’s gastro magnum opus: Decanter, a subterranean wine cellar hosting multi-course degustations with wine pairings to a lucky few. It’s the experience to book well in advance for the chance to have executive chef Pedro Samper and Maldivian wine sommelier Ahmed Athif personally guide you through a memorable evening of food (think caviar-topped reef lobster poached in butter) and wine (a selection of vintages sourced from the resort’s 2,000-plus bottle collection).
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Crust & Craft, the designated “beach shack” pizzeria, the resort’s most casual and cost-friendly restaurant. Fresh-from-the-oven pizzas with toppings ranging from parma ham and organic basil to Maldivian smoked tuna are served here, as well as tacos, assorted bruschetta, and burgers (including the must-try Maldivian lobster burger).
Orientale, the resort’s dinner-only Asian dining space, recently removed Indian cuisine from the menu to focus on Chinese and Japanese flavors. Under its sleek open-air terrace, you’ll now find delectable sushi rolls, Wagyu beef dishes, and other souped-up classics on the Japanese list, while the Chinese menu features dim sum (some topped with caviar) and wok-fried varieties such as lobster and fiery Sichuan chicken. The special beachside Orientale Express offering takes things up a notch with an exclusive five-course Chinese omakase dinner.
For the cocktail lovers, there are few more striking places in the Maldives to enjoy a sundowner than at Whale Bar. The aptly named overwater lounge resembles a curvaceous whale shark; a pyrographic mural by artist Maya Burman depicting croal and sea life adorns the “belly” (ceiling) of the space. It’s a plum spot to try St. Regis Maldives’s flagship cocktail, the Island Mary — a localized answer to the Bloody Mary — prepared tableside and served inside a seashell.
Cargo provides a marked change of scenery from the beachfront restaurants, plopped within the island’s jungle landscape and perfect for starry nights. The shipping-container-turned-food-kiosk serves Middle Eastern staples such as hummus (their signature), falafel, and mouth-watering lamb dishes.
With its bevy of restaurants, cracking wine collection, new guest chef series, and a lengthy list of private dining experiences in special locations (from sandbank picnics to jungle cinema screenings for two), The St. Regis Maldives is your gourmet fix in the middle of the Indian Ocean — be sure to pack your appetite.
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