A $95 cover charge and a limit of 14 seats per meal make this a exclusive offering.
Royal Caribbean offers Chef’s Tables only on its Oasis-class ships. On the Allure of the Seas the Chef’s Table can accommodate only 14 diners, but there are seatings every night of the cruise. Before every course, the sous chef introduces and explains the preparation of the dish. The sommelier follows up with a description of the (generous) wine pairings.
The food is served in the concierge lounge, with an amazing view over the Aqua Theater. The meeting point for the chef’s table is the library, where passengers are introduced and everybody can enjoy a glass of champagne. Everything, wine, food, and gratuity, is included in the $95 cover charge. Reservations are mandatory.
Dinner began with a smoked duck salad. The duck is marinated in Balsamic vinegar before being smoked, and has a lovely pink color. Three pieces are served on top of slices of sweet orange, and on top of that is a thinly sliced fennel salad, which has been soaked in ice water to lose its sharpness. Finished off with a orange-Grand Marnier drizzle, this salad was fruity and well-balanced.
The second appetizer was a trio of soups served in espresso cups. They come without a spoon, so you have to drink straight from the cup. The chef recommended a specific order. First came a butternut squash cream soup (even though there was no cream in the soup whatsoever), seasoned with cinnamon and spice mix. Our favorite was the second, the tomato consommé, a clear chicken soup made with vegetables, chicken, and tomatoes, and finished with fresh, diced tomatoes. The third soup was a lobster corn bisque, which began with a strong lobster taste, but finished sweetly.
For the warm appetizer we got a Serrano ham wrapped over pan-seared diver scallops. It was served with a sweet parsnip reduction, which complimented the sweetness of the scallops very well.
A roasted, milk-fed veal tenderloin over fondant potatoes, round-cut potatoes, pan-seared and oven-finished, was the main course. The medium-rare veal was marinated and laying on a bed of wild mushroom, drizzled with truffle glaze. This dish was delicious, the meat tender and juicy.
For dessert, the chef served a flowerless roasted hazelnut chocolate cake. On the side was a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a traditional Chantilly creme. Amazing.
The first three courses were paired with white wines. Only the veal was paired with Merlot, and the dessert with a hazelnut liqueur. All of them were excellent and a perfect fit.
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