Review: Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine – a preview, or dry run, of the restaurant to be launched on board Harmony of the Seas by Royal Caribbean.
Wonderland concept on board Harmony of the Seas ™
Cruise holidays…cool, or not cool? I have to admit, I had previously categorised cruise ship holidays as something that my mum does. I mean no offence to my mum in saying this; she is über–glamorous, able to pack light, has seen much of the world and has made many friends on board various gargantuan-sized ships. It’s just that going on a cruise holiday is not something I have ever considered for myself or my family for fear of being uncontactable, claustrophobic, or sea-sick. Enter Royal Caribbean who are about to change my perceptions by launching the world’s largest cruise ship in May 2016 – Harmony of the Seas ™
This ship is designed to offer everything you could possibly wish for, including: the fastest internet at sea, a bionic (fully robotic) bar, a 9-deck high zip line, a 10-story drop waterslide, a running track, fitness centre and spa, ‘Central Park,’ a Broadway show, an outdoor movie screen and a rock climbing wall. The scope and scale of this ship is something that really hasn’t been achieved before, although Royal Caribbean have nine-times won Best Mainstream Cruise Company, so they clearly know a thing or two about offering luxury at sea.
As to the food on board, Harmony of the Seas ™ will boast a Jamie’s Italian, 150 Central Park by Michael Schwartz, an English Pub, a Vintage Wine Bar, to mention but a few of the dining options as well as countless coffee shops and cafes. Harmony of the Seas ™ will also offer guests the very modern dining experience of ‘Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine’ – a celebrated gastronomic adventure offered exclusively by Royal Caribbean.
Wonderland – was it wonderful?
Can the food on board a cruise ship really be all that good? Well, we were reassured by Michael Gilligan, Director of Culinary for Royal Caribbean, that it absolutely can be and we invited to a dry run of Wonderland, replicated in Central London, to taste the food for ourselves.
Chef Gilligan has accrued 25 years’ worth of culinary experience during his career so far, including stints at Le Manoir Aux Quatr’ Saisons, New York’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, De Niro’s Miriad Restaurant Group and the Conrad Miami amongst many other prestigious ‘on land’ adventures. He is now overseeing all culinary operations on board the world’s biggest cruise line.
The Wonderland Menu is categorised by theme rather than course, showcasing food from across the globe grouped into elements such as Sun, Ice, Fire, Earth and Dreams. There are culinary twists, elements of surprise and the dishes are all presented with a great deal of imagination and flair.
We sampled an 8-course tasting menu at the ‘Dry Run’ event, offering a preview to some of the dishes that you can expect to experience on Harmony of the Seas ™ including;
- Liquid Marzana Olives
- Crispy Crab Cones
- Baby Vegetables in the Garden with Black Rice
- Sashimi of Red and White Tuna (with a divine Yuzu dressing)
- Buffalo Chicken Eggs (which arrives under a smoking glass cloche with blue cheese and a hot sauce)
- Halibut Cooked in Clear Paper (with wild mushrooms, potatoes and bacon)
- Berkshire Pork Belly with Apples and Crackling (with an exceptional sauce)
- Valrhona Chocolate Mousse with Dulche de Leche and Crispy Pearls
I would happily eat this menu from beginning to end again and I must also mention the service, which was highly attentive and informative right the way through. The sauces and dressings accompanying some of the courses were incredibly well executed, too. The stand-out dish for me was the Halibut cooked in clear paper, although the Valrhona chocolate mousse reminded me that I would also need to save room, in future, for dessert.
Wonderland is a speciality dining option on board Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and will launch from May 2016 on Royal Caribbean’s brand new ship Harmony of the Seas
Interested in more on-board photos? Look out for my future posts and have a look at Sarka’s post here:
With many thanks to Royal Caribbean for the invitation to experience Wonderland at The Ice Tank in London. I was not expected to write a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Images above supplied by Royal Caribbean.
You can follow Royal Caribbean on twitter @MyRoyalUK
What are your thoughts on cruise holidays? Have you ever experienced one?