I couldn’t bring myself to just make this part of the last posting. It really deserves an entry unto its own. I hope you will agree.
There is little on a Princess Cruise ship to rival the experience one has attending Chef’s Table Lumiere. We have been fortunate enough to experience a few of these and, given our dear friends had not, it was once again a must-do.
A little easier said than done however. It is only held twice on a cruise and only for a select number of guests – usually 10-12. It is by invitation only based on you getting on the short list. Experience has taught us the only real way you have a chance is the Moment you get on the ship, get to your room and call dining services. Ask to be put on the list for the Chef’s Table. And then wait. Generally speaking two days before, you (if you’re one of the few) will get a formal written invitation.
Pre-pandemic this magnificent dining event would start with a guided tour through the kitchen. Subsidized with numerous Hors d’Oeuvres and ever-filling champagne glasses, it was a most impressive start to the meal. Sad to say, this wonderful beginning is no longer. Did the meal suffer because of this? Not in the Least!
Shall we begin? Let’s start with the Executive Chef (Federico Femiano) and Director of Restaurant Operations (Miroslav Repac) explaining all that will happen as well as giving a little information about the 1.5 million dollar table we are seated at. The center piece is blown glass from Murano, Italy. Surrounding us are 2 lighted curtains, 1 dropping down, the other wrapping around. Both creating a double wall of vertical lights keeping prying eyes out. We are in the Allegro dining room, 1 of 3 on the ship, and the diners there do NOT get to enjoy what we are having.
The dinner menu originally was dictated by Princess Corporate. They have since seen the light, so to speak, and now give their Executive Chef’s free reign as to what to create. Therefore, tonight’s delights will never be re-created. Each guest is seated at a designated spot, complete with name card. Apparently those are so you don’t forget who you are by the end. 😉
It is artfully lit from above with a beautiful Chandelier. One sidebar would be a note to Princess to light up the center leaves. (Cuz it’s just not stunning enough! 😉 )
The first course is Hors d’Oeuvres and champagne. In this case, Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne from Chouilly, France. One soon realizes that if the glass being used at any given moment appears to be less full than it was originally, that problem must be rectified. This could be an issue as the night progresses. Oh well…time to take one for the team.
The entire menu is meant to be, and is in fact, a surprise. The Hors d’Oeuvres are a dead giveaway as to impending overindulgence. At the bottom you have Citrus Salmon Gravlax on the left and beside it a Greek Salad and Cheese. The top left is a Chicken and Strawberry Compote Slider (WHAT??). In the middle is Sturgeon Caviar over Steamed Potato. At right is Sour Cream Seared Ahi Tuna. I came, I saw, I conquered. And just incase you, like I, have reservations about strawberry and chicken…it actually works very well.
On to the next conversation piece. This was very nicely paired with an Attems, Pinot Grigio from Italy. It was its own presentation in that we received our bowl but were not allowed to eat anything immediately. Primarily because it was not finished. It was Basil, Tomato and Cheese Sablé all nestled in a rich Tomato Bisque.
Now we begin to get a little more serious. Below you will see Saffron Risotto Milanese surrounding an Oxtail Ossobuco with Parmiggiano Reggiano Crackling. Surprisingly, the Attems Pinot Grigio continues to hold its own with this course. Bottoms up!
The palate needs cleansing by now. What better way to do that than with a very light Aperol and Prosecco Sorbet? As it turns out, it’s not complete without a sprinkling of chilled Grey Goose Vodka. Sprinkle size varies by individual.
The main has arrived but I can only loosen my belt so much and remain polite. This could be a concern. On the right is a Beer Batter Fried Maine Lobster Tail, beside it Pancetta Wrapped, Gorgonzola Stuffed Beef Tenderloin, sitting on a Mushroom Medley and topped with a Potato Nest. Spain brings the compliment to the table with Vall Llach Embruix Priorat red wine. I have met my match.
Any meal of this caliber would not be complete (YES IT WOULD!) without a dessert. And it must be presented in a fashion that befits this incredible meal…all at once to everyone. Below is Milk Chocolate and Espresso Dalgona Mousse and Vanilla Bean Gelato. Oh, and let’s have some Errazuriz White from Valle De CasaBlanca, Chile just in case you’re still thirsty.
But wait! There’s More!! Coffee or Tea or Herbal Tea and some of Chef Federico’s Homemade Gourmandises to take back to your room. After all, you may get hungry later. Sometime next week. They really should offer wheelchair-assist for the exodus from the table.
It’s almost filling just to revisit this magnificent repast. If you ever have the opportunity to partake, you have been warned. 🙂