I have been looking forward to this evening since I first booked our cruise onboard the Pacific Dawn. The images on the P & O website were mouthwatering, and I knew husband and I would be taking advantage of the opportunity for a romantic meal.
Salt Grill is both intimate and welcoming. Like everywhere else on the ship the service is impeccable. The restaurant guests are all dressed in a casual elegance befitting the stylish surrounds. I can’t help but feel immediately relaxed and indulged.
We order the house baked plain & zartar breads which are served with the “Luke Mangan brand olive oil & dukkah.
Everywhere we look the “Luke” insignia is displayed proudly. The attention to detail is meticulous. Luke Mangan brand water is served while we decide on a wine.
We settle on a 2007 red from the Barossa Valley. It is a gorgeously mellow Cabernet Merlot, with the body of the Cabernet grape and the gentleness of the Merlot. I congratulate Mr GG on his choice of wines and we settle down to the serious task of ordering our entrees.
There are number of Luke Mangan signature dishes on the menu but I just can’t go past the seared scallops. I am craving the sweet fat flesh of the scallops, and it is to be served with a blue cheese polenta and truffle oil. The dish does not disappoint I am moaning and groaning in delight to Mr GG after the first mouthful. Generously I share with Mr GG and he is in agreement, it is a simple dish but the flavours are divine.
Mr GG is in love with anchovies so he can’t pass up the opportunity to try the bruschetta of roast capsicum, sultana served with white anchovy. It is another fresh dish which burst with flavour and texture.
By this stage in the meal we are chatting to the two neighbouring tables. Dining on a ship is a little different than a regular restaurant. It almost feels like dining with your neighbours. After watching me take a series of food images the neighbouring couples curiosity got the better of them and they asked for a an explanation. We soon discovered that we had both attended the same Cheese and Wine Tour in Noumea. Our table of two became a table of six as we chatted throughout the meal o each other.
Our neighbours recommended the Scotch fillet wagyu, cross-angus. We had secretly noticed the dish being served to our new friends and Mr GG was very keen to give it a try. I am a bit of a steak snob and I don’t like the idea of my wagyu being crossed with another bred. If it doesn’t have a marble score of 9 and come from Raging River Wagyu at Wauchope I struggle to be impressed. The menu states that it is grain fed for 300 days and hubby choses a chimmichurri sauce to have on the side.
We also select three side dishes to have with our mains. After the truffle oil in my entree I need another hit so I chose the truffle mashed potatoes. Mr GG can’t get enough of the blue cheese so he chooses a salad of rocket, blue cheese, pear & walnuts. For the final dish we decide on a roasted curried pumpkin, served with feta & coriander.
I can never go past grilled Atlantic salmon so it is an easy choice for me too. I am pleased that the salmon is still moist and pink in the middle with a gorgeous smokey flavour on the outside from the grill. I chose a chipotle aioli to accompany the fish and sat in raptures whilst slowly devoured the dish.
From the moment I noticed the “Luke’s liquorice parfait” on the dessert menu I knew it had to be mine! I had no idea what it would taste like but a creamy licorice desert had my mind racing. I was right in my decision making. It was a deliciously cream smooth pannacotta styled dish with the overwhelmingly delicious flavour of licorice. It was served with a crispy tuille and lime syrup. Even our neighbours sampled this dish and agreed that it was both gorgeous and unique!
The chocolate tasting plate was the dessert I just had to choose. In my world it is a given that a lovely meal needs to be finished with a chocolate dessert. I would like to not be so predictable, but my chocolate cravings get the better of me everytime. The plate included a gorgeous chocolate fondant that was filled with a rich liquid lava chocolate centre, it was also served with a decadent dark chocolate truffle and a mini fondue of grilled marshmallow and chocolate ganache sauce for dipping. Thankfully I love by the moto that “Too much Chocolate is probably almost enough!”
Despite our generous servings and our rich desserts, Mr GG and I decided we would finish our delightfully indulgent meal with a serve of petit fours. Throughout the evening we had noticed these delectable bites being delivered to couples enjoying their own romantic evening. My favourite was the Turkish delight! I love the sweet stickiness of this light but floral dessert. Mr GG is a fan of Lemon Meringue Pie and the mini version was his favourite item on the Petit Fours plate.
We shared our Petit Fours with the neighbouring tables and chatted about how disappointing it was to be nearing the end of the cruise. I have a real soft spot for luxury, and our experience at Salt Grill has again reinforced that it is the finer things in life that I crave. Salt Grill was another great highlight of our holiday on board the Pacific Dawn.