Tried & Tested

Restaurant Check: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant

30 Apr 2009 by intern11

Restaurant Check: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant (Conrad Maldives)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
A spiral stairway leads to a glass capsule set five metres below the shimmering turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Welcome to Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, a unique dining concept by Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

Once inside, our senses went into overdrive. A school of yellow-striped snappers darted across on our right; at the far end, a giant grouper emerged from a coral tree; while overhead, a giant titan triggerfish hovered calmly among scores of dancing fusiliers and parrot fishes, surveying the intimate fine dining setting below it.

A waiter, sporting a smart pair of shades, beamed brightly as he led us to our table. “Ithaa” means “pearl” in Dihevi, The Maldives’ unique language, and definitely, we had come across a real gem.

THE FOOD:
Our starters, the tomato and buffalo mozzarella tossed with toasted pine nuts, fried basil and balsamic syrup, was a treat, while the creamy mushroom soup served cappuccino-style with shaved bread crackers and olive pesto was as light as sea foam.

The succulent fire-grilled beef tenderloin with pan-fried potatoes, herb-roasted tomato and baked Portobello black mushroom was delicious enough to send waves of gastronomic delight, and the seared fillet of reef fish, garnished with lemon scented spinach and bittersweet orange essence, did not disappoint. To finish off, we enjoyed a dessert platter of sliced tropical fruit and mango sorbet.

DRINKS:
Nothing could be more more divine than pairing a Pol Roger champagne from Eperney, France with fine food and an ever-changing panorama outside. Ladies will find the rose-flavoured mineral drink quite refreshing.

SERVICE:
The Maldivian staff was genuinely hospitable, distinctly welcoming and had the knack for putting guests at ease.

PRICES:
Lunch starts from US$120 per person; dinner from US$220. All prices are subject to a 10 percent service charge.

VERDICT:
A great underwater experience without getting wet. A must when stranded in paradise.

CONTACT:
Rangali Island, 2034, Maldives, tel 960 668 0629, www.conradhotels.com. Open daily from 11am to 12am. Reservations must be made 14 days prior to arrival and children aged under 12 will not be accepted.

Terence Quek



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