The culinary creatives at pacesetting Maldives island home Amilla Fushi have served up another fresh new flavour for guests with the opening of the new Barolo Grill Italian Kitchen restaurant, located at the island’s beachside foodie hub Baazaar. Conceived by Curator and CEO of The Small Maldives Island Co., Mark Hehir, Barolo Grill Italian Kitchen pays homage to rolling hills of Piedmont in Northern Italy, a region of rich and distinctive culinary heritage perhaps best known for its famous Barolo wine. Drawing on his extensive experience as a chef, Hehir and his team have created an inspired menu replete with exquisite antipasti, fresh handmade pasta, and select meats, fish and seafood. Simply cooked over an open flame chargrill it is delicious proof that this manna from the mountains of northern Italy works just as beautifully at sea level in the UNESCO Marine Biosphere of Baa Atoll.
A hymn to the hills of Piedmont, the menu at Barolo Grill is a respectful balance of familiar ‘friends’ from the old country and fresh Maldivian twists. Antipasti include Burrata with heirloom tomato and warm aubergine with baby buffalo mozzarella and basil pesto, alongside yellowfin tuna tartare with avocado and black olive tapenade and reef fish carpaccio with taggiasca olives and lemon dressing. The signature charcuterie platter is an utterly authentic affair pairing a delectable selection of small goods with 24 year-aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
Fresh handmade pasta, risotto and gnocchi are complimented by ‘Land’ or ‘Ocean’ dishes from the grill, complete with recommended paired wines for selected dishes. Tagliolini pasta with pecorino cheese sauce and crushed black pepper is paired with a 2013 Itynera Prima Classe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo; Mullwara ribeye beef with a 2013 Meroi Ros di Buri Merlot Friuli; and yellow fin tuna with a 2010 Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala. Barolo’s house fish specialties meanwhile include the signature Fisherman’s Crustacean Stew, slow cooked with blood orange peel, hints of roasted garlic, chilli, thyme and basil, and served with crusty aglio e olio sourdough croutons hot from the pan. Wash it down with a crisp Antinori Santa Cristina, before surrendering to the temptation of the house Dolci – will it be authentic gelato or tiramisu, the more tropical tastes of mango and passionfruit pannacotta… or a cheesecake cheekily pairing another of Piedmont’s world-famous exports, Nutella, with a sweetly sour cherry sorbet?
Barolo Grill’s tasting kitchen also gives diners an opportunity to sample special gastronomic menus showcasing some of the region’s most famous wines, together with signature sourdough, marinated olives and delectable artisanal cheeses and charcuterie.
The opening of Barolo Grill Italian Kitchen is the latest hot helping of culinary creativity from the team at Amilla Fushi, following hard on the heels of the launch of the island’s new fairytale, festival-inspired Destination Dining den Mystique Garden, and the first edition of a four-stage pop-up partnership with Gordon Ramsay’s celebrated Bread Street Kitchen (subsequent Bread Street Kitchen pop-ups will take up residence in Barolo Grill Italian Kitchen from 16 – 27 October; 19 December 2017 to 10 January 2018 and 23 March to 7 April 2018).
The new openings and pipeline of pop-up residencies from the hottest restaurant names underscore Amilla’s deserved reputation for culinary excellence and creativity, and add to the island’s pantheon of food and drink experiences. As well as Barolo Grill, the island’s breezy culinary heartbeat, Baazaar, features Joe’s Pizza, the traditional British chippy-inspired Fish & Chips, Fresh and Wok. Emperor General Store is a sophisticated, gourmet café-deli where guests can eat in, or grab takeaway snacks, drinks and light meals to enjoy in the privacy of their Island Home. The Wine Cellar serves up carefully curated fine wines and artisanal cheeses, while Amilla’s fabulous 60-cover, signature over-water restaurant Feeling Koi showcases a selection of artfully crafted sushi, nigiri and sashimi in Japanese-inspired minimalist surroundings, with a private open-air dining room and open deck seating by the water’s edge and an open kitchen.