SOME LIKE IT HOT

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

A LOVELY sur­prise aboard Ar­ca­dia for those of us who like fire in our bel­lies is the Or­chid Restau­rant, which of­fers a pan-Asian din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, com­plete with op­tional chop­sticks, zesty dip­ping sauces and ori­en­tal table­ware. The menu dips into Ja­pan, China, Thai­land and In­dia and there’s a de­gree of fu­sion be­tween those des­ti­na­tions. Szechuan-fried aubergines, for ex­am­ple, ap­pear in a lamb dish with Thai green curry sauce; one mul­ti­in­gre­di­ent con­coc­tion in­cludes clas­sic Ja­panese teriyaki sauce and Thai red curry paste.

Un­like the prac­tice of most Asian restau­rants ashore, cour­ses are de­signed as in­di­vid­ual serv­ings rather than share plates but the (mostly) Filip­ina wait­resses (es­pe­cially the ever-smil­ing Su­san) are un­fazed if you wish to sam­ple across the ta­ble. The menu changes sev­eral times dur­ing the av­er­age cruise but pop­u­lar stand­outs in­clude an en­tree of large green-lip mus­sels with lime leaf and chilli broth and a main of steamed lob­ster tail and but­ter­baked crab served with se­same-fried bok choy, white bas­mati rice and soy and gin­ger dress­ing. Scrump­tious desserts in­clude chilled co­conut milk tapi­oca soup gar­nished with berries and can­died fruits or co­conut and le­mon­grass ice cream.

Or­chid is a serene space in or­ganic colours, its decor high­lighted with dainty flow­ers and Asian art­work. Eight decks be­low, in the main two-level Merid­ian Restau­rant, the daily menus are more tra­di­tional. There are al­ways two soups and mains of

Serene space: The Or­chid Restau­rant aboard Ar­ca­dia the ilk of oat-crusted Scot­tish sal­mon, roast sad­dle of lamb, carved breast of Gress­ing­ham duck or slow pot-roasted veni­son haunch. Pud­dings are of­ten of the An­glo-stodge va­ri­ety but there’s al­ways a se­lec­tion of light sor­bets, good cheese and fruit. As a sam­ple bot­tle of Aus­tralian wine, a Wood­shed shi­raz viog­nier is £14.95 ($32.90); many wines are avail­able by the glass. Merid­ian is quite for­mal, and some evenings suits and dress-up frocks are re­quired; the more ca­sual passenger can still get a good feed at Ar­ca­dia’s Belvedere buf­fet, which does themed din­ners, from Mex­i­can to Best of Bri­tish. Su­san Kuro­sawa

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