SOME LIKE IT HOT
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