[Maldives] LUX* South Ari Atoll (I): Food, Glorious Food!

January 13, 2018 1 Comments A+ a-

The Maldives has never been known to be a foodie's paradise. When we think of great food, the likes of Hong Kong and Japan as well as other destinations with a surfeit of Michelin star dining options come to mind. So when we visited the Maldives during the holidays, we did not come with great expectations, as we did not want to be disappointed.

Our first impressions of the Maldives usually comes from magazines, websites and blogs, leading most of us to usually associate the Maldives with pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, lush greenery and a laid back atmosphere. But seldom do we hear of anyone raving about the food.  

12 Days in Paradise
As we were staying in Maldives for 12 days, we were worried that we might be having the same food over and over ad nauseum.

Thankfully at LUX* South Ari Atoll, there is a cafe (Cafe LUX*), an ice cream bar (ICI), 6 restaurants (Beach Rouge, MIXE, East Market, Senses, Allegeria and Unami) and 4 bars (Veli Bar, Lagoon Bar, East Bar and Senses Bar), so LUX* South Ari Atoll was our natural choice for our well-deserved year-end holiday.

Indeed, we could say that LUX* was perfect in every way - in terms of food, service and accommodation - and it certainly did not feel like we were having the same food everyday.

Since this is a food blog, it would be fitting to start off our series of posts on the Maldives with a review of the food we had before we move on to the other aspects of our 12-day experience in the Maldives.

Whilst all the restaurants were uniquely wonderful in their own ways, we will keep this post for our review of the food at four of the dining outlets: the LUX* Seaplane Lounge, Cafe LUX*, ICI Ice Cream Parlour and Beach Rouge, lest it becomes really photo-heavy.

Meal Plans
For a quick introduction of the meal plans on the island, three meal packages are available: (1) Breakfast only, (2) Half Board (HB) with breakfast and dinner, and (3) All Inclusive Package (AIP) with breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, drinks, some water sports and yoga. Details are available here.

We really recommend the AIP if you like to have a little wine by the beach bars throughout the day and do not wish to worry about the costs of topping up for certain activities. Definitely more worth it too.

1) LUX* Seaplane Lounge
LUX* South Ari Atoll is a five star resort which is 30 minutes by seaplane from Male Airport. Upon arrival at Male Airport, the staff from LUX* invited us to wait at the private Seaplane Lounge so that we could have a rest and some refreshments while we waited for the seaplane to take us to the private island resort that we had booked our vacation.

The LUX* lounge is located facing the dock where all the seaplanes take off and land, so it is here that we also caught the first glimpse of this fabled, mystical turquoise waters that we never get to see in Singapore.

At this private lounge, we watched the seaplanes taking off and landing while we were treated to an assortment of sandwiches, cookies, macarons and artisan coffees. One of the highlights included the dessicated coconut and fig bar which we found rather novel as we have not eaten something like this in Singapore or in other parts of the world. There were also chocolate pralines, fresh fruits, muesli, yoghurt and Rauch juices ranging from blackcurrant to orange flavours.

With such nice yummy treats, time seemed to pass by very quickly and before we knew it, we were already on board the seaplane and on the way to paradise.

It was certainly a nice preview of what is to come and it somehow reminded me of one of those luxurious high tea buffets in Goodwood Park Hotel, Regent Hotel or St Regis Singapore. Maybe a little less in terms of variety or local Singaporean flavour but still all the more compelling after our 5-hour flight from Singapore and juxtaposed with the nice view of the seaplanes and the majestic Indian Ocean.

2) Cafe LUX*
If you are a coffee lover, Cafe LUX* which offers gourmet barista-styled coffee would be like paradise in paradise for you.

Made from ethically sourced, locally roasted Island Blend of Arabica beans, the signature coffees include Frappe LUX*, Three Men in a Boat (coffee with hazelnut syrup, chocolate and vanilla ice cream) and Coconut Divine.

Imagine sipping freshly-brewed coffee while watching the herons fly or seaplanes land. Simply a wonderful moment to savour.

If classes in Latte Art and Coffee Roasting are something you have always wanted to do, try your hand at it here - free of charge! I have always lamented that they cost more S$100 a class in Singapore, so this was something I immediately jumped at - albeit just for a quick 1-hour session.
3) ICI Ice Cream Parlour
What's a beach holiday without ice cream? Here at LUX*, ice cream is made in-house. Yes, LUX* has its own brand of ice cream! How cool is that?

And trust me, their ice creams are wonderful. Very refined and you can taste how fresh it is (and certainly without the strange after-taste you get from some ice cream brands).

With flavours ranging from the more exotic Sicilian Pistachio Variegato and Bubblegum to sorbets such as Passionfruit and Mango, and the timeless Chocolate, Strawberry and Madagascan Vanilla, there is something for everyone. If something really Instagram-worthy, try the heart-shaped popsicle!

The ICI parlour, located near the Beach Rouge and Childcare Area, offers a cool respite from the heat especially during the afternoon. As we were having our ice cream, we saw the staff baking waffle cones too. Indeed, everything is made fresh in-house!

If you pass by the Wishing Tree in the late morning or late afternoon, look out for the ICI mobile cart. There was once we passed by the cart while on the buggy and the driver offered to stop his vehicle for us to take our ice cream. Double win for this mobile cart idea and the driver's spontaneity. We returned to our villa with a bright smirk on our faces and a little ice cream on our lips, no less! :)

4) Beach Rouge
Loud, unabrashed and unassuming, the reddish tones and loud music make the island come alive at night. If Zouk is a giant and the cornerstone of Singapore's night life, then Beach Rouge must be standing on the shoulder of giants.

Never a dull moment, the theme of this restaurant can be summed up in two words: Celebrate Life.

Listen to DJ Yara spin music throughout the night, while you enjoy salads and bite-sized tapas ranging from bruschetta and truffle fries to josper grilled meats.

If the Lady in Red Party takes place during your stay, come in your favourite red dress and dance to the tunes with your special one for a night to remember!

Next: Review of Buffet and Fine Dining Restaurants
Apart from the dining outlets above, there are two Buffet restaurants at MIXE and East Market, and three Fine Dining establishments at Senses, Allegeria and Unami. 

Stay tuned for our review of them in our Maldives series here! Meanwhile, here are some photos to whet your appetite. :)

Buffet at MIXE:

Buffet at East Market:
Fine Dining at Senses:

Fine Dining at Allegeria:

Fine Dining at Unami:

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25 August 2018 at 01:39 delete

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