Recently I was invited to come and sample Curtis Stone's first ever local restaurant aboard the amazing Sun Princess Cruise liner. We were treated to a four course feast and it was a gastronomical delight to say the least… What I like to call STYLish dining on the high seas!
The restaurant is aptly titled "SHARE" and it carries all of the warmth and Aussie flavour you've come to expect from Curtis Stone. I've followed his career from his time on television starting with Surfing the Menu and then My Restaurant Rules so I was very excited to have this opportunity to sample his food and his restaurant as his guest on this occasion.
So my partner and I headed on board and to our tables. The restaurant is cleverly integrated into the ship's floor plan but maintains its own private nooks, and carries its own distinct personality. The tables and settings are chic and stylish without being pretentious. Essentially the feel is quality, up market a'la carte dining but with a very down-to-earth, friendly and relaxed vibe. We felt instantly at home as we were greeted by the friendly staff and presented with our starters, a selection from their Charcuterie and Cheese items, featuring only the best quality meats, olives and antipasti.
As the name suggests, the SHARE menu and restaurant has been designed to encourage diners to connect with each other and share holiday memories. And share we did indeed, feeling like we were on holidays for that brief moment, and enjoying a delicious glass of Pinot Noir, served perfectly at room temperature. My immediate impression of food, wine and service was absolute QUALITY!
The meal continued with some delicious salads featuring a shrimp salad with lemon gel, turnip, citrus salt and brioche and a crab apple salad garnished with a chestnut cracker. Whilst the food was "snazzy" and impressive, the flavour combinations were fresh, delicious and non-challenging. It was nice to have food at this level that was dynamic without being challenging. We felt instantly engaged to share the food, the conversation and the good vibes as though we were literally sailing ourselves- totally relaxed and away from the daily grind!
Main meals comprised a fish dish, a white firm fish cooked to perfection with a crispy skin and accompanied by a smooth cauliflower puree and salsa verde; and of course, no Curtis Stone restaurant would be complete with an old fashioned warm and hearty slow braised oxtail pie served in a piping hot cast iron pie dish, perfect for digging in and sharing with family and friends!
By the time dessert arrived we were of course challenged to fit another morsel in but when the dessert is this good you don't pass up the chance to sample. Think modern skews on old fashioned favourites like lemon curd meringue tartlets and a Curtis Stone inspired banoffie pie! Yum in a single word…
Princess Cruises Vice President Australia, Stuart Allison, said it was a thrill that Sun Princess had become the venue for Curtis Stone's first restaurant at sea in Australia waters. The internationally known Chef opened his award winning restaurant Maude in 2014, located in Beverly Hills, and is expected to open his second restaurant in Hollywood, Los Angeles this summer.
"We couldn't be more excited about SHARE's debut down under on Sun Princess. Australians are very familiar with Curtis Stone but without a restaurant here they haven't been able to taste his dishes- until now! We know our guests are as excited as we are about the special menu Chef Curtis Stone has created for SHARE and are enjoying the opportunity to share some wonderful food with fiends and family in his new onboard restaurant", Mr Allison said.
For my dining partner and I we felt like celebrity VIP's at this launch of the celebrity chef's restaurant!! Our gift upon leaving was Curtis's brand new cook book "Good Food Good Life" - featuring some great recipes to bring a touch of Curtis and SHARE home. Whilst your Sydney Chic Style Editor is something of a good cook, perhaps our Editor in Chief Deb Carr might host us sometime soon to show off her culinary abilities which we're lucky enough to see on here often in her posts. Sound good to you Deb?
Until next time Sydney, stay STYLish and enjoy Sydney Life !
Editor's Note: Oh the pressure is on Glen.