18:00 – 00:00 Diner – Sunday to Thursday
18:00 – 01:00 Diner – Friday & Saturday
We are seeing more and more ‘outpost’ restaurants – where a big name chef attaches his name to a local property. It then becomes a Where’s Waldo campaign to figure out where the chef actually is, and how much involvement he actually has, with that particular monikered restaurant.
Having been to the Jose Andres outpost in Las Vegas, we were very unsure which version of the Chef would be present on South Beach, Miami; after all, Miami feels a bit closer to Vegas then Barcelona.
We are quite happy to report that our meal, drinks and service were at an all-time high. In short, the dinner was fantastic!
Kudos to Chef Vargas for the day-to-day work and keeping Bazaar at the top end of Miami dining. Each dish was coordinated perfectly – from the stylish presentation to the exquisite finish. We really had a lovely meal – topped off with an extra Caipirinha (Made with Liquid Nitrogen table-side of course!!
If you find yourself in Miami – Bazaar by Jose Andres is heartily recommended 🙂
Dragon fruit and tuna Ceviche with, pecans, lemon juice, and hibiscus foam
Note that Bazaar has an all-day menu and is a great place to also pop into for a quick lunch. Standouts include the Gazpacho Patricia (tomatoes, cucumbers, crouton, sherry vinegar), the Pan con tomato (perfect bread flown in daily from Spain) and the afternoon drink of choice .. Passion Fruit Up (Dark rum , passion fruit and ginger – laurel syrup , topped with passion fruit espuma)
Smoked Kusshi oysters, compressed apples, apple mignonette and apple foam
Smoked Kusshi oysters, compressed apples, apple mignonette and apple foam
Jasmine’s Margarita , pomegranate, fresh lime and Sal de Gusano with Mezcal
Not Your Everyday Caprese cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella over pesto with drops of balsamic reduction
11:00 – 15:00 Lunch
18:00 – 23:00 Diner
To many the name “Gaston Acurio” might not mean much, but to those who follow the culinary industry like sport, he is a destined hall-of-famer!
After classic training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Gaston returned to his native city of Lima and transformed Peruvian food into the world-wide power-hitter it is today. Gaston Combined his classic techniques,Peru’s unique pre-Columbianingredients & traditions and the strong local influence of Japanese cuisine (Nikkei) to create the Peruvian food now trendy the world over.
The 3-Star restaurant “Astrid y Gaston” is in Lima and we are planning a trip just to go! (It currently sits at number 18 on San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants). So we did consider ourselves lucky to have access to a sample of his food in downtown Miami at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. There one finds his delicious restaurant La Mar. We went for a late lunch and opted to sit in the terrace over the water and enjoy our meal in views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline.
The overall experience was a lovely melange of high-end dining and latin ease. Unfortunately we arrived over 30 minutes late to our reservation and on the edge of the kitchen’s last call (an epic über debacle!). We arrived flustered and nervous as this was our only chance! We were greeted, seated and eased out of our anxiety by the lovely hosts and our charming and very knowledgeable waiter. And thus began our culinary delights ….
First off it is good to know that portions, are LARGE! We ordered too much, ate way too much … but enjoyed it all and left feeling surprisingly light for all the calories consumed!
We started with a Ceviche sampler – going for the classics first. It was a lovely mix of flavours with The Clásico (Fluke, cilantro, ají limo pepper, red onions, choclo corn, classic leche de tigre) being the most refreshing. It’s ‘the classic’ for a reason.
The Causa – a traditional potato based dish from Peru with raw fish and spices (see photo below) – has an amazing combination of flavours and textures, but really it is all about the rocoto pepper sauce.
The following dish was the Grilled black grouper ‘Kama anticucho’ and its bizarre shape and presentation. This dish changed the way I think about fish; and I believe it is exactly what earned the Chef such a following. It is fish for meat-lovers. When the plate arrives, you are wondering what is in front of you, and as you have your first bit, all you are is happy!
The octopus was our least favourite of the day, it was a bit rubbery and makes you realize how temperamental a dish it is. The potato on which it was plated however was jaw-dropping and I wish I had a serving in front of me as I type 🙂
This was followed by the Tiradito Nikkei, a lightly seared tuna,over a marble of passion fruit leche de tigre and honey sesame reduction topped with scallions and sesame seeds. I think that description says enough, and the photo the rest. If you need more, well I suggest a trip to Miami!!
Even though we usually pass on dessert, we had to try the “Chocolate en texturas” . A dish incorporating a chocolate brownie, chocolate foam, chocolate ice cream (with 60% peruvian chocolate) and crystallized manjar drops with chocolate meringues. I’m glad we broke tradition.
Suffice to say, that if you find yourself in Miami a trip to La Mar should be high on your list. Not to be a salesperson, but, even the prices are quite decent. We could have had a fried lunch on Miami Beach for close to the same cost; but no where near the flavour or happiness!
Chifa: salmon, with , ginger, cilantro, pickled vegetables in sesame leche de tigre topped with peanuts and wonton strips
Criollo: calamari, shrimp, yellowtail, snapper, cancha corn in, ají amarillo pepper leche de tigre
Clásico: fluke, cilantro, ají limo pepper, red onions, choclo, classic leche de tigre
Causa Nikkei , tuna tartare, sweet with chili sauce, avocado, rocoto pepper cream and nori
Grilled black grouper Kama anticuchos, anticuchera sauce, chimichurri-garlic butter, lime
Tiradito Nikkei: tuna, scallions, passion fruit leche de tigre, honey sesame reduction
Hitting the three high points of design hotels – Style, Service and Comfort – the Morgan Hotel Group’s Mondrian South Beach is the perfect stay in this glam destination.
The style is obvious. It is just over the top enough – simultaneously besting the local glitz, but still retaining a touch of class. The photos speak for themselves.
The service was sincere, kind and attentive. From our first impression with the parking attendant to our check-out; each person we interacted with placed our needs at the forefront. Moving about the property was easy as the staff was there to guide and advise; as oppose to monitor which gives many other hotels a slightly oppressive feeling.
Comfort is our third pillar – and when one realizes it is really a combination of the first two; we are not surprised to find it at the Mondrian. Our room 405 was especially ample – a standard that had the dimensions of a suite. Opening the door, one just felt lucky – and that is never a bad way to start a holiday! The bed was a good sleep, the bathroom luxurious and the room one you could live in (well – us New Yorker’s with small apartments, anyways!)
There are a few other nice details: One being that the Mondrian is located off the beachfront so you are not suffocated by the hub-ub, but it is close at hand. We also were happy to discover that the Whole Food was located just around the corner; making beach picnics an easy go!
We are looking forward to our next stay and highly recommend the Mondrian if your travels take you to Miami’s South Beach.