Uwe Stiefel, P&O Cruises Corporate Executive Chef, is rather pleased with his international team.
On-board the Pacific Jewel’s recent Barrier Reef Discovery Cruise, Uwe and the team at P&O unveiled the new Pantry.
For cruisers, this meant an end to buffet dining. For the chefs on board, this meant an exciting prospect to experiment and bring to the table dishes created from around the world using locally sourced produce. For P&O it meant a gamble – would avid cruisers, young and old like it?
This brand new dining experience undoubtedly had its hurdles, however it seems to have won the hearts of most on its trial cruise.
An array of seven different cuisines are on offer:
Kettle and Bun: has freshly baked bread, sandwiches, salads and soups. You can mix and match for any combo of your liking.
Fat Cow: One of my favourites! Beautifully baked cuts of various vegetables and meats. Uwe’s team served on average 14 legs of pork each lunch sitting on the initial launch cruise. The roast chicken is a must to try roasted he says with a deep pervasive German accent ‘using our special recipe’.
Sugar Box: One for the sweet tooth. There’s cakes, pasteries, jelly and freshly made deserts daily.
Mexicana: Your choice of soft or hard shell tacos filled with your choice of either homemade salsas, pickles, chilli, guacamole, fresh lime and/or cheese – or maybe the lot.
Stix: Be transported into Asia with an array of Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Thai and Myanmar dishes. Fabulous to see so many traditional dishes on offer from noodles to warming dumplings and everything in between. We highly recommend the Laska.
Curry House: P&O have done their finest to present to you a collection of authentic curries with classic flavours. The Butter Chicken was an obvious winner on this cruise. You are able to savour numerous curries complimented with bread made on board, chutneys, raitas and pickles.
Hook’s Fish and Chips: I do like a good dish of fish and chips and this part of the Pantry presents your catch from the sea perfectly. It’s an on-board fish and chip shop with everything served fresh, hot and impeccably cooked. You have a choice of battered or grilled fish, the chips are handmade, lemon and herb calamari, scallops as rings or crumbed and all with fresh lemon and tartar sauce.
All of the above are included in your on board menus plus there is the ‘I luv Burgers’ bar. With a range of pizzas, burgers and hotdogs you have to add the cost of each item to your room tab.
The Pantry will be introduced onto P&O’s other flagship vessels the Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden between June and November 2015.
Other dining options on P&O’s Pacific Jewel include the Waterfront Restaurant, Salt grill, Luna, High Tea and the opportunity to dine at the Chef’s Table.
Don’t have a large meal before a High Tea or plan one after. Served in the Salt Grill and currently at $20.00 per person, it’s a cruise foodie’s bargain. Served with three tiers of savoury and luscious deserts, your choice of tea and a glass of bubbles.
The Chef’s Table dinner includes a tour into the depths of a workings ship’s kitchen. Here meals are prepared for up to 2000 passengers and crew. Yells are shouted but an orderly routine prevails. This kitchen is a smooth running machine.
It’s a big change and what was the verdict?
From repeat cruisers it was a 95% we love it. Comments like the variety offered, less time to wait to ‘I know no-one has sneezed on my food’ were all repeat comments I heard. Some wanted more variety and while I was not on the full cruise, Uwe did say the menu rotates during the cruise.
P&O have taken a huge step introducing The Pantry. Not only has the food changed but also the layout – it’s more like a home away from home except there’s someone else doing the cooking and washing and you dine enjoying some of the best oceanic views. Now is that what a holiday should be about?