Cruise cuisine: five dishes you’ll never forget

Food on cruise ships has improved exponentially in recent years. Here, five creations from Carnival chefs that might just blow your mind.

Gone are the days when eating on a cruise was synonymous with retro classics such as chicken à la king. Look closely at the dishes created in the kitchens of a Carnival Cruise Line’s Australia-based ships and you’ll understand just how impressive dining at sea has become.
Your preconceived notions of cruise food will disappear at Nouveau* Restaurant, where the menu darts from land to sea with options such as beef carpaccio and broiled lobster tail. The degustation designed for the Chef’s Table* private dining experience is also five-star, with dishes such as tuna bánh mì and slow-stewed short ribs with potato pebbles, pumpkin fudge and tomato dust.
Here are five more outstanding dishes from Carnival menus.

Duck Textures @ The Chef’s Table

This is no ordinary dish. It starts with a lick of green pea fondue and puddle of quinoa that has been finished with parmesan cheese, cream and parsley. A confit duck leg – cooked in the oven for six hours at 50 degrees Celsius – and duck breast is then layered on top with a parsley-coated circle of carrot and a mushroom-coated carrot. A cube of fried pumpkin fudge, shard of parmesan churros, ringlet of crispy plantain, dusting of olive snow and garnish of beetroot leaves and micro greens completes the picture.

Surf ’n’ Turf @ Nouveau
This surf ’n’ turf of lobster tail and grilled filet mignon is a passenger favourite for a reason. The chef kicks his cooking into high gear with this artful arrangement of seafood and meat served with a tomato confit, red capsicum coulis, sautéed medley of mushrooms and garnish of grapefruit and lime segments. A scattering of chervil and micro greens finishes the dish.


Wagyu @ The Chef’s Table
Those big beef flavours are ramped up by braising the short ribs for almost two hours until they are sweet and sticky, then serving them with a fluffy bone marrow soufflé. The succulent meat pairs well with a slick of mashed potato, a side of spring onion and garlic panisse – which has a custard-like interior – and a gremolata crisp. The garnish makes the dish great: beetroot leaf, green peas, micro greens and charred cherry tomato.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom @ Nouveau
Let’s start with the hero of the dish: the portobello mushroom, which is marinated in vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, spring onion, rosemary and bay leaves. The mushroom is grilled until golden and placed on top of a tomato and mozzarella carpaccio. Dots of balsamic herb oil, a balsamic and cheese caviar, parmesan shavings, red capsicum crisps and micro greens add colour and contrast.

Chocolate Sampler @ Nouveau
This dish is a testament to the level of skill, detail and imagination of the onboard chefs. The sampler involves four glasses: one filled with banana mousse, one flourless chocolate cake with ice cream, one layered with tiramisu and one with chocolate pâte sablée and chocolate marquise. While this is already as blissful a liaison as you can imagine, each treat is then given texture and a touch of theatre with the addition of chocolate sticks, shards of sugar, cocoa paint and mango caviar.


*Charges Apply