White Modern Cuisine
Palm Beach Mall, Aruba
For anyone that truly wants a fine dining experience at a fair price, White Cuisine in the Palm Beach Mall on the 2nd Level is the place to go. You won’t go broke, and you won’t be disappointed. However, this is not for the casual diner just looking for fancy food. This experience is very interactive, even starting with the cocktails.
The “White” Margarita came to the table on a plate and with a spoon. The waitress explained how to gently stir the lime gel (or jello) upward into the white tequila and lime foam until it becomes “one”. Otherwise, you would be drinking nearly straight tequila. Quite a bit of work, but once you take a sip you will see its not the typical margarita.
Another guest went for the simpler Appletini. Not just your sour apple snapps with vodka, this had artisan vodka with apple liquor, I didn’t taste it, but from what you can see it was served in a somewhat fluted glass, not your typical martini glass.
Frankly, I don’t like my cocktails interactive, so I ordered something that caught my eye which you see on the right of the Appletini. It had homemade vodka infused with cucumbers, lychee, Campari, something else, I cannot recall, but from the first smell and taste it reminds me of something very Asian. I am not sure if that is a spring roll or what. Maybe its the lychee or the cucumber, but its very interesting. There is a lot going on, it took me the whole drink to try and figure it out. There was the Campari, then the cucumber, the lychee, maybe that was the paradox, too much going on and you are left wondering what it is, so you order another?
There are many original and interesting cocktails to choose from. If I had a 2nd liver and was 25 again with an unlimited budget, I could and would try all of them. A lot are made with vodka, no shame in that, sometimes you want the punch but not something with a distinct taste to throw the drink off. I noticed some others I really wish I had tried like the “Martini Pomme Brulee – A succulent mixture of caramelized apples, Havana club Anejo Rum , Martini Rosso and Lime juice”. Wow, I forgot Cuban rum is not illegal on this island. All of the cocktails I ordered should have been with Cuban rum!
Well, enough about cocktails and drinking, let’s get on with the food starting with appetizers. The pumpkin ravioli sounded interesting. I recently had some and it basically tasted like the custard in pumpkin pie only wrapped in a pasta. Not the worst think in the world, but I have a problem mixing savory and sweets as trendy as it might be. So, I decided on scallops which were a play on your common bacon wrapped scallops. These, however, were seared sea scallops served on a bed of bacon and kale with a potato crisp on top, with roasted leeks on the side. As you can see the presentation is beautiful. The scallops were a bit small. I could have sworn I saw another guest diner get 3 scallops on a different dish. They were good, but the bacon did not have that salty smokey punch like fresh cooked bacon, it tasted more like bacon bits. I love the concept, and liked the appetizer, but it did not win me over.
Between courses they brought us a palate cleanser. There was some mint, green tea, a floating edible flower, and small molecular beads the size of a pea that had the texture of mozzarella but was actually yogurt. They are definitely experimenting and using “Molecular Gastronomy”, which is basically extracting foods in a scientific method and changing its form while keeping its properties like the flavor profile. It was interesting to say the least, and obviously part of the presentation. Again, this is not for amateur diners. This is for people with an open mind and who understand this modern way of preparing and presenting cuisine.
Now on to the main course, this was a broiled marinated Cobia filet served with Pak-Choy, Stir-Fried Speatzle and Kimchi, Shaved Mushrooms, Soy Marshmallows and a Home-made Yakatori Sauce. I have to say, that this was my first experience with speatzle. I knew what it was, but it was so delicious, especially mixed in with kimchi. The most interesting thing were the soy marshmellows. Basically something freeze-dried and dispensed like your old fashioned candy-dots on paper. Again, being interactive, nearly everything was separated, but you can take each bite as a single or all together. Its a great dish.
My friend Judy got what I might have ordered instead, the Mushroom Risotto. I loved the little mini mushroom island on the side of the plate with micro greens as trees. Very creative, probably the best plated dish I’ve ever seen. I love the whole island theme and the risotto like another island in a sea of the mushroom broth. The iPhone photo gives it no justice, even with color correction.
I had a clear view of the open space kitchen and saw them plating each dish meticulously, they give Michelin Stars for this sort of thing, and while I don’t know if this restaurant would get one, I can say that its as close to it as any restaurant I’ve been in as far as plating goes.
Even the bathroom had a fancy sink!
When the bill came, there was not much sticker shock, with tip I think we divided everything equally, we all had one cocktail, one appetizer and one entree. We were too full for dessert and it was less than $100 per person. I want to say it was about $75 per person, but between conversion of the Aruban Florin, the American Dollar, tip, etc, it got confusing. However, this was a much cheaper venture than if you had experienced it in New York.