This post is also available in: Spanish
I recently reached a milestone – my 30th birthday! And so to celebrate – my love and boss – Philip Silvestri (CEO and founder of Silgon Inc.) whisked me away to Punta Cana / Bavaro for a romantic weekend – I had hope we’d get toDisneyWorld – but sadly making our new magazine; INMORTALES got in the way of that plan! But we nevertheless had a wonderful time – with the highlight being a magnificent 10-course 7 star michelin menu dinner at Passion by Martin Berasategui at the Paradisus Palma Real resort in the Bavaro area.
Whilst not invited to do an official “review” and with the focus of our visit being very much MY celebration – we nevetheless took many photos (force of habit) and indeed enjoyed the meal so much that here we share with you our experience.
In the celebrating mood we both chose to splash out on the “Tasting Menu” – 10 courses for US$90 per person and coupled that with the “wine pairing” (US$30 per person) – and boy were we in for a treat! The menu, prepared by 7 Star Michelin Chef, Martin Berasategui offered an outstanding selection of Dominican/Caribbean ingredients, prepared to perfection by resident chef Salvador Sedra Garcia. [Quick note: in addition to the “Tasting Menu” there is also an “A la Carte” option which we certainly intend to try in the future – prices range from US$12 to US$25 for a starter and US$25 to US$35 for the entrée.]
The first thing you notice about Passion is the chic, modern decor and the relaxed, elegant atmosphere. The next thing you notice is the service – which is flawless. From the hostess, to the waiters, to the sommelier – the service was outstanding. The third thing you notice is the food, so let’s talk about that in a little more detail…..
Not technically part of the menu, the first thing to arrive to our table were what looked like pieces of fish skin, and that was in fact exactly what they were. At this point my un-adventurous and timid British personality took one look at them and refused to try them – until Philip looked like he was enjoying them a little too much! And so I relented and they were delicious. So very light and crispy and not at all “fishy” or greasy. In fact I liked them so much I was tempted to ask for some to take-away, but Philip convinved me that that would not be socially acceptable – he can be such a spoilsport sometimes!
Cocktail fruit cubes
Also not part of the 10-course menu, the cocktail fruit cubes were small cubes of fruits; melon, pineapple and watermelon, each one delicately treated to taste like a well-known cocktail. I fun and interesting way to start the meal – as we tried to remember and guess which was which.
[At this point we were already enjoying our first glass of wine, actually sparkling wine; Cava Jaume Serra – with another 4 glasses to look forward to!]
Salad of passionfruit jelly with bacalao (cod) vegetables, orange, tapenade, nuts and seeds
A voluptuous taste sensation. The jelly, bacalao, nuts and other bits and pieces did a bit of a delicate dance of tart, tasty, savory and freshness. The whole thing was small on the plate but large on the flavor.
Glazed tubers with soft cauliflower cream, lobster, peanuts and coriander
Awesome! A little bit of lobster which played second fiddle to the tuber slices on the bed of heavenly cauliflower. A silky smoky pairing that had little highlights of cilantro which would take over for a second only to subside back into the robustness of principle players on the dish. Our favorite of the night!
Egg cooked at low temperature with crotons and iberic ham
This dish (that took 40 minutes to prepare – cooking the egg at 74.5 degrees), was essentially a poached egg in a potato foam. The whole concoction was a delicate, foamy- jelly consistency with a flavor that really brought forward images and flavors of a simple farm yard breakfast, while maintaining a level of sophistication that was simply superb.
Traditional Dominican Sancocho
This interesting take on a Dominican tradition was able to respect the flavor elements of the sancocho, while being a bit playful in its presentation and delivery of the rice and meat – by way of a ravioli. While not our favorite plate of the night, (lets be honest we did not come here for sancocho) it was an appreciated nod to the country in which Chef Salvador Sedra Garcia is performing his magic.
Red Snapper with textured vegetables
The red snapper was paired with crispy onion chip a tapenade and a lightly fried tomato. The tastes of the sea were unforgivingly set on a backdrop of vegetables which complimented rather than tempered the assertive flavor of the fish.
Warm foie-gras with duck ragout
Fois gras searved with a duck ragout, a apple sauce and a Modena vinegar reduction. Another wonderfully delightful dish, or rather – holy moly!!! Wow!!! this was REALLY good!!! The delicate flavor of a duck ragout, with a powerful flavor of the Fois gras, but the added acidity of apple sauce balanced out each bite in a way that only added to the layers of complexity, enhancing all the flavors and creating an unabashed, unforgivingly delicious chorus of textures and tastes.
Tender stewed veal with “Provençal” style potatoes
This smokey tender and succulent dish was delivered with a potato mash and potatoes Provençal. It was just what you would expect from a delicious combination of such sorts.
Red fruit fusion with cheese ice cream
This is what I call cold fusion! A frozen strawberry ice topped with mascarpone and a crispy parmesan chip. This deceptively simple dish was refreshing and richly deserving of being called fabulous.
Caramelised torrij (bread soaked in milk) with almond, coffee and milk ice cream
By this point you would think we’d had enough food (and certainly enough wine) – but this dish was so flavorful (yet incredibly simple) I am ashamed yet also proud to say – we still ate every bite! Yes it was that good!
We loved it. Trying the different foods – especially when paired with the wines – was awesome. We especially appreciated the heavy use of locally sourced ingredients, something the chef was also quite proud of. A very special experience, which was made even more memorable by the impeccable service of all the staff – including Chef Salvador Sedra Garcia, who came out to chat with us at the end of the meal (even though it was about 12:30am!) Very highly recommended!
Passion by Martin Berasategui
Where: Paradisus Palma Real resort in Bavaro
Opening hours: reservations taken between 7pm – 9:30pm
Tel: (809) 688-5000
Email: [email protected]
NOTE: Reservations required
Please click on the following images to view the “tasting menu” and the Al la Carte menu.