Acclaimed Danish chef and restaurateur, Mads Refslund, has launched a new pop-up restaurant at Soneva Fushi, the award-winning luxury resort in the Maldives.
Located at Fresh in the Garden, a treetop dining destination that overlooks the resort’s extensive organic island gardens, the pop-up is based on Chef Refslund’s signature concept of Fire and Ice.
The 12-month pop-up will offer guests at Soneva Fushi a rare opportunity to dine with one of Denmark’s most exciting culinary talents. One of the original founders of Copenhagen’s vaunted Noma, named the ‘world’s best restaurant’ five times, Chef Refslund is an advocate for New Nordic cuisine and a terroir-based kitchen. His cooking has also pioneered the principle of ‘bonding rawness’, whereby raw ingredients are combined together based on their intrinsic values and flavours, with the aim of seeking the highest expression nature can provide.
“I always find inspiration in nature so to have the opportunity to cook among the treetops of Soneva Fushi is very inspiring,” says Chef Refslund. “The key focus of the pop-up concept at Fresh in the Garden is ‘Fire’ and ‘Ice’, showcasing our natural instinct for how to work with nature’s bounty. The menu is evenly split: in ‘Ice’ items are untouched by heat, allowing them to reveal their pure beauty that nature has provided; in the contrasting ‘Fire’, cooking over live flame is used to enhance the ingredients. Together, the two sides create harmony and balance.”
Chef Refslund’s menu at Fresh in the Garden celebrates nature’s purity, with a clearly defined focus on vegetables and seafood indigenous to the region. ‘Ice’ dishes include a sustainably-caught Maldivian tuna tartare with salted plum and hibiscus, or watermelon crudo, dragon fruit and red basil. In ‘Fire’, prawns are cooked in lemongrass with velvet tamarind, while garden egg is served with aromatic herbs and black truffle. For sharing, guests can try a whole fish, roasted in coconut husks, or the plant-based braised hearts of palm with white truffle and sunchokes. And for dessert, the choice includes sour banana parfait with pine nut miso praline and pandan, or dragon fruit with kiwi and yoghurt.
“We are delighted to welcome Chef Refslund to Soneva Fushi,” says Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and Co-founder of Soneva. “Soneva has a long history of collaborating with world-renowned chefs to offer an exceptional gastronomic experience to our guests, whether through pop-ups such as this or our ongoing Soneva Stars calendar.”