After dark, guests wander back along the sand track and boardwalk to our verandah. It’s changed since afternoon tea. Instead of the casual sugar-laced swapping of stories, guests are greeted by fancy cutlery, candlelight and the smell of freshly baked bread. The music is playing and the kids have gone – somewhere – anywhere. Your remaining wine from last night is on the table, and the waiters are ready to talk you through the menu. They’re enthusiastic, they like food and they’ve just tasted most of the courses in their briefing.
It’s relatively easy to prepare a beautiful mushroom, broccoli, tomato or pumpkin soup from left overs in the cool room. It’s cheap and limits wastage. The only problem is that you need copious amounts of butter, cream and salt to make such bland vegetables taste good, and we’d rather die than tell you exactly how much fat is in each serve. Don’t get us wrong, we still love a rich seafood chowder or celeriac soup, but most of the time, we prefer to use sweet, sour, spicy and salty ingredients to create a big balanced flavour.
The soups we concentrate on nowadays are more Asian in style. Our roast duck and spring vegetable broth with prawn dumplings is a taste sensation, as is our Thai-spiced lentil soup with chilli and lemongrass. We also serve exquisitely pungent tom yum goong, spicy laksa and silky miso.
Some nights, we serve a plated entree instead of soup. In the past, and because we only had one option, the entrees used to be user-friendly, safe and just a bit boring. Since the start of our food adventure, though, things have changed. We now serve kingfish ceviche, scallops with green-tomato salsa, Spanner-crab tortellini or an old-fashioned ham hock terrine.