Acclaimed Danish chef and restaurateur, Mads Refslund, has launched a new 12-month pop-up restaurant at Soneva Fushi, the award-winning luxury eco-resort in the Baa Atoll of the Maldives. Located at Fresh in the Garden, a treetop dining destination that overlooks the private island resort’s extensive organic gardens, the pop-up is based on Chef Refslund’s signature concept of “Fire” and “Ice.”
One of the original founders of Copenhagen’s vaunted Noma, named the world’s best restaurant five times over, Chef Refslund is an advocate for the 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 flavors, 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 focus on vegetables and seafood indigenous to the region. “Ice” dishes include a tartare of sustainably caught Maldivian tuna with salted plum and hibiscus, and 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, choices include: sour banana parfait with pine nut miso praline, pandan, and dragon fruit with kiwi and yogurt.
“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 of visiting chefs and other experts from around the world.”
Soneva is a pioneering family of hospitality properties, offering holistic encounters in luxurious and inspiring environments – from world class resorts to outstanding natural locations. Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva in Aqua in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand rebuke the traditional concept of luxury and instead promise the luxury of time, purity and solitude. Every day, guests are encouraged to discover sandy feet, inspired minds and full hearts. Combining luxury with a conscientious approach to sustainability and the environment, and proactively changing the nature of hospitality, it delivers intuitive service and meaningful experiences to the guests.