Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi has unveiled Shimizu, the much-anticipated modern Japanese restaurant and the latest of the resort’s 11 specialty dining venues. Head Chef Andrei Palm, formerly of Nobu in South Africa, has brought his artistry and creativity to this one-of-a-kind Japanese restaurant. On an island where culinary innovation meets excellence, Shimizu is the latest in what was already the widest variety of culinary experiences offered in the Maldives.
“In line with the brand’s legacy of culinary excellence, Waldorf Astoria Maldives has been designed to appeal to luxury leisure seekers with a refined palate and an appreciation for international cuisine,” said Etienne Dalancon, general manager, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. “Shimizu is an extraordinary dining venue, offering guests authentic modern Japanese dining with the stunning backdrop of the Indian Ocean for a truly unforgettable experience.”
The striking structure, built of bamboo, was designed to mimic an ocean wave, connecting guests with the sea life that surrounds it. Shimizu, which means clear water in Japanese, is a nod to the gentle crystal waves below. Upon entering Shimizu’s long wooden pathway, reminiscent of the entryway of a traditional Japanese sanctuary, guests are momentarily transported to Japan. The impossibly high ceiling set against a marvelous backdrop of the deep blue delivers guests back to the Maldives, and to the heart of the restaurant, where the sushi bar and Teppanyaki grill sit.
Guests are served a refreshing welcome drink of matcha tea with mint and rosemary honey, traditional Japanese notes balanced with global flavors, setting the stage for the journey they will begin to embark on at Shimizu. The menu was created with global influences, designed by Chef Andrei and his team of chefs with a combined 55 years of experience in high-end Japanese restaurants. Hailing from South Africa, Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines, each chef has incorporated flavors from their native countries into the artistry of dishes served, creating a true fusion.
When developing the menu, Chef Andrei, the humble force behind Shimizu, grounded the selections in a celebration of flavors, with every dish taking you through a journey of bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami. While the umami flavor is expected in a Japanese restaurant, it is quite a rarity for all five distinct flavors to be present in Japanese dishes and one of the elements that makes the food at Shimizu so unique.
When dining at the sushi bar, the flavors dazzle guests, but the visuals are works of art. Before taking on the culinary arts the sushi chef studied fine arts, and his sushi creations are bouquets of bright colors so beautiful, they are a masterpiece against the deep blue. One of the most remarkable rolls, the signature Aburi Salmon, is prepared with a torch and finished with avocado and Kristal Caviar.
The interactive high-end teppanyaki station includes a live show with the talented chef who adds warmth and humor to his cooking display, with an artistry of plating that is rare to see in teppanyaki. Guests can settle in for a multi-course adventure where the ingredients shine, such as the Alaskan King Crab Legs or the true star, the Japanese Miyazaki A4 Wagyu beef, one of the rarest selections of Wagyu found in the world, and in the Maldives, only available at Shimizu. To enhance the flavor profile and the aroma of the fried rice, the chef swaps out the traditional butter for Miyazaki A4 Wagyu beef fat. Garlic simmers in the emulsion until crispy, and it dances together with the rice for a rich, decadent flavor that is uniquely bold and memorable. The Miyazaki Wagyu beef can also be found in another signature dish on the menu, prepared on a traditional Japanese grill, or robatayaki, and served with shimeji mushrooms, pumpkin puree and a signature sukiyaki sauce with flavors of sake, honey and soy.
The First Maldivian Sake Sommelier
Shimizu’s sake sommelier Abdhulla Saeed, notably the first sake sommelier in the Maldives, helps guests navigate the extensive premium sake selection, as well as the collection of Japanese whiskeys on hand. Arguably the most collectable and rarest whisky in the world, That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Batch #1 Karuizawa, aged 19 years, will delight guests with the most discerning tastes. Offering a flight of sake, the sommelier will take guests on a journey through Japanese flavors, a matchmaker of sorts, helping guests fall in love with the beverage. The cocktail list focuses on refreshing drinks for guests who have spent a long day under the Maldivian sun. The Golden Saketini features saffron infused sake illuminated with the hue of the gleaming sun.
A Culinary Journey
As guests dine in Shimizu, they will notice the chefs working effortlessly together. Chef Andrei, raised by a single mother, learned how to cook so that he could help relieve some of the pressure on his mother. He brings that level of care into his kitchen today. “I’m not just building a team of chefs,” said Chef Andrei. “I’m building a brotherhood here on the island. My world-class talent left their homes and families to build this together, and I want the environment to be a place where the team has a shoulder to rely on.” But like with any strong relationship, he explains, it takes time.
In addition to Shimizu, guests can expect an unforgettable culinary journey at the resort’s 11 restaurants. Created by Dave Pynt, the culinary mastermind behind Singapore’s Michelin-starred Burnt Ends restaurant, The Ledge features an elevated Australian barbecue experience that can be savored against the stunning backdrop of the Indian Ocean. Guests can also enjoy the only private hand-crafted bamboo dining pods in the Maldives at Terra, located on the island’s highest point for a unique gastronomic escapade.
Spanning three interconnected islands in the South Malé Atoll, and a short 45-minute yacht journey away from Malé International Airport, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is an iconic resort paradise surrounded by the natural beauty of the Maldivian landscape and the crystal-clear Indian Ocean. Aside from the excellent restaurants and bars, the resort also boasts 119 spacious villas, the Waldorf Astoria Young Discovery Park, a world-class spa, and Ithaafushi – The Private Island, the largest private island in the Maldives.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi operates with industry-leading standard of cleanliness and disinfection of the proprietary Hilton CleanStay program, while adhering to the Maldivian health and safety guidelines.
From arrival to check in and throughout the entire stay, guests can experience an elevated standard of cleanliness and sanitization which build upon Hilton’s already high standards of housekeeping and hygiene where hospital-grade cleaning products and upgraded protocols are currently in place. For more information about Hilton CleanStay, visit https://www.hilton.com/en/corporate/cleanstay/