Kingsbury adds imported ‘cold water’ seafood with new Premium Seafood range
The selection was specially designed by Celebrity Chef Markus Dybwad, a former chef from a British three Michelin star restaurant
Chef Markus only in town until 30 August
New revamped menu offers vast variety of seafood and preparation options
Chef Markus with the New Premium Seafood Selection
By Madushka Balasuriya
After The Kingsbury’s Harbour Court restaurant claimed the Luxury Travel Guide UK’s Restaurant of the Year award for 2015 earlier this month, The Hayleys-owned hotel are not resting on their laurels. The Kingsbury on 22 August launched a brand new Premium Seafood Selection at The Ocean seafood restaurant.
The new range - comprising of imported varieties of lobster, crab, prawn and fish among other seafood delicacies from the Indian, Pacific, Atlantic, Southern and Arctic ocean - is displayed front and centre, in front of the open kitchen. Either side is the local selection, ensuring arguably the most impressive and diverse selection of seafood anywhere in the island.
The key difference between the imported and local varieties is the temperature of the water; the imported seafood is sourced from cold water areas around the world, as opposed to the warm water where the local seafood is procured.
This is something Norwegian celebrity chef Markus Dybwad - a former chef from a three Michelin Star restaurant in England, in Sri Lanka to launch the selection - was keen to stress on: “When it comes to cold water and warm water, it depends because different species react differently. Mussels for instance, they are filtering water, so in cold water they grow slower and they have a cleaner taste. It’s interesting though, because I’ve found the Sri Lankan crab works better with asian flavours, whereas if you serve it a bit clean in a western style it’s a bit anonymous. The [imported] brown crab, I would say, has a bit more identity.”
This ‘identity’ was illustrated perfectly at one point when Chef Markus casually picked up a couple of Greenland prawns on display and urged us to try them. The prawns, he said, were one of his favourite items, explaining that they were cooked in sea water before being brought ashore. Safe to say, the flavour did not disappoint.
The new selection meanwhile was specially designed by Chef Markus, and at the press briefing to launch the range he took centre stage to conduct a live demonstration of his favourite seafood classics, where we were offered a taste.
We started off with Norwegian King Crab and Skagen (or prawn cocktail) on toast. The difference in the crab was immediately clear, with it having a more stringy texture and being more on the sweet side than what you would get locally. The Skagen on toast was the perfect accompaniment.
Next up we were treated to a Sour Mackerel dish with cucumber and sour cream. Here the simplicity of the preparation was the most striking aspect, as Chef Markus marinated the mackerel and the cucumber in a simple brine (which can be made easily with only household ingredients). The result was an outstanding dish, with the sweetness of the mackerel and cucumber perfectly counter-balanced by the sour cream.
The final dish we had the pleasure of trying was your garden-variety batter-fried fish with tartar sauce. However, the simplicity of the beer-battered haddock was belied by the execution of the dish; the crispness of the batter dovetailed perfectly with flavour of the haddock - which, according to Chef Markus, is second only to the “king of fish” that is the Turbot - and the tartar sauce added the ideal flourish.
Overall the experience was a supremely satisfying one and while our dishes were selected and curated especially by Chef Markus, those who frequent the Ocean will thankfully have a much wider selection. In fact, the major selling point of the new menu is its “have it your way” style; every available item of seafood will be cooked in any style you wish, be it Continental, Middle Eastern, Thai, Chinese, Sri Lankan or the Chef’s Special. For those of you who cannot make up your mind, there are Courses available as well. And to complete the comprehensive seafood dining experience, the menu has a wide array of sushi on offer to boot.
The delicious new items will be available for the foreseeable future, carefully prepared and served by the talented Executive Chef Kithsiri De Silva and his team. However, Chef Markus will only be at The Ocean from 22-30 August, so be sure to pencil in a visit if you haven’t already.
Pix by Upul Abayasekara