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Island Jungle Treetop Dining - Fresh in the Garden at Soneva Fushi

The Property Addict / Travel

The Maldives

Apr 08 2019

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My mouth waters as I breathe in the smell of delicious cooking spices carried on the balmy evening breeze, whispering through thick canopies of lush tropical jungle as we cycle on our bikes, racing each other laughing and chatting animatedly, hungry and excited.

The dusk is lit by hidden dim lights, dotted along the cycle path casting subdued light up the gnarled trunks of hundred-year-old trees, palms and succulents, the ambience is magical. We arrive at our dinner destination, skidding to a halt, giggling, bare feet dragging through the white sand as we park our bikes. 

Vine covered archways lead to organic garden patches full of vibrant green lettuce, kale, fresh parsley, coriander, tomatoes, cucumber vines, and banana trees. A roaming chicken darts across the pathway in front of us, baby chicks in tow, late for their bedtime as the dusk settles to night.

A gnarled and rustic wooden spiral staircase twists high upwards into the treetops. The sweet smell of pandan leaves, growing in lush clumps, mixes with the cooking spices the aroma getting stronger as we approach the restaurant and our stomachs rumbling in delicious anticipation. Arriving at the top of the staircase, the wooden landing worn, smooth on bare feet, we are high in the treetops, and a rickety bridge extends out in front of us, dimly lit with soft downlights, open on either side with just rope, leading to the thatched, Robinson Crusoe-esk ‘Fresh in the Garden’ restaurant. 

We take turns crossing the wobbly bridge, clutching at the ropes with laughter, trying to maintain balance as it wobbles and swings high in the treetops like a tightrope. Arriving safely on the landing of the Fresh in the Garden, we are greeted by the grinning maitre d and guided through the restaurant. Huge open kitchens are manned with dozens of world-class chefs with crisp tall hats and white uniforms moving animatedly, dinner service in full swing, the ambiance vibrant and inviting. Explosions of delicious smells and fragrant spices fill my nostrils, making my mouth water and stomach rumble.

Our waiter leads us to a table at the end of a circular outdoor bridge, more dim ambient lights and glowing candles cast gentle light. We are seated on heavy raw wooden chairs, at a big weathered wooden table with brightly colours table settings. Sinking into plush green cushions, the wind rustles through the thick canopy of treetops that surround our table, the sound of waves lapping on the shore close by carrying in the wind.

We both order fish, line-caught fresh that day by the boats on the Soneva Fushi island, all of the produce grown Fresh in the Garden and delivered to us on huge white platters, steaming hot, cooked to perfection and delicious. Glasses of crisp chilled French chardonnay quench a sun-kissed thirst. Crunchy salads with tangy dressing delight the tastebuds. Spectacular service, anticipating our every want make the experience a precious memory.       

We finish our meal, bellies full, taste buds satisfied, an intoxicating wave of sun-induced tiredness sweeps over us. We head back over the rickety bridge, through the treetops, down the gnarled twisting stairs through the dimly lit gardens to our parked bicycles. The racing pace of earlier in the evening, now a slow meander, we cycle towards the ice cream room, one last treat before bedtime. On entry, the chilled air envigorates sunkissed skin, and cools the soles of tired feet, we heap scoops of vanilla bean, strawberry, peppermint and salted caramel and hand-made pink fluffy marshmallows on top. The sugar hit gives us just enough energy to ride back to our villa, the night time service having already drawn the shades and prepared the soft 1000-count bamboo bedding with our bespoke individually-ordered pillows ready for a blissful sleep. We drift off, excited for another day in paradise.  

Singapore Airlines flies from Australia via Singapore to Male Airport, from there Soneva Fushi is a 30-minute seaplane ride.

Visit Soneva Fushi here.

 

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