Is Oceania Cruises’ Red Ginger the Finest Asian Restaurant at Sea?
Onboard restaurant Red Ginger exemplifies the gastronomic wizardry that Oceania Cruises is famed for. Here, we delve into the secrets behind its success
There are as many different reasons to travel as there are travellers, and if yours is to sample the most exciting cuisines that the world has to offer, both on land and at sea, then Oceania Cruises could be the cruise line for you.
You have to be supremely confident to lay claim to providing ‘the finest cuisine at sea’ and luckily Oceania Cruises has more than enough culinary swag to back it up.
Founded in 2002 to offer an unparalleled gastronomic travel experience, it’s the ultimate brand for travellers seeking an elegant, refined, yet not stuffy, experience.
And if there’s one thing the small, luxury cruise line does spectacularly well, it’s food. Gourmet dining experiences start with sourcing the finest artisanal ingredients from around the world – think Castilla-La Mancha saffron or French flour, custom-milled to the chef’s specifications.
Below deck, state-of-the-art galleys allow gifted chefs to create culinary masterpieces, and when it comes to savouring the incredible flavours they bring to life open seating means you can dine whenever, and with whomever, you choose.
Restaurant spotlight: Red Ginger
Arrive at Red Ginger on board Oceania Cruises’ Marina, Riviera or Sirena, and you’ll be entering a heady realm of seductive, swirling flavours from the Orient. Every truly special meal begins with an exquisite setting and Red Ginger enfolds you in tranquillity from the moment you walk through the door.
With a nod to feng shui (the art of arranging your environment to maximise harmony), its sleek interior glows with softly sparkling chandeliers illuminating sumptuous ebony wood, warm flashes of red and gold (lucky colours in Chinese culture), and onyx-hued Buddha sculptures.
A soothing waterfall wall trickles and flows, providing a relaxing backdrop to your dining experience.
Open the bamboo-clad menu to find a treasure trove of contemporary riffs on Asian classics. Picture a luxurious lobster pad Thai, in place of the more traditional incarnation served with chicken or shrimp.
Or a beef panang, only this delicious version is made with melt-in-the-mouth beef short rib and served with freshly-baked golden paratha roti.
There’s more fun to be had before a single morsel arrives at your table. Guests are invited to choose their own chopsticks from an impressive Vietnamese collection, displayed in a beautiful presentation box.
Chic chinaware in a variety of textures and colours pre-empt dishes that wouldn’t look out of place in a modern art gallery. In fact, it’s the artistry of the food at restaurants such as Red Ginger that secures Oceania’s culinary crown on the seas.
A salad of spicy roast duck and ruby-red watermelon, studded with cashews, fresh mint and fragrant Thai basil is an explosion of vibrant colour. A succulent miso-glazed fillet of seabass comes wrapped in a hoba leaf, secured jauntily with a clothes peg.
More mouth-watering dishes spanning hallmarks of Asian cuisine arrive in similarly fine fashion. A trilogy of plump scallops zings with lime and sports a kizami wasabi crust. Spring rolls encased in whisper-thin rice paper beg to be dunked into tangy sweet chili dip. And an avocado lobster salad with tuna and hamachi teeters on beds of crispy lotus.
Round off your meal with something sweet. But not too sweet. As with all courses at Red Ginger, desserts strike a perfect balance between sweet and spicy flavour profiles, such as the indulgent Japanese ice cream with chili salt or a perfect sphere of yuzu citrus sorbet.
Explaining the detailed research that went into creating Red Ginger’s innovative menu, Jacques Pépin, the executive culinary director for Oceania Cruises, says:
‘The team worked with chefs all over the world to find recipes and techniques that represent the best of Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese cooking – and spent months mastering their preparation.
'The presentation is refined in a way that is exciting and modern, but the dishes themselves, like all of our food, is firmly grounded in authentic recipes, traditions, and ingredients.’
Of course, dinner at Red Ginger wouldn’t be complete without experiencing its wonderful tea service.
There is a carefully curated tea menu and a designated tea server to pour your brew, and once you take the first sip, you’ll understand why this grand finale merits such attention.
From traditional Sencha and a luxurious orchid vanilla black tea with a hint of creamy coconut to the refreshing white ginger pear herbal tea, selecting your ideal blend is the perfect note to end your evening.