Onboard Life: Celebrity Cruises' Qsine Specialty Restaurant
Photo by Jason Leppert
Six years ago, well before Royal Caribbean International introduced its fantastical Wonderland specialty restaurant on the Quantum of the Seas and new ships to follow, corporate cousin Celebrity Cruises launched its predecessor: the whimsical Qsine dining experience aboard the Celebrity Eclipse.
Since then it has expanded to six ships in the fleet, delighting guests with its unique fare and wild presentation.
As Celebrity continued to launch its successful Solstice-class of cruise ships, it decided to depart from the Silk Harvest Asian restaurant on the first Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox to develop something new for the Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection to follow.
The resulting concept was Qsine—a “uniquely unordinary” specialty dining experience that has proved so popular it has also been rolled back onto the Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit.
The restaurant appears something like a cross between an Apple Store and the “Alice in Wonderland” animated and live-action films with earthen dark browns and grays contrasted against vibrant neon orange chairs and glossy white surfaces. A classical chandelier is even suspended upside down from a central group table, illustrating the playfully alternative nature of the venue, as inverted lighting fixtures follow suit elsewhere in the fun venue.
Much as a precursor to the tablet computer ordering that drives the Bionic Bar aboard new Royal Caribbean ships, Qsine courses are first presented on digital iPad menus. A colorful iconographic grid interface expands to display creative dish descriptions and occasional videos. Featured wine labels are also showcased, and custom cocktails can be virtually mixed right from within the app.
Bucking traditions even further, international courses can be served in any order and in any quantity, and there is much to be devoured, visually and gastronomically. Nowhere else on land or at sea are items presented so amusingly. For instance, baby back spring rolls with chipotle coleslaw and white truffle BBQ sauce or vegetable melange with cilantro, chipotle coleslaw and sweet and sour sauce literally sprout out from a platform of actual springs.
Just as theatrically, Taco “Royale” of black angus sirloin steak, unordinary tacos, caramelized onion-poblano and mortar-and-pestle guacamole are served as a trio on a vertical stainless steel rack of shelves (pictured above), and M’s (Mediterranean) Favorites of patlican salata, mixed olives, tzatziki, eggplant imam biyaldi, tabbouleh, hummus, chicken kofta, zathaar lamb chops, kibbeh, Mediterranean chili, falafel and goat cheese cigars are positioned within an upright grid.
Flavor profiles are just as impressive and varied as the presentations themselves, especially since many plates are samplers like Meatball Trilogy (kobe with cheddar and marinara sauce; veal with mushrooms and marsala sauce; turkey with cranberry and sage gravy) and Treseviche (tiger shrimp and bay scallops with lemon juice, tequila, cilantro, tomato and jalapeno oil; salmon with yuzu citrus, cucumber, vodka and basil; sea bass with lime, red onion, choclo, avocado and exvoo).
The aforementioned elaborate dishes are only five of twenty total varieties not including dessert, so Qsine is definitely an affair to come prepared for with lots of room on an empty stomach. Thankfully, “culinary tour guides” will help make suggestions along the way and certainly tempt you to try a bit of everything, which you owe it to yourself to do.
Of course, ideally, it would be best to plan more than one reservation at the restaurant to partake in everything...free of excessive gluttony.
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