During my trip to Malta I was invited for lunch at Oceana, the main restaurant at the Hilton hotel.
Oceana Restaurant embraces authentic rustic cuisine in its menu, incorporating local seasonal ingredients and freshly caught fish and seafood.
The restaurant has been recently refurbished and given a fresh Mediterranean theme. The décor of the restaurant is white and blue and it accessorised with different sized ceramic pots which made me think of Malta´s archaeological heritage. Large panoramic windows led to the terrace.
You might not know, as I didn’t, that Malta is full of underground artefacts. Builders have trouble because every time they dig into the ground for foundations they stumble on more and more historical relics.
As soon as we arrived, a friendly and attentive waiter greeted us and guided us to our table. As the weather was gorgeous we opted for a table on the outside terrace, in the shade. As soon as we sat down the waiter brought us the menu and took our drinks order. I went for a glass of white wine.
The menu looked delicious and it was hard to choose only one dish. My love for beef won so I ended up ordering the “Grilled ‘Bavette’ of Beef with orange braised endive, brie and confit tomato”, from the daily specials menu.
As soon as we ordered, a basket of freshly baked bread and selection of dips were brought to the table: hummus, tuna and olives. Before traveling to Malta I had no idea that its waters were home to tuna and because of this you´ll often find it as a main ingredient in Maltese cuisine.
The main course arrived soon after. It looked and tasted delicious. The meat was cooked exactly to my liking, medium-rare. This type of cut is chewier, has a finer texture and is full of flavour. The moment I had my first bite I could feel all my taste buds activating, the steak was so juicy and the meat flavour blended perfectly with the sweet tanginess of the orange. The brie was an interesting add-on to the palette with its creamy and strong aroma.
Even if the main course was very filling, don’t we all have a different stomach for dessert? We went for a Strawberry Baked Alaska and a Tiramisu. The Baked Alaska was warm, with fresh strawberries and a scoop of homemade ice cream in the middle. At Oceana Restaurant ice cream is made on site and you can really tell from the fruity, creamy taste. It actually reminded me of my grandma’s raspberry ice cream with which she used to spoil me in the hot summer days.
The Tiramisu was presented like a fairytale, with a beautiful (and sweet-tasting) garden at the bottom, the creamy house in the middle and the pistachio ice cream tower at the top. It was a real work of art! I call it a garden but the base was formed from crushed biscuits, chocolate swirls, coffee and pistachio macaroons and tiny herbs. Could a dessert be more inviting? I don´t think so!
We finished our meal with a hot cup of coffee.
I really enjoyed the relaxed feel at the Oceana Restaurant, the delicious food and lovely company. They also have a gorgeous buffet every Sunday. I was disappointed I couldn’t attend due to my very early flight back to the UK the same day. I´d love to return and try the chef’s signature dish, which he described in detail (see the below interview). I can’t recommend Oceana Restaurant enough for its exquisite food, attentive staff and the stunning location.
I had the chance to ask the chef from Oceana Restaurant a few questions about the menu:
What was your inspiration for creating the menu at Oceana Restaurant?
The place is new modern and fresh
Are the ingredients used in preparing the dishes local?
50% of the ingredients used are local, the is focus on seasonal meat, fish, game, vegetable & fruit
What is your favourite ingredient to cook with, here in Malta?
My favourite ingredient would be fresh fish since we are surrounded by the sea and have this readily available
Which is your signature dish from the menu and can you tell us a little bit about it?
The signature dish is the Sous Vide Local Rabbit Loin. In Malta one of the local famous dishes is rabbit, you will even find some restaurants that only rabbit, this is known as a ‘fenkata’.
If you would design a complete meal from the Oceana Restaurant’s menu, which dishes would you chose to create the perfect balance?
This would be my choice for a great balanced meal:-
Pressed terrine of foie grass, confit of chicken and duck
Cream of celeriac veloute, oyster mushroom, parmesan froth, crispy ciabatta
Black Angus fillet of beef with medley of cauliflower, braised cheeks fritters, ruffle jus
Baked chocolate fondant with raspberry and white chocolate popsicle, gianduja ice cream