The Garden By Infini.
Updated: May 4
When it comes to fine dining in Aruba, Infini remains on top. Now at The Garden, you can experience their menu in a more intimate and relaxed setting.
Infini, already a legendary fine dining restaurant in Aruba has come up with a new way to experience its menu. This time, taking advantage of their beautiful outdoor space. The Garden, they called it and is intimate, relaxed yet you don't lose the essence of the fine dining experience, just this time, you are out in their garden/terrace where you can feel the breeze, have a conversation, and enjoy the dishes for what they are... pure brilliance.
Since it opened, Infini has been a chef's table experience. From your seat, you can witness an outstanding performance of masters putting the dishes together at an almost hypnotizing pace. I find it extremely enjoyable myself but I can see the point of some diners that have mentioned that the experience is lengthy and too formal sometimes, even intimidating. Now with The Garden, the experience has been simplified to a table outdoors, where you are served a shorter version of their 12-course menu and let you enjoy your food without the attention that requires the chef's table experience indoors. I would say it is the perfect scenario for an intimate date.
The menu for The Garden keeps the jewels from their 12-course intact. What they have put together is a curated version of it containing the most celebrated dishes. The menu has 6 courses and believe me when I say you don't lose at all the fine experience they are known for providing.
Amuse Bouche: Toast Keshi Pica, Sin Webo No Tin Fiesta & Banana Cu Higra.
The Toast Keshi Pica is based on no other than the iconic Club Social cracker. They have developed a dough that has been made from the cracked and made this cylinder that has gouda cheese cream inside. If you know the cracker you will immediately recognize it and if you don't I guarantee you'll go to the store the next day to get it. On top for a bright touch, the littlest pickled onions and cornichons.
Because humor is always present in Chef Urvin Croes' menus, Sin Webo No Tin Fiesta (Without Eggs there is no party) is an Arubian saying that states the fact that Webo Yena (Deviled eggs) are a must on every party's spread and without them, there's no proper party happening. Here Chef Urving has engineered a star-shaped Rucu waffle that contains egg salad delicately piped inside. On each angle, a drop of sweet potato créme, creole gel, and vanilla cream. It is rich, tasty, interesting, and overall things, lets you know that it is an Aruban party.
Besides humor, Chef Croes also always ties his dishes to his life experiences. The Banana cu Higra (Banana and liver) has a profound meaning to him. When he was a child, his caretaker was of Dominican origin and would always feed him Liver and onions, and next to it, would serve a piece of fried sweet plantain. This dish is a banana bread slice, fried in butter and topped with chicken liver mousse. It is a crazy combination and probably my favorite part of the dish.
Because in Aruba we have a bread supreme, T2 Pan Sourdough Boutique, this slice of bread was meant to have its place. A unique sourdough made for this menu with curry, caramelized onions, and activated charcoal. Next to it a fine butter with roasted garlic, roasted onion, cilantro, lemon, and oranges. Best bread and butter you can find on this happy island for sure.
The aesthetics of this dish are just insanity to start with. A grilled eggplant, served with Babaganoush (probably the best one I have tried in my life), eggplant dressing, prunes creme, parsley roots creme, pecans, grilled okra, eggplant chip, and Scotch Bonnet oil. I know sounds like a lot but it is elegant and punchy. Smoky and defiant. I was lucky I still had bread to wipe the dish clean.
This dish has no picture.
After Marvick, one of Infini's cooks came over to the table and quite literally hyped us up about this dish while explaining it we went in so hard that I forgot to even take a picture. It is called Pisca di Dia (Catch of the Day), caught by Fisherman Ronald Werleman. Amberjack with papillote, served with mussels, smoked eel beurre blanc, confit cabbage, crispy rice, raspberries coulis, and red beets. Our hats were blown by it. The name "Catch of the Day" probably appears on every menu on the island but this is the one to try.
Caribbean Beef Wellington.
So Beef Wellington, the iconic dish that was on every cookbook cover of the 90s, or every cooking magazine holiday spread as the thing to have has finally made its way here. But Chef Urvin was not just gonna look for a Martha Stewart (Legend!) recipe, he was gonna twist it, give it the touch, and make it Caribbean. The inspiration is Patacón, the late-night truck fried plantain sandwich that Chef Urvin would go and get after service at his trusted joint. The tenderloin was seasoned with a mix called Adobo, the crust instead of mushrooms has bacon, there is queso Paisa, Garlic Mayo, and a creole stew. Can you believe that such a refined staple like Beef Wellington got food-trucked and still be this fantastic? Best dish of the night undoubtedly. Worth mentioning that the bacon is locally cured and smoked by William Jansen.
Mispel and Malta.
Another rendition of his childhood, when Malta, this lightly carbonated malt beverage brewed from barley, hops, and water that every child of the Island would drink at school with a Pastechi is glorified in this dessert. A malta cake, served with Keda Keto Mispel ice cream, green apple compote, green apple jelly, and to crown this Malta cookie. On the side, the lime green custard which is also such a childhood flashback for me was the most meaningful touch. It was so beautiful and delicious. A dessert that I will always remember.
It is worth mentioning that I paired my dinner with the most fantastic wines, an add-on they offer, and my standout pairing was this Dr. Konstantin Frank Riesling Célèbre. It’s fruity, forward, and delicately sweet yet maintains acidity. They also offer cocktail pairing (that I am absolutely coming back to try) by the already legendary Mrs. Jessika Theysen. Will report back on that for sure.
In the end, the great service, incredible attention to detail, and warmth of the staff made The Garden experience one that I can't wait to repeat. As I said before if you want to have the best date ever or just celebrate someone, take them to The Garden at Infini. People enjoy fine dining not just for food but for the art and beauty of its presentation.
Chef Urvin Croes did again folks! Infini remains the finest dining experience in Aruba. You'll walk away and won't help to look back and say: Damn! That was epic!
The Garden Experience menu is $99 per person. Cocktail and Wine pairings are add-ons. Ask your server for more information.
Huge thanks to everyone involved in making that experience so great. You guys rock!
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