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The Maldives, a destination synonymous with crystal-clear waters and overwater bungalows, offers a unique twist to its luxurious offerings with the reopening of the Nest restaurant at Niyama Private Islands resort. This Asian fine dining experience, initially conceived in 2013, has returned, nestled within the lush jungle of this idyllic island retreat.
The journey to Nest begins with a boardwalk meandering through the island’s jungle, where overgrown vines and a majestic banyan tree canopy set the stage for an extraordinary culinary adventure. Guests can dine under the banyan tree’s expansive embrace or ascend six meters up a spiral staircase to a suspended dining platform, offering a private perch amidst the treetops.
Designed as a multi-level treehouse, the Nest is connected by a labyrinth of wooden walkways and bridges amongst the trees—the thatched-roof hut centres around the showcase teppanyaki grill, where the art of cooking becomes a performance. At night, the trees shimmer with hundreds of lights, creating an enchanting ambience that blends the natural with the surreal.
The new menu features Asia’s culinary diversity, curated by Executive Chef Thierry Vergnault. Highlights include the wagyu and sea urchin tataki from Japan, the sizzling bo lok lak from Vietnam, and the chilli reef lobster from local waters, inspired by Singaporean cuisine. The set menus, including vegetarian options and the à la carte menu, offer an array of Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, and Japanese dishes, catering to a wide range of palates.
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Complementing the culinary experience is an experimental cocktail list by consultant Mathew Atkinson of Bruff Drinks. Utilizing island-grown herbs and spices, flowers, and teas, these cocktails not only tantalize the taste buds but also ignite a sense of curiosity with their innovative blends. A selection of sake further enhances the dining experience, offering something for every taste.
Nest is open daily, offering teppanyaki lunch from noon to 2:30 pm, teppanyaki dinner from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm, and à la carte dining from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. This dining experience is a must-try for those visiting Niyama Private Islands Maldives. It is a luxury retreat spanning two islands, Play and Chill, boasting ten unique dining experiences. ◼
© This article was first published online in Jan 2024 – World Travel Magazine.