Silversea has invested significantly in the notion that guests will enjoy Indochine, an exotic dining venue with equally exotic dishes. Indochine is one of the largest restaurants on board the new Silver Muse. The atmosphere is very contemporary, with as Asian flair.
We arrived right on time for our 7:00pm reservation. Our waiter greeted us with a warm welcome and an appetizer of Papadum and two chutneys.
The Papadum was crispy and fresh, and the chutneys were delicious. Soon after, a colorful, vodka-based "welcome drink" was delivered.
The menu at Indochine is somewhat limited. There are four choices for a starter course and each choice contains a variety of items.
Rickee's Dim Sum Delights was an assortment of steamed dumplings served with two small pots, one filled with soya sauce and the other, fish sauce. Fair warning: the fish sauce is pure, unadulterated fish sauce right out of the bottle. I made the mistake of assuming that it was a Vietnamese-style dipping fish sauce, typically consisting of five or six tablespoons of fish sauce added to 2/3 cup of water with sugar, lime juice and garlic. Nope, this was full-strength, super salty and super-fishy. Note to self: stick to the soy sauce. The dumplings, on the other hand, were delicious.
For my starter, I ordered A Taste of Mandalay consisting of Spicy Fish Cakes, Marinated Chicken Wings and Glazed Pork.
There are three soups offered, all of which seem to be variations of Vietnamese Phõ. These are intended to be ordered as main courses and the bowls are very large. We ordered the Thai Curry Chicken Noodle soup to share. When it arrived, the large bowl was placed in the middle of the table, in between us, and we were each given a soup spoon. There was no way we could share the soup from the middle of the table without spilling half of it in transit from the bowl to our mouths. It would have been nice to have had two smaller bowls to which we could transfer the soup from the big bowl.
We took turns sliding the bowl back and forth between us. Although the presentation was clumsy, the soup was delicious. And, it was surprisingly spicy. In fact, it was downright HOT. Great for me, not so much for Rickee. I loved it.
When we ordered our main courses, I told the waiter that I liked my food very spicy and to not hold back on the heat. Apparently, the chef took that to apply to Rickee's main course as well. Her Lemongrass Beef was too hot for her to handle. She loved the flavor, but it was just too spicy for her. I tried hers, and thought it was perfect for me.
My Lamb Curry was also super-spicy, and delicious. It was the closest representation to authentic Indian cuisine I have ever had on a cruise ship. The chef did not hold back on the heat and I was soon turning red in the face and perspiring. The heat did not take away from the fragrant flavor of the tender, juicy lamb.
Both main courses looked rather boring on the plate and presentation could be improved. In reality, Indian cuisine is just ugly by its very nature. It is one color: brown. Perhaps a pyramid of white rice on the plate would at least add some texture. We did each order a side dish of rice which was good.
Most diners here will opt for a cool, sweet dessert to offset the spicy nature of the dishes but we had eaten so much there was no room for dessert so we skipped that course. However, the Coconut Rice Pudding sounds quite intriguing to me.
I like Indochine. I love hot and spicy food and have always found it to be one of the things missing from cruise ship dining. With just a little tweaking, this restaurant could have a much broader appeal. For example, the addition of a Chicken Tikka Masala might be a worth considering. We overheard two ladies dining behind us talking about how the food was way too spicy for one of them; the other lady, like me, loved it. Perhaps they could ask diners to choose a desired level of "heat" (1 through 5)? Also, consider thinning out and sweetening the fish sauce.
The menu here is well executed. Service was also very crisp, efficient and friendly. This is one restaurant on Silver Muse that I will definitely visit again.