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Five Explora I venues’ signature dishes revealed

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Explora Journeys’ head of culinary Franck Garanger (far right) at work with the culinary team
Signature dishes influenced by a variety of international cuisines and led by Explora Journeys’ Head of Culinary Franck Garanger and his team have been unveiled for each of Explora I’s five all-inclusive restaurants.

A first look at Explora I’s restaurant, bar and lounge concepts was revealed last summer.

Boutique labels offering unusual or rare wines have been sourced for Explora’s first ship. A  specially curated mixology programme includes a signature ‘Ocean State of Mind’ cocktail, as well as beverages designed to accompany specific regional menus. Additionally, there is a special focus on interesting, alcohol-free beverages. 

Explora I, the first in Explora’s fleet of six vessels, will set sail on its first voyage July 17 from Southampton and house 18 intimate food and beverage venues, including six restaurants.

Assisting Garanger is Alban Gjoka, senior lead culinary operations, helping to conceptualise menus and source top-quality ingredients and Jérôme Toumelin, corporate executive chef, who gained his expertise worldwide, including six years as executive chef at Market by Jean-Georges in Paris. Garanger's team also includes Christophe Sapy, corporate executive pastry chef who has a reputation for his skill working with desserts, and Frederic Godineau, senior executive chef who has 19 years’ experience in hospitality.

Sakura

Sakura’s chefs will follow traditional Japanese techniques with meticulously sourced ingredients to create an authentic pan-Asian experience.

Signature dishes include wakame salad, smoked Madagascan pepper, and Wagyu beef tataki. Japan’s luxurious Grade 5 Wagyu beef will be prepared delicately torched – an authentic cooking technique. The Madagascan pepper is a variety that grows wild on tall lianas in the heart of Madagascar’s rainforests.

Packed with health-boosting vitamins and minerals, the restaurant’s kale salad fuses clean living with Asian flavours, cured with a top-class sesame dressing for a mellow, rounded flavour, while the kaffir lime pavlova, mango, passion fruit brunoise, mango sorbet from the pastry team puts an Asian twist on a classic dessert.

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A specialist sommelier will be on hand to advise on sake, shōchūs and other Asian-influenced drinks.

Marble & Co. Grill

Grilled prime rib from a Jersiaise breed recognised for its flavour and marbling will be sourced from a top-quality producer found only in the Deux-Sévres region of the lush Loire Valley and served at Marble & Co. Grill. Aged for 30 days, the meat will be served with cherry tomatoes and Hollandaise Sauce.

Plus, calvisius Oscietra caviar sustainably produced in Italy, where there is a constant supply of spring water resulting in a low-salt flavour, will be used as part of a dish that brings together crushed fingerling potatoes, Le Beurre Bordier butter from Normandy, crème fraiche and chives.

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Fil Rouge

Tuna tataki, crispy tomato-olive tart, vegetables, vanilla white pepper is the signature dish at Fil Rouge, which offers French-inspired international cuisine.

The Japanese dish involves searing bluefin tuna at a scorching temperature before rapidly cooling it, leaving the centre rare.

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The fish is sourced from sea close to Cartagena Bay in the Mediterranean and among the best-grade tuna to be found anywhere in the world.

Med Yacht Club

At Med Yacht Club, the tastes and textures of Italy, Spain, Greece, France and North Africa are captured in sharing plates that include plant-based ingredients, accompanied cocktails and wines from the vineyards of the Mediterranean. 

One of the venue’s signature dishes consists of grilled octopus, San Marzano tomato sauce, Taggiasca olives, green beans and parsley, and is made using fine ingredients. Another, the sweet caprese with cherry tomatoes, strawberries, burrata, pesto, puts a sweet, creative twist on the Italian classic caprese. It calls for a base of cherry tomatoes and strawberries topped with burrata made from an emulsified burrata cream. Another layer of tomatoes and strawberries is added, and the dish is finished with a drizzle of pesto based on Sicilian Bronte pistachios.

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Emporium Marketplace

Airy marble minimalism is characteristic of Emporium Marketplace where cooking stations serve destination-inspired dishes, with sushi, seafood and meats presented alongside pasta cooked to order and freshly baked pizza.

Its handmade ricotta cheese, spinach, tomato-sage butter tortellini is made authentically on board from scratch every day using carefully sourced flour.

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Emporium’s plant-based chia yoghurt is also freshly made daily from cashew milk and packed with fibre, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Passengers can choose from charcuterie and fromagerie, and bread and pastries delivered straight from oven to table, with fresh juices, smoothies and acai bowls served at breakfast.

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