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Nancy and I recently cruised on the Celebrity Silhouette with our dear friends Hugh and Shanna from Chilliwack, British Columbia. The Silhouette is one of Celebrity’s Solstice class ships and has a passenger capacity of 2,886 passengers. I will be doing a separate blogpost about our cruise, but I would like to focus this one on an amazing eating experience in one of Celebrity’s specialty restaurants—Qsine.February_20__95_2013-02-20_15-44-14_DSC_9642

Qsine is one of four specialty restaurants on board the Silhouette, the others being Blu, Murano and the Tuscan Grille.

Blu

Blu

Murano
Murano

Tuscan Grille
Tuscan Grille

Dining in the Oceanview Café and the main dining room on the ship is free. There is, however, a surcharge for eating in the specialty restaurants. For Qsine we paid $40 per person not including wine. We decided on Qsine based on a recommendation from friends of ours who are seasoned expert cruisers. They have dined in all the specialty restaurants and said that Qsine was a must-visit experience, so we made a reservation on our first day aboard the Silhouette.February_17__66_2013-02-17_14-16-06_DSC_9187

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The tagline for the restaurant is “Uniquely Unordinary,” and I can truly say this was an eating experience unlike anything that we have ever experienced. Our reservation was for 7 p.m. and we received a reminder card in our stateroom about our reservation—attention to small details such as this is what sets the Celebrity line apart from many others.

Our waiter explained what was about to happen. He asked us about our general food likes/dislikes and then he made some suggestions for us while we perused the menu and wine list, which were presented to each guest on their own iPad:February_20__4_2013-02-20_18-00-39_DSC_9742

I asked for a printed copy of the menu so that I could remember and describe all the dishes that we were about to enjoy:February_20__16_2013-02-28_14-13-50_DSC_8049

There was no limit to the number of items we could order, and all dishes were intended to be shared by the table. As it turned out, we ordered just the right amount of food and although there were many other tasty treats to sample, we were pleasantly filled by the end of our meal! The dishes were small—almost tapas style, which meant for a leisurely dinner. There was no time limit and at no point did we ever feel rushed.

Our first dish was Lava Crab—Alaskan King Crab with sweet yellow corn and scallions, wrapped in Kataifi, which is a Middle Eastern pastry made from shredded phyllo dough, sitting in Old Bay lobster sauce. Our waiter turned the balls of lava crab in the sauce to get the Kataifi nicely coated. We each had half of a ball:February_20__8_2013-02-20_18-24-22_DSC_9746

I’m not going to describe the taste of each dish with all the standard descriptions of “delicious, scrumptious, wonderful,” etc. Let’s just say that every single one was unique and we experienced so many different flavours, tastes and aromas that my writing skills would be lacking in trying to accurately describe everything.

Keeping with a seafood theme, our next dish was Lobster Escargot—fritters with parsley-garlic butter sauce:February_20__11_2013-02-20_18-30-35_DSC_9749

To help mop up the sauce, we were given cones of bread that had been baked in a banana leaf:February_20__17_2013-02-20_18-32-37_DSC_9755

Still with our seafood theme, we next had Disco Shrimp—bouillon-poached tiger shrimp, avocado, tomato and celery with cocktail aioli and crunchy toppings. The shrimps were in glasses that had flashing lights in them, hence the disco connotation:February_20__21_2013-02-20_18-33-05_DSC_9759

The presentation of each dish continued to amaze and amuse us and then came something very unusual. Called M’s Favourites, it was described as a Mediterranean dollhouse:February_20__32_2013-02-20_18-48-16_DSC_9770This was a granite case with a handle on top and 12 compartments, each containing a Mediterranean dish, including patlican salata, mixed olives, tzatziki, eggplant imam biyaldi, tabbouleh, hummus, chicken kofta, zathaar lamb chops, kibbeh, Mediterranean chili, falafel and goat cheese cigars! Since there were two chicken skewers and two lamb chops, they brought us an extra plate of chicken and lamb so that we each had one. The lamb was outstanding and even Nancy liked it although she is not usually a fan of lamb:February_20__30_2013-02-20_18-48-04_DSC_9768

At this point we were definitely slowing down, but more courses were on their way. Next up were two different kinds of Spring Rolls—baby back pork spring rolls with chipotle coleslaw and white truffle BBQ sauce; vegetable mélange spring rolls with cilantro, chipotle coleslaw and sweet and sour sauce:February_20__24_2013-02-20_18-42-32_DSC_9762

And our last dish was the Painter’s Mignon—a perfectly cooked medium-rare filet mignon for each of us along with five different accompaniments served in what looked like a painter’s palette dish:February_20__37_2013-02-20_19-12-05_DSC_9775This included mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and mushrooms as well as a wine reduction sauce that was so outstanding I wanted to take a gallon of it home with me!February_20__39_2013-02-20_19-14-46_DSC_9777

And we were not finished yet—dessert was next. Our waiter came out with a silver-domed tray revealing our dessert menus:February_20__57_2013-02-20_19-33-56_DSC_9795

On the tray were four multi-sided cubes. Opening and turning a cube revealed the different dessert choices including doughnuts, cupcakes, cake, ice cream and even a surprise dessert. Three of us went for the Silver Bullet, which held three different flavours of ice cream, and my friend Hugh went for the cupcakes. Here is the Silver Bullet:February_20__61_2013-02-20_19-52-46_DSC_9799

The cupcakes were presented in a lunch box complete with four cupcakes, sprinkles and a piping bag for applying the icing:February_20__65_2013-02-20_19-52-59_DSC_9803February_20__73_2013-02-20_19-53-31_DSC_9811February_20__71_2013-02-20_19-53-22_DSC_9809February_20__69_2013-02-20_19-53-17_DSC_9807

Here is a short video showing the Disco Shrimp in action plus our dessert menus and Hugh’s cupcake decorating skills: Qsine video

And just when we thought we were done, out came “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Here’s our waiter with chocolate-covered strawberries planted in a field of real grass:February_20__77_2013-02-20_20-06-46_DSC_9815

Everything about Qsine was fun and lighthearted. We all had some great laughs and the presentation of the various dishes was so creative. Even the lighting in the restaurant was done with whimsy with lamps bolted to the ceiling:February_20__56_2013-02-20_19-31-31_DSC_9794

Was this meal worth the $40 per person surcharge? Absolutely! Would we attend another specialty dining event on Celebrity again? Without a doubt!

Kudos to Celebrity for delivering this thank you card to our stateroom the following day:February_20__13_2013-02-28_14-13-30_DSC_8046February_20__22_2013-02-28_14-14-24_DSC_8055

This was without a doubt one of the best culinary experiences of my life.