From a flavourful soup in Bahrain to an expertly aged rum cocktail in Koh Samui, chefs at Four Seasons hotels and resorts around the world are known for creating secret menu items with their own personal flair. For a truly exclusive dining experience, guests in the know should order one of these by-request-only dishes or drinks during their next evening out.
Much of the inspiration for the menu at Cinder House at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis comes from Chef Gerard Craft’s love of South American cuisine – his beloved childhood nanny, Dia, introduced him to its flavours. Today, many of the wood-fired dishes at the restaurant are an ode to Dia. “As an adult, I now recognize how much care she put into everything that she made,” Craft says. “Dia had the ability to evoke a sense of comfort from simple, fresh ingredients, and that’s something I hope always translates on the Cinder House menu.”
One of Dia’s most comforting dishes is only available by request: Dia’s Cheese Bread, or Pao De Queijo, was on Cinder House’s opening menu but now is a secret favourite among Cinder House regulars. The warm, pillowy pieces of fresh bread are best served with prosciutto and lardo or as the perfect accompaniment to a warm meal after a long day.
Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis
It took 18 months for up-and-coming Bahraini Chef Lulu Sowaileh at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay to perfect her ramen noodles, experimenting with different textures and techniques until she was satisfied with the result. A change from the traditional dim sum and authentic robata-style grilled items she normally creates at re Asian Cuisine, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, the dish is served with dashi broth – made by slow-cooking fish bones, shitake mushrooms, bonito flakes and kombu and seasoned with tamari and sea salt – fresh prawns, black sea bass and clams, and garnished with a shoyu egg, crispy shallots, lime, cilantro, fresh scallions and sesame.
Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay
Chef Mel Mecinas’ off-menu, six-course vegan tasting at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North was originally prepared to accommodate a vegan guest, but it has become so popular that it’s no longer just vegans asking for it. Driven by which fruits, vegetables and grains are in season, Mecinas is constantly creating new dishes that are healthful, deeply satisfying and playful, too.
His pappardelle, for example, is topped with a silky sauce made of tofu instead of cream or cheese, while his tartare swaps out beef with toothsome, hearty tomatoes, which give a similar meaty effect. If you’d like to try one of his creations, like asparagus risotto, or are wondering what new vegan dish he’s concocted, all you have to do is ask.
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Zitouni at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza specializes in Egyptian cuisine, but there are two traditional dishes that aren’t on the menu because they’re so labour-intensive. For guests who prefer more rural recipes, however, Chef Emad Ebeid doesn’t mind crafting his koshari, a hearty blend of lentils, rice and macaroni topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions, or his rich oxtail stew.
“These are very ethnic folk dishes, mostly served in areas that are difficult to commute to by our guests, and also require special culinary preparations,” Ebeid says. “The challenge is producing a folk dish without compromising Four Seasons culinary perfection.”
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
To cater to the sophisticated palates of locals and visiting guests alike, Chef Samir Roonwal of Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel makes sure certain ingredients are always on hand, available to those who know to ask. Kaluga and Osetra caviar, for example, arrives in a dazzling mother-of-pearl set made exclusively for the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel. In addition, there are fresh truffles (white or black, depending on the season), which diners can request be added as an indulgent finish to anything from pasta to popcorn.
Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel
Tiki drinks are already enjoying a comeback, but at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui the trend is being pushed even further with barrel aging, which lends cocktails unusual depth and complexity. Available only by request, the Aged Zombie at CoCoRum bar is a potent mix of three rums that have been aged for 60 days in an American oak barrel.
“It sounds a bit complicated,” says head bartender Samart Khethong, “but the result is this wonderfully smooth cocktail.” If you’re a vodka fan and want to continue imbibing under the radar, order an avocado martini and watch what happens.
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
Though it was a breakfast staple at ONE FORTY years ago, the upside-down pineapple pancake has since been removed from the menu at Four Seasons Resort Lanai. But guests with a taste for its sweet flavour and fresh pineapple can ask for a special order. To make each cake, a ring of the local fruit is mixed with pancake batter, brown sugar and clarified butter, then baked for 10 minutes before the whole thing is inverted onto a plate. The result is fluffy, not too sweet and distinctively Hawaiian.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai
An off-menu item is one thing, but Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi is taking dining secrecy to a whole new level with a hidden speakeasy that you have to find before you can even get the menu.
The newly launched Hideaway, a secret extension of Butcher & Still, can be reached only by knowing an insider at the property and locating the unmarked passageway. When you do secure access, you and 17 of your closest friends will be rewarded with your own private venue, with plenty of decadent eats, spirited cocktails and cigars on hand. The room’s retro design is inspired by Al Capone’s prison cell and his infamous 1928 bulletproof Cadillac.
Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island
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