7 Secret Off-Menu Dishes to Order Now

For diners who are in the know, chefs at Four Seasons hotels and resorts will prepare dishes and drinks far too special for the menu.

by Katie Chang

From Egyptian folk dishes to seasonal vegan fare, chefs at Four Seasons hotels and resorts are personally preparing their favourite dishes for guests in the know.

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.

Italian comforts in St. Louis

Treat yourself to Chef Gian Nicola Colucci’s exclusive house-made tagliatelle dressed with juicy heirloom tomatoes.

When a regular guest – who happened to also be a weary, homesick business traveller – asked for a simple pasta dish after a long workday, Chef Gian Nicola Colucci at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis prepared a house-made tagliatelle dressed with juicy heirloom tomatoes and bright basil picked from his garden on the Sky Terrace. The light, vibrant dish caught on so quickly by word of mouth that Colucci eventually came up with another secret off-menu item, eggplant Parmigiana. The chef learned the carefully guarded recipe from a 75-year-old woman on the island of Capri, and says, “I have never tasted a version better than hers.”

Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis

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Tom Yum Soup in Bahrain

For a twist on the traditional Asian dish, this Tom Yum Soup combines local Bahraini prawns with more traditional ingredients like crushed chilli peppers.

To satisfy a special request for a spicy, sweet and sour Thai soup, Chef Brian Becher at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay created a special Tom Yum Soup for one of his regulars, going beyond the traditional dim sum and authentic robata-style grilled items he normally creates at re Asian Cuisine, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. It was so well received that word spread quickly among select guests.

The soup is an enticing mix of traditional ingredients, like lemongrass, Kaffir lime, galangal and crushed chilli peppers, but with local Bahraini prawns. “Their freshness and natural sweetness is one of the reasons the dish has resonated with our regulars,” Becher says. Known for his creative twists on traditional Asian cuisine, the chef says he enjoys the challenge of special requests.

Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay

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Vegan choices in Scottsdale

Chef Mel Mecinas’ vegan dishes, such as this asparagus risotto, add playful and healthy alternatives to the menu at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North.

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

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Traditional delights in Egypt

Chef Emad Ebeid of Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza enjoys preparing labour-intensive folk dishes for guests, such as molokhia and chicken.

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

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Exclusive caviar in Beverly Hills

The mother-of-pearl dish bearing delicious and decadent Kaluga and Osetra caviar is made exclusively for Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel).

To cater to the sophisticated palates of locals and visiting guests alike, Chef Thomas Bellec of Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (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. 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, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel)

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Aged rum in Koh Samui

The Aged Zombie at CocoRum includes a potent mix of three rums that have been aged for 60 days.

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

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Upside-down pancakes in Lanai

Made with brown sugar and fresh local pineapple, the upside-down pineapple pancake is a favourite of regular guests at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.

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

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Hideaway in Abu Dhabi

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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