Around The World In 80 Plates with DFDS*

15 May 2018

If you've been here for a while, you'll know that I'm a huge foodie. If you've just stumbled upon this little corner of the web, hi, how are ya? I'm a self-proclaimed food lover that will try anything and everything at least once. With so much food and so many cuisines out there in the world, who knows what you might fall in love with! Variety is the spice of life and that's exactly what you get in DFDS's new concept restaurant, Explorer's Kitchen. I was lucky enough to be invited to board one of their ferries, try out their new venture and maybe try something that I've never had before. Stick around to find out how I got on, but be warned, there is major food porn ahead...

DFDS are the largest shipping company in Northern Europe and while they are known to carry freight across the world, they are famed for their ferry crossings and mini cruises. I did a bit of research before writing this post up and discovered that the company was set up in 1866, which just goes to show how reliable they are and their ability to evolve to meet with customer demands. Their fleet now sets sail from Newhaven, Dover and Newcastle to ports across Europe, such as Amsterdam, Calais and Dunkirk, so they're the perfect company to look at if you're considering a European holiday this summer. Now enough of the background information, let's get chatting about food.
As I mentioned, the Explorer's Kitchen is brand new to DFDS and it took the place of the Seven Seas restaurant, which is something that I have tried and loved. The pair of them were both buffet concepts, but Explorer's Kitchen has got something slightly more to offer. In the head chef's presentation, we heard how DFDS wanted to give the restaurant a fresh, new feel and talked directly to customers about what they want from a dining experience. Through collating all of the answers and looking at current trends, the Explorer's Kitchen was born and designed with the intention of taking passengers across the world through food.

I'm going to try and describe this in the best way that I can, but you all know that I'm a bit of a waffler, so bear with me. The buffet area of the restaurant is laid out almost exactly the same as with the Seven Seas restaurant - an open space with heated or chilled food stations around the edge and islands in the middle. However, in this new concept, each station is dedicated to a country or an area of the world, and there is a sign above them to indicate where you're eating from. For example, there was Mediterranean, American, East Asian and so on, and this meant that there was something different at each station instead of just your typical buffet food.
I don't even know where to begin when telling you about the amount of variety on offer. There was just so much to choose from and plenty of things that I'd never even heard of before. One of those was Kibbeling, which turned out to be a fish dish from Holland that I ended up loving! J was mainly drawn to the American section, which had mini burgers and chilli dogs, whereas I was more interested in the Mediterranean section that featured the most amazing Greek meatballs, paella and homemade pizza. If none of those grab your fancy, then what about teriyaki beef? Shepherd's pie? Spanish omelette? Spicy fries? There really was something for everyone and the staff were pretty quick to replace anything that ran out, so you don't have to worry about missing out! There was also plenty on offer for vegetarians and vegans, meaning everyone can enjoy what's on offer.
Of course, my favourite bit was the dessert island. I can always make room for a little bit of dessert and I'm so glad I did on this trip because there was so much to try! There was tiramisu, little peanut butter chocolate brownies, vanilla cream, little biscuits and some coconuty cakes that I can't remember the name of, amongst much more. You guys know that I just had to try a brownie and it was ridiculously good, particularly when paired with the vanilla cream. There was also a little ice cream factory sort of set up for kids (or kidults), so yet again, there is definitely something to take your fancy!
After a little walk around the ship and on to the deck for some fresh air, we both felt happily full and content. It's not often that you get to see so much choice all in one place, so we definitely went a little too hard on the food, but it wasn't anything that a little stroll through the decks couldn't fix.

To eat in this restaurant, it costs £18 per person, which I think is very reasonable considering what's on offer. You could pay more than that for a two course meal in a restaurant, so to be in a buffet where you can try what you want and eat as much as you like, £18 is not a big ask! Of course, this needs to be added on during the process of booking a ferry crossing or a mini cruise, but it's absolutely no hassle at all. Just a simple tick box! I've been looking at going back to Amsterdam recently, so when I get round to booking that, you'll definitely find me in the Explorer's Kitchen on the evening!

This meal was provided by DFDS in exchange for a blog post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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