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Viking Sea: The Kitchen Table
Friday, May 12, 2017  



We thought it only fitting that our first Cruise Ship Dining Review article focuses on one of the most unique dining experiences we have ever had on a cruise ship. The Kitchen Table on Viking Sea certainly fits that bill. First of all, The Kitchen Table is only offered once per cruise and for a maximum of 12 guests. It is very exclusive. And, exclusivity comes at a price: $199 per person, to be exact. However, for that princely sum, guests have the opportunity to accompany the Executive Chef on a shopping excursion to a local market where items are purchased for that evening's meal.

Our visit to The Kitchen Table did not include the shopping excursion, but the other guests at the table said it was memorable, complete with port wine tasting and a sampling of thinly-sliced, cured wild boar.

The Venue

The Kitchen Table is located on Deck 1, sort of wedged in between Manfredi's Italian Restaurant and The Chef's Table. However, guests arrive at The Kitchen Table through The Restaurant on Deck 2. We were escorted down a special staircase to The Kitchen Table. A tall table in the center of the room has been set for eight guests this evening. 



A prep station has the Chef's mise en place ready for the evening's meal preparation.



The back wall is lined with induction cooking stations atop which all manner of skillets, pots and pans reside.



Soon, Executive Chef, Eric Torralba, enters to greet tonight's guests.


Chef Torralba greets guests at The Kitchen Table

The Experience

It does not take long for the action to begin at The Kitchen Table. After guests are seated, the kitchen becomes a bee hive of activity. Our sommelier pours each of us a glass of Veuve Clicquot rosé champagne. At 43.00€ per bottle, this is a definite upgrade from the "house" sparkling wine! A basket filled with a selection of fresh baked bread is passed around for us to enjoy while sous chefs put the finishing touch on our first course.


Chef Eric puts the finishing touch on our calamari first course

The sauteed calamari is served atop a rich, garlicky mixture. The calamari is delightfully crisp, yet tender.



Under the watchful eye of Chef Eric, sous chefs swirl around the kitchen preparing more dishes for us to enjoy. A new wine is poured before each course and the Sommelier gives a description of each premium wine selection.


Beautiful premium wines are included at The Kitchen Table

Our second course consists of four deliciously fresh sauteed shrimp served atop an even more delicious tomato salsa. The shrimp were bought fresh today during the shopping excursion, so it does not get any fresher than this!



Great conversation ensues and the time seems to fly by. A two-and-a-half hour meal seems to only last half that long when combined with new friends swapping stories over great food and wine. Chef Eric takes time in between courses to converse with us and describe the dishes and the preparation. I find myself jumping out of my chair multiple times to snap photos and shoot video.

Our next course is  a bowl of steamed mussels with spinach and mint in a buttery, garlicky broth that is amazing. Neither Rickee nor I are big fans of mussels, but we ate all of these!



As if we had not enjoyed enough seafood, a meal in Portugal would not be complete without at least one Cod dish. A beautiful filet of Cod topped with a Parmesan breading was light and accompanied with sauteed spring onion, also purchased during the morning's visit to the market.



While we enjoy the cod, a sous chef works on a stock for our main course.



Our main course, a roasted veal filet, is served with a veal reduction and roasted vegetables.



I lost count of the courses after five. But, I clearly remember the final course. Pasteis de Nata is a sublime dessert consisting simply of cream-filled pastry shells purchased at the market bakery earlier in the day. No real prep is involved other than creating a beautiful presentation.



The Verdict

Is The Kitchen Table worth cost? I suppose that depends on the person. If you consider yourself a "foodie", then definitely, yes. Even if you just love an excellent meal with good company in a unique, private kitchen, you should consider an evening at The Kitchen Table. A bespoke meal with premium wines prepared by a master chef is well worth it. We found The Kitchen Table to be one of the most unique dining experiences we have ever enjoyed anywhere in the world. For us, The Kitchen Table gets two thumbs up!


Originally posted on: 4/22/2017
     
     
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2 Comments
 
CRUISEREPORT EDITOR
 
@Laura, I would suggest that you book this as soon as you get on board the ship. Space is VERY limited. Go to World Cafe on Deck 7, port side and there will be a desk where you can reserve your space.
 
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 12:00 AM  
 
 
LAURA MILLIET
 
Dear Viking Cruise Ship Line, I will be taking a Cruise to China with your company on August 12th.- August 25th, departing from Bush IAH on United; direct to: Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian. I am very much looking forward to The Kitchen Table; if it is avaiable on this cruise.
 
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 12:00 AM  
 
 
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