On our second night, we decided to dine at Amber, the most upscale restaurant at the resort. It's only open for dinner, and dress code is pants for guys, which is saying a lot since the standard attire are beach shorts and sandals.
Hubby and I hopped on a golf/taxi cart and went on our way along the serpentine road to Amber. The ambiance there is what you'd expect from upscale New York jazz bar, with dim lighting and a live one-person saxophone band to set the mood.
I started off with a guavapple mocktail, and hubby got another apple-ly cocktail as well. His was just grenadine with some apple slices, whereas mine was actually a cocktail with guava and apple juices. The waiters must have been pretty puzzled at 1. Our non-preference towards alcohol, because he kept on asking us if we wanted something to drink, and 2. At our age, because he kept on asking us if we were graduates or newlyweds (neither of which we were).
Every meal starts with an on-the-house one-bite appetizer. I honestly don't remember what this was, but it probably tasted as good as it looks in the picture.
And of course some house bread. Here I had some whole-wheat bread with paprika butter, which tastes an awful like regular butter.
Every evening there is a daily special menu. We got the house special salad of the day, garnished with a mostly inedible cheesestick. I must say that although the presentation is excellent throughout the resort, the taste is a bit lacking at Amber.
Next came the octopus carpaccio with pepper oil and coal crumbles, whatever that is. It tasted excellent, the soft tenderness of the octopus complementing its savory crunchy garnishes, and Hubby agreed it's probably the best octopus anything he's ever had.
I think I double-upped on the appetizers, getting a cauliflower soup with marjoram and truffle essence. It was served in another smaller container at first, and the waiter poured it over the bowl and drizzled it with truffle essence. The result was a happy face on my bowl, which pretty much summarized the experience. Here's another look:
The soup was creamy, but not overpoweringly so. The truffle oil added a nice smoky texture to the creaminess, which I thought was nice because otherwise it would have been flat.
The best part while waiting for your meal is watching the chefs scurry around in the kitchen. Since we don't drink, we spent most of our time commentating on their every move like a sports game. "He gets the order, he grabs the order and bam he's heats up the grill!"
For my main, I got the quail risotto, which despite its lovely presentation was way too salt-laden. I almost couldn't finish it because each bite had enough sodium to garnish a truckload of McDonald fries.
Hubby got the grouper with citrics buerre blanc and cardamom sweet peas. Again, lovely presentation but the grouper was so tough that every bite became a struggle. The only edible thing on his plate was probably the rice and asparagus.
Thankfully dessert came to the rescue. I got the hazelnut opera cake, and despite my best efforts to convince Hubby to get something, he didn't want to gain the extra pound (or two).
I really liked the UN Chair-style presentation on the opera cake. The white chocolate was lovely as the chair backing, while the cake was lusciously rich. But what I liked the best was figs that added a nice kick on the side. The cake works well with a cup of strong coffee to wash it down.
All and all, our first experience at Amber was not the best, but presentation and service-wise it was pretty much at the top 1% of all of our dining experiences.