Thursday, 26 September 2013

Dining on P&O's Azura

I recently returned from a 7 day cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on P&O's Azura. And it was utterly amazing even if the food wasn't always.

This was my first time on one of this company's ships and I hadn't been expecting a huge deal, it's title evoking images of crammed ferries and an altogether lower grade experience. I couldn't have been more wrong.

The cabin, for a start, was by far the most spacious and comfortable of any ship I've been on (which are to date RCI's Oasis of the Seas, MSC's Splendida and Celebrity's Constellation). It's difficult to get a sense of it from this picture but it was more like standard hotel room than a ship cabin, including as it did a large walk in wardrobe area and an abundance of storage.

We made the mistake of going to ship's premium restaurant Seventeen on the second night, a mistake as it was so good the perfectly adequate dining room seemed lacking in comparison. It really was was exquisite;  a proper old world dining experience and a real treat (at a cost of £28 per head but worth every penny). However its extremely dim lighting meant that I got no pictures worth posting.We actually went twice, enjoying chateaubriand, prawn and crayfish cocktail and other classics done very very well.

The Glasshouse is all about wine but they also serve British style tapas dishes and a few mains at an extra charge (for the lunch in the picture above we picked three little dishes each at the reasonable cost of £5 a head. They included mini scotch (quails)eggs, ham terrine with toasts and other lovely things.)

Michelin chef Atul Kochhar's Indian restaurant Sindhu was what we had been looking forward to the most but actually turned out to be the main let down of the week. There were never more than 9 tables occupied in this huge room any time we passed and it is clear why.

This was a spiced beef salad which was ok( if a bit fatty.)

My main was lobster with 'kedgeree' and a sauce that tasted strangely old and stale, like it had been made with out of date spices (perhaps not so unthinkable when you consider the incredibly slow trade they seem to do). This restaurant tries to deliver a British -Indian fusion. I say 'tries to' because curried mushy peas are not something that should ever be served anywhere!Awful! They were one of the sides we got together with some naan bread which seemed to be from a packet (strangely sweet and hard and definitely not authentic). Apparently the main man himself was due on board for the next cruise so perhaps he whipped them into shape....

In addition, the main dining room was way more hit than miss and the buffet was consistently good - so much so that I found it very hard to break my newly acquired four meal a day habit on my return home. P & O is now right up there with Celebrity as one of my favourite cruise companies. I loved it.

(And PS Norway, I had absolutely no idea how beautiful you really are!.)

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