Mexico: known for tacos, guacamole and Margaritas galore. But what if I told you that you’ll find some of the best Pan-Asian and Indian dishes on the Baja California Peninsula.
Arbol is situated within the five-star Las Ventanas Al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort, where head Chef Anand Singh takes his guests on an exotic journey through the East while using the finest ingredients from the local Baja region.
Arbol is a feast for the senses. The location is idyllic; next to the resort’s pool with breathtaking views of the Sea of Cortez, and the luxurious accommodation.
The atmosphere is playful; coloured lights and lanterned tree sculptures abound, infinity pools surround the large round booth where I’m seated. An open kitchen lets you admire the culinary artists at work.
Some restaurants do their job, and some restaurants go above and beyond to take care of their guests. The experience at Arbol is seamless and no detail is overlooked. From providing valet parking to a wet towel before dinner, the staff are friendly, observant and genuinely happy to serve.
After a couple of tastings from the extensive wine list, I select a delicious glass of Domaine Olivier Guyot Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2016 from Burgundy, France.
The menu is surprisingly extensive, and there isn’t a dish that looks lacklustre. There are fresh starters such as Green Papaya & Prawn Salad and Thai Larb Pork. I’ve been told the curries are delightful, with your choice of meat, vegetarian and seafood.
Los Cabos is known for its seafood, something Chef Anand has done an excellent job at highlighting on each part of the menu. There’s the Raw Bar, with a selection of oysters, sushi and sashimi.
Wok and tandoor and charcoal oven delights round off the menu with refined dishes such as Seafood Bami Goreng, Chicken Malai Tikka and Wagyu Tenderloin.
To start, there’s a dish from the chef: foie gras, fried plantain and chilli yoghurt paste. Its spicy, curry flavour definitely gets the tastebuds tingling and is a pleasant start to the meal. As the sunset begins setting over the horizon, I can feel it is going to be an unforgettable evening.
Next, the Baja medium oysters are a must-have. They arrive on a bed of ice and a sparkling flame in the centre adds to the presentation. They’re incredibly fresh and perfectly complemented by ponzu, shallot vinegar and mignonette sauces.
The excitement is contagious, as other sparkling flames are lit around us with others enjoying this same dish.
Unable to pass on sashimi, I try the yellowfin tuna accompanied by avocado, jalapeño, pickled Granny Smith apple, ponzu and garlic. It’s an exquisite combination.
The Stir Fry Wagyu Beef and Seychelles Style Octopus curry arrive with a side of butter garlic naan bread. The beef is tender and delicious, tossed in black pepper, oyster sauce and lemongrass. The octopus curry is my favourite dish. It’s heavenly; so good I want to savour every last morsel of the sauce.
Finally, the delicacy I’ve been waiting for, the crème de la crème of seafood: Live Caught Local Red Lobster with saffron yuzu bearnaise and sautéed mushrooms. Together a unique umami flavour develops around a superbly cooked lobster that crumbles onto my fork.
To finish, I choose a divine signature dessert called Stone & Arbol with white chocolate raspberry, mango jelly and lime cream, as well as the Pannacoco with chocolate, lemon mousse with passionfruit, assorted sorbets and caramelised pineapple.
On my last mouthful of mousse, fitting with the explosion of flavours I’m tasting, a firework display is set off on the seashore. No part of Arbol is subtle. It’s theatrical, and that’s what makes it unique. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve ever had.