Coco Collection, the specialists in creating truly enchanting, boutique luxury resorts on some of the most beautiful islands in the Maldives, has partnered with Colin Clague, the award-winning Executive Chef of Rüya Dubai, for a “very special chef residency” that would bring Turkish cuisine to the dining tables at Coco Bodu Hithi. Chef Clague will be creating two fantastic dinners for guests at the overwater seafood restaurant, Aqua, on August 11 and 15 as well as an exclusive masterclass on August 14.
Since its launch in 2005, Coco Collection has crafted two award-winning five-star destinations – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Coco Bodu Hithi. Each celebrates traditional Maldivian architecture and ambience while offering a distinct and extraordinary experience of the Indian Ocean paradise.
The Bodu Hithi Island is located in North Malé Atoll, just 40 minutes from Malé International Airport and yet seems a world removed from the hustle and bustle of modern life. The rhythm of life at Bodu Hithi is dictated by the lapping of the waves and the swaying of the palm trees.
The Bodu Hithi resort is designed to offer Maldivian charm with high-end amenities, generous space under thatched roofs, sleek design and luxurious comfort, private pools, outdoor decks and showers. The resort offers four types of villas. The Island Villas are beach-front villas nestled among tropical greenery. Off the eastern tip of the island, standing gracefully over the waters of the Indian Ocean are the Water Villas and Escape Water Villas. Facing northwest are the uber-exclusive Coco Residences, an enclave on water, forming a distinctly select wing of the resort.
In addition to a host of wellness and outdoor activities, the resort has six restaurants and bars serving a variety of exquisite cuisines that draw inspiration from the Maldives and further afield.
One of these is the overwater seafood restaurant, Aqua, where Chef Clague will be unveiling his exclusive 6-course tasting menus that will reflect his creations at Rüya Dubai; showcasing Anatolian flavours but with a local twist.
The menu on August 11 will feature: for amuse-bouche, Borek, filo-wrapped feta cheese with carrots, zucchini and walnuts; for pre-starter, Levrek, seabass sashimi with mustard, apple, and shaved radish; for starter, Yer elmasi corbasi, Jerusalem artichoke soup with smoked eggplant purée; for seafood, grilled tiger prawn with pickled fennel butter; for mains, 300-Day Grain Fed Beef, Turkish coffee and isot rub and crispy za’atar potatoes; for dessert, Firin Sutlaç, traditional Anatolian rice pudding with raspberries, rose ice cream, and lokum.
The menu on August 15 will feature: for amuse-bouche, Isli patlican, smoked eggplant purée with walnuts, crispy coated eggplant crisps; for pre-starter, Tuna, raw tuna, antep pistachio purée, puffed Turkish chilli rice; for starter, Lamb Manti, tomato, roast garlic, yoghurt, and thyme; for seafood, Zeytinyagli ahtapot, marinated grilled octopus, black-eyed beans, and apple vinaigrette; for mains, 24-Hour Slow Cooked Short Rib, Turkish chilli BBQ glaze, spiced konya chickpea purée; for dessert, Orange & Almond Revani, orange and almond cake with orange caramel, and fennel ice cream.
Chef Clague’s Maldivian adventure resulted from his success at Rüya Dubai, a new Anatolian restaurant concept, that debuted in 2016. Rüya, meaning ‘dream’ in Turkish is an enticing concept that fuses a vibrant restaurant, lounge and bar experience together by exploring the extremely rich history and diversity of Anatolian food, a cuisine that draws inspiration from a number of culinary traditions.
Chef Colin, recounting his experience, said: “I first moved to the Middle East to open the prestigious Burj al Arab hotel, then later in 2007 to open Zuma Dubai, and never left! After Zuma, one of the restaurants I opened was the award-winning Q’bara restaurant, a modern Levant restaurant, serving modern interpretations of Middle East classics. Through Q’bara, I met my future business partners, Rasim and Umut Ozkanka, who said that this is exactly what they wanted to do with Turkish food, and that’s why we created Rüya. Our aim is to put Turkish food right up there with the other great food cultures of the world.”
Chef Clague, born on the Isle of Man in 1965, was inspired by his chef mother, who was also a passionate home cook. His other great influence came from the island’s fishing and farming communities. These influences combined to develop in him a keen sense for the quality of local produce and the seasonality of dishes. After graduation from culinary college, he earned his credentials in London, working under some of the most renowned chefs in town; following which he was invited to Dubai to be a part of the founding team at Burj al Arab.
Chef Clague’s Zuma restaurant won two Best Restaurant awards in 2004; by Square Meal and Tatler Food Awards. In 2014, Qbara was also a double winner; judged Best Newcomer at TimeOut Dubai Awards and Best Restaurant of the Year at Arabian Business Awards.