Research has sufficiently proven the beach is therapeutic. Thankfully, we are blessed with some of the best beaches in the world. Cooks Maldives is located on Hulhumale’ Beach and run alongside their guesthouse, Island Beach House.
The story of Cooks starts with two talented friends; Mohamed Naseem (Waka) and Ahmed Jailam Hameed (Jailam), Managing Director and Executive Chef respectively. Their journey began inside the canteen of Billabong High International School in Male’, where they started selling a Kulhimas Wrap. It is not surprising that they came up with this since their specialties are fusion inspired.
As my colleague and I stepped into the restaurant with cozy furniture and a lovely ambiance, we were greeted by the very friendly Waka who suggested that we have a cold drink to quench our thirst. I chose to go with a fresh pineapple juice which had a good consistency and was flavorful. We were told that a 2 Rufiyaa discount is applicable to customers who opt out of using a straw. The gesture itself is popular among a lot of youth and is a good first step to establishing the place as eco-friendly.
The first thing on our platter was the popular kulhimas wrap. Kulhimas and cheese always seemed like an unusual combination to me but it was surprisingly tasty and the strong cheddar cheese hit the right spot. I felt it was ideal as a quick bite along with a soft drink, or simply their bottled water. Yes, you heard correctly. They provide bottled water made by an atmospheric water generator. The end product is revitalizing with low acidity levels and leaves you feeling hydrated.
I was very curious when I saw what was brought next – the Kangkung Tuna. Having never had anything besides chicken and beef with Kangkung, I was very pleased that it tasted much better than the skeptic inside me believed it would. Pair it off with some ginger rice and it is an excellent meal.
Next, we tried the Tom Yum Rice with spicy papaya salad and two giant prawns on the side. I had been very excited to try it since it first caught my eye on the menu. Fair enough – I was not disappointed. Tom Yum soup has always been a personal favorite of mine so it was equally satisfying that I got to devour this dish. The delicious papaya salad balanced out the flavors wonderfully. Another plus point is that the octopus pieces were plentiful and it was hard to miss them with every single bite I took.
Dhiyaa Hakuru remains a very tricky thing to make and store in optimum conditions. Jailam explained how the management at Cooks Maldives imports specially made dhiyaa hakuru from local islands to provide customers with the best they can offer. For the grand finale, I enjoyed their waffles with this unique topping. It is a popular favorite among regular customers. Trust me – when the waffle is freshly baked and still hot, adding some warm butter and dhiyaa hakuru gives you the best treat ever.
They also have a buffet every night in addition to a fantastic breakfast buffet spread in the mornings, with items varying from Continental to Maldivian specialties. Muesli with decadent fruits and other toppings, pancakes and waffles with a number of syrups, along with a live omelet station and hot station where different kinds of mashuni, potatoes, baked beans, etc are available. I am definitely sold!
That is not all – particular weekends are even more special. On Friday nights, local talent performs while you get to enjoy good food from the buffet or from the à la carte menu. They are also introducing a collaboration night with chefs from various restaurants and home-chefs on Saturdays. The whole purpose is to develop the relationship within the food industry and with chefs which will definitely have its perks and advantages in the future. I think this is a splendid initiative. They definitely keep one-upping themselves!
There are few more satisfying experiences than eating good food by the sea, and that is precisely the glorious experience Cooks Maldives will provide for you.
Words & Photos by Nashwa Saeed
Featured photo by Yusfa Atif