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Qsine onboard the Celebrity Cruises – Eclipse

by Debra C. Argen
Qsine Restaurant - Celebrity Cruises - Eclipse
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Celebrity Eclipse - Qsine Soupe and Souffle - Photo by Luxury Experience The restaurant Qsine, located onboard the luxury Celebrity Cruises – Eclipse cruise ship, is a play on the word, cuisine, which clearly defines its focus on being "uniquely unordinary." Chef Jacques Van Staden is the man behind the innovation of menus presented on iPads, where wait staff are "Culinary Tour Guides", Sommeliers are "Grape Connoisseurs," and innovative food presentations are all part of the delectable culinary experience.

Edward and I had an outstanding dinner at Qsine onboard the Celebrity Cruises – Eclipse cruise  ship in November 2010, and were definitely impressed with its creative non-stuffy approach that breaks down inhibitions and allows diners to have fun and become participants in the culinary experience opposed to merely being spectators. 


Even the décor is fun, whimsical lamps with pleated shades hang upside down from the ceiling, ivory one-armed throne chairs, and ornately carved dark wood chairs upholstered in black silk flank dark wood tables inlaid with lighter wood dressed with orange and brown placemats, and square orange acrylic napkin rings. A wall of windows overlooking the ocean provides a reality check that you have not fallen down the rabbit’s hole like Alice in Wonderful.  

Qsine is about "leaving preconceived notions of dining behind … (where you can) … dig right in … try new things …" sharing the experience and the food, where their motto is "caring is sharing." With this is mind, we eagerly began our culinary experience with guidance from our Culinary Tour Guides, Charnae and Thabi, who like the chef, hail from South Africa, as we played with our iPad menus. Using the icons on the iPads, we were able to select a cocktail from the menu with the recipe noted, select a bottle of wine with in-depth label information and tasting notes, and select our food.  

Thabi and Chamae -Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse -  photo by Luxury Experience
Culinary Tour Guides Thabi and Charnae

Edward and I began our Qsine experience by making our own Sidecar cocktails at our table with the necessary ingredients presented to us on large trays laden with shakers filled with ice, chilled martini glasses garnished with extraordinarily long orange twists, and vials holding cognac, lime juice, and Cointreau. We dived right in, expertly mixed the cocktails to our liking, did a little "shake, rattle, and roll," and poured our cocktails into the martini glasses. The fun had already begun!  

Debra making a cocktail - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury ExperienceEdward making a cocktail - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Debra and Edward Mixing Cocktails

Our first sharing experience began with hot South African pot rolls sprinkled with oregano and presented in a black cast iron pot, followed by Disco Shrimp, which consisted of Bouillon Poached Tiger Shrimp, Avocado, Tomato and Celery, Cocktail Aioli and Crunchy Toppings, presented in a glass bowl over a bowl filled with ice and a blue "disco" light cube. 

South African Pot Rolls - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience  Disco Shriimp - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
South African Pot Rolls                            Disco Shrimp              

An especially lovely seafood discovery was Lava Crab, consisting of Alaskan King Crab, Sweet Yellow Corn & Scallions, Kataifi (shredded, crispy filo pastry), and Old Bay Lobster Sauce. I really loved the play of textures and spices in this creative dish.  

Lava Crab - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Lava Crab

Using the Wine icon on the iPad, we selected a Morandé Reserva Merlot, 2008, 14% abv, from Casablanca Valley, Chile, which was a medium-body, deep red aromatic wine with dark fruit, chocolate, and spice on the nose, with a lovely finish with hints of vanilla on the palate that paired well with our diverse selections of our "culinary tour."  

Our Culinary Tour Guides next took us to Asia, where we experienced Baby Back Spring Rolls with Chipotle Coleslaw and White Truffle BBQ Sauce, and Vegetable Mélange Spring Rolls with Cilantro, Chipotle Coleslaw, and Sweet and Sour Sauce. The spring rolls were wrapped in newspaper, presented standing in a specially designed holder, accompanied by sauces presented in squeeze bottles, and the colorful and spicy coleslaw presented in a square glass bowl. Varying textures, flavors, and the "art of the squeeze" made this another excellent tasting experience.  

Baby Back Spring Rolls - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Baby Back Spring Rolls

From Asia, we "traveled" at least by palate to Mexico, with Taco "Royale" made with Black Angus Sirloin Steak, Unordinary Tacos, Caramelized Onion-Poblano, and Mortar Pestle Guacamole. What made this fun and "unordinary" were the shape of the rectangular tacos with flat bottoms created for the specially designed tiered taco holder, the accompanying squeeze bottle sauces, and the fact that Edward made the guacamole for us using the mortar and pestle provided to mash the avocados and tomatoes with lime juice, garlic, and sour cream.  

Taco Royale - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Taco "Royale"

We continued with Treseviche, three light and refreshing ceviches presented in small glasses, Tiger Shrimp and Bay Scallops with Lemon Juice, Tequila, Cilantro, Tomato & Jalapeño Oil; Salmon with Yuzu Citrus (an Asian citrus fruit), Cucumber, and Vodka & Basil; and Sea Bass with Lime, Red Onion, Choclo ( a type of large grain Andean corn), Avocado, and EXVOO (extra virgin olive oil).  

Treseviche - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience

Another favorite of the evening was the Lobster Escargot Fritters with Parsley-Garlic Butter Sauce, presented on a long, thin, rectangular escargot plate, perfect when paired with the South African bread to dip in the sauce.  

Lobster Escargot - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Lobster Escargot Fritters

From Mexico, we journeyed to "America" with Soupe & Soufflé a delicious yin yang pairing of chilled soups, Celery Root, Green Pea with Mint, and Tomato Basil, and hot soufflés of Crab and Asparagus, Lobster and Yellow Corn, and Cheddar Cheese.  

Soupe and Souffle - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Soupe & Soufflé

The American experience continued with the Slider Party, deconstructed Grilled Kobe Beef Patties, Aged Wisconsin Cheddar, "Qsine Slider Sauce," Brioche Buns, and all the accoutrements, which guests assemble to their liking; and Painter’s Mignon, Filet Mignon with Palatable Pleasers.  

Slider Party - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Slider Party

Painter’s Mignon was presented on a large plate that resembled an artist’s palette, with "palatable pleasers" of sautéed mushrooms with red wine demi-glace, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese served in a glasses positioned as the artist’s "paints." 

Painter's MIgnon - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Painter’s Mignon

Chef Jacques Van Staden creatively captured the spirit of exotic India with the Taj Mahal with Palak Paneer (spinach and Indian paneer cheese), Veggie Samousa, and Chole (a spicy chick pea curry), accompanied by Papadam (a type of very thin and crispy Indian flatbread), and mango chutney.  

Taj Mahal - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Taj Mahal

Desserts were sweet surprises with playful names of The Cupcake Affair, Chocolate Tombstone, Cheesecake Tini, Bread Pudding, and Beignets – Doughnuts – Fritters. The Cupcake Affair was a selection of Red Velvet and Vanilla cupcakes with three pastry bags filled with peanut butter, chocolate, and strawberry frostings, along with toppings, which appealed to our "inner artist" as we decorated and personalized the cupcakes.  

Bread Pudding - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience  Cheesecake Tini - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
             Bread Pudding                              Cheesecake Tini

Chocolate Tombstone, described as layered Ganache, Nutella, Rice Crispies, and More Chocolate was a chocolate lover’s dream come true. Cheesecake Tini presented in a double glass bowl had a delicious little secret of pretty, pink cotton candy. Beignets – Doughnuts – Fritters were all things warm, fried, and sugared, served with caramel and fudge sauce.  

Chocolate Tombstone - Celebrity Cruises - Qsine - Eclipse - photo by Luxury Experience
Chocolate Tombstone

For those that may be wondering if tried the entire menu, we did not, but we made a valiant effort. It was an evening where culinary innovation met playful, joyful abandonment, where taste, style, and service by a team of gracious professionals made for a very memorable dining experience.  

Read Chefs’ Recipes where Chef Jacques Van Staden shares a few of his creative recipes.  

Read about Celebrity Eclipse in the Destinations, Restaurants, and Spas sections.  

For information on the Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Cruises, Inc. please visit the website: www.CelebrityCruises.com.   

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises - Qsine Qsine
Celebrity Eclipse
Celebrity Cruises, Inc.
Cruise Reservations:    1-800-647-2251 
Website:                        www.CelebrityCruises.com 

© December 2010. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved. 

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