Sylvain Debois is the chef of the Restaurant Carolina – awarded with 5 diamonds of the American Auto Association (AAA). So, my expectations were accordingly high and I must admit, they were – too a high degree but not completely – fulfilled.
Once you were seated, greetings from the kitchen were sent: Frozen asparagus with truffles, croquettes made of bechamel, tomatoes on puff pastry and yet another little something I am not entirely able to remember. While the greeting from the kitchen was already a nice surprise a little unpleasant surprise happened. One of the greetings fell when the waitress served it which can absolutely happend and she handled it professionally, picked it up and said she would bring a new one – which never happened. Only when I asked for it after about 10 minutes she said that she will bring it – she had just completely forgotten about it.
In any case, the service which was then provided by the waiter assigned to our table, Cesar, was great. We were served fresh bread and of course able to choose from a range – the parmesan bread with caramalized onions was a blast.
In order to warm up before the actual dinner, a soup from the kitchen was brought – made of “poro” and potatoes with a balsamico reduction. The soup had an intense and delicious taste and the little sour effect of the balsamico reduction just made it perfect to start.
I then decided to go for the “Tasting Menu of Sylvain Debois” (about 800 MXN; plus 700 MXN for the wine service) – the first course was a “cubierta de jalea de jamaica, terrina de higos confitados” – basically it was a foie gras with hibiscus flower jelly, confit figs terrine, copper salt, pepper and toasted brioches. The foie gras was absolutely delicious and the hibiscus flower jelly which came with it just made it great. The combination of all the ingredients together in combination with the very surprising wine choice by the Sommelier, Alberto Hernandez, a Moscato d’Asti, was a great start into the evening.
The “Sopa de mariscos, ravioli de camarón al jengibre y cilantro” (seafood soup, shrimp, ginger and cilantro ravioli) was a fine and sound dish but it was not exactly in the same league as the foie gras but still good. The wine choice, a Pinot Grigio, fit the soup well as it was nicely dry and not overwhelming the taste of the soup.
The third course catched up again with the first course, a “filete de róbalo en sabayon de champagne, puré de perejil y verduras salteadas” (center cut filet with champagne sabayon, parsley puree, baby mix vegetables). The fish had the right mixture of juiciness and dryness, the champagne sabayon on top of it provided it with this light and subtle second taste which made it great. The caviar on top of the champagne sabayon gave it a little extra effect but would not have been necessary. The parsley purree was delicious, the vegetables perfectly steamed and luscious and the dried beetroot chips provided the crunchy effect. The wine, a Bianchi from Argentinia, fit well but it could as well have been a light red wine in my opinion (although I am biased here as I am more into red wine).
To digest and to give the stomach a break, a lemon sorbet was served. It served its purpose but was pretty plain boring.
At least the main course, a “lomo al sartén con “vol-au-vent” de morillas, prensado de espinacas y salsa de chile pasilla” (pan fried tenderloin with morels ”vol-au-vent”, spinach pressed roll and pasilla sauce) continued on the level of the first and third course – the meat was tender, delicious in taste, the spinach was good and the morels were delicious. The accompanying wine, a Chono from the Valle di Maipo (Chile), 2009 was a great choice again – definitely fit the course and was absolutely to my gusto.
After the main course, a so called “pre-postre” (pre desert) was served – a crema catalana made from orange and served with ginger. The pre-postre was good, and a nice start to the desert round (unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture).
The last official course of the menu was “fondant de chocolate con helado de pistache” (chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream). The chocolate fondant was well-made and the pistachio ice cream tasty – only I am not a huge fan of chocolate but still, it was definitely good. The “Seleccion da Familia” (Edwards vineyard, Chile, 2008) was again a great selection to the desert.
To finish off our dinner, macaroons were served with different tastes: pistachio, orange and raspberry. The macaroons were nice but were sugary – I liked the idea but they were definitely too sweet (and honestly, the original is better).
Overall, the tasting menu of Sylvain Debois is a great idea to try when you are dining at the Restaurant Carolina but the seafood soup and the sorbet were just somehow not playing in the same league as the other dishes which is a pity because I am sure one could make those on the level of the other dishes.
The prices are – mostly – reasonable. The price for the menu is fine, the price for a bottle of water too (0,5L, 80 MXN) but charging 130 MXN for a double espresso even beats Swiss prices and the coffee was of rather mediocre quality – that part is definitely a rip-off!
Other than that, the atmosphere in the Carolina is definitely nice and if you get a place close to the windows you can see the beautiful sundown and parts of the beach which provides definitely an amazing view. The service – as mentioned before – was great (besides the little incident in the beginning) and the sommelier definitely knows what he is talking about. So, in my point of view, dining at Restaurant Carolina once while staying at the St. Regis is definitely a must – and hopefully there will be a few minor adjustments (seafood soup, sorbet, price for a double espresso) and I will gladly come again.
St. Regis Punta Mita
Lote H4 Cond Maestro Ramal
Carretera Federal 200, km 19.5
63734 Punta Mita (MEX)
Tel.: +52 32 92 91 59 57
Fax: +52 32 92 91 58 01