Understand that there is dining; and there is a dining experience. You get the latter at the Jaya at The Setai. Actually, it’s a dual threat experience – Jaya is one of the top South restaurants and The Setai is one of the best luxury hotels in South Beach and South Florida.
Let’s focus on Jaya, a sleek, beautifully appointed (inside and the recently renovated courtyard) restaurant that takes its inspiration from India, but also features main and side dishes from Japan, Thailand, China and Vietnam.
In other words, if outstanding Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine is your fancy, Jaya at The Setai is a must-dine experience. Executive Chef Vijay Veena, a native of India who has spent the past 11 years at Jaya, pays close attention to detail, so much so that each international dish – be it Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai or Vietnamese – has its own chef from that specific country.
Jaya’s menu includes appetizers such as Hamachi, Wagyu Tataki and off the charts Naan Bread. Main courses include Lobster with Green Curry; Chicken Makhani; and Wagyu Strip Sirloin.
Each is a highlight on its own, but the star of Jaya’s menu is the Essences of Oak Macallan Experience, that is the epitome of partnership between a Spirits company and restaurant.
“Macallan approached us because it was trying to work with specific locations,’’ Veena said. “The Experience is here at The Setai and at the Rainbow Room in New York.
The four-course Experience that begins with Craft Old Fashioned from a Macallan Rare Cask with a Spice-Blended Infused Maple Syrup. Then move to Jaya’s Signature Steamed Scallop and Shrimp Dumplings with a Truffle Cream Emulsion and Shaved Truffles.
The third course is the clincher – well worth the $150 per person price. It’s a one-half Smoked Peking Duck infused with Macallan through a smoking process, using the Sherry oak cask that matured the scotch. The Duck is immaculately presented under a cover that when lifted, gives guests a sensory preview of the tastes to come.
“We wanted a dish that paired well with Macallan, which is why we chose the Duck. Our recipe is very unique. It’s made with Chinese spices, cilantro and cinnamon and brined over night.’’
Even the Experience desert has a Macallan twist. Each of the amazing Chocolate Truffles is
infused Macallan 12 Double Cask to create a chocolate marriage unlike any other.
“We’re very proud of the Experience, as we are with everything on our menu,’’ Veena said. “Lately we have served a lot of the Experience. People are anxious to try the pairings, as well as the Macallan.’’
Feature Photo: Smoked Peking Duck