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It’s 2024, and I’m starting the year with one of the island's best and most hyped-up restaurants, Infini.
It’s my second experience at a chef’s table restaurant, and you know what? My job does not suck at all. As you may remember from my last chef’s table blog post, it’s not just about the food. It’s a culinary adventure from start to finish, and I am ready for the adrenaline rush.
Infini opened its doors in November 2020 during the pandemic. As mentioned in my previous post, “Local in the spotlight: From skater boy to rockstar to renowned chef? The possibilities are infinite…”, borders were still closed to visitors, and Infini was supported by locals and fully booked every day! Many are still loyal and visit repeatedly. Infini, meaning limitless possibilities, is Chef Urvin’s vision for the future, not only in his cooking but also in his life. Infini is his playground, where his past experiences, training, and expertise come to life.
Infini is a modern, elegant, yet charming restaurant. Located on the Blue Residences property, it feels private and upscale. Exactly what you would expect from a fine-dining restaurant. Upon arrival, I was greeted outside on the terrace and offered a glass of sparkling while the other guests and I waited to get invited inside.
As we went inside, it was like entering another world. From the cosy outdoors to modern, pristine indoors. Spotless! The black, wavey walls felt futuristic and perfectly fit the rest of the interior. The kitchen is centre stage and has three long high tables surrounding it. It felt like we were at a play. The restaurant is beautifully designed, with bold colours, low lighting, and artistically decorated, while the middle is bright, shiny stainless steel with neutral colours. We sat at our designated spots while Chef Urvin and his team introduced themselves to each table. You can see all the prep work they’ve been doing in the background, and I got excited for the 3.5-hour show to start.
You can see the focus in their eyes, but there’s also passion behind that focus. Even the servers were incredibly knowledgeable about everything happening in the kitchen and were all helpful and friendly. But hey, that’s Aruba for you, so not surprising!
We started with a slice of sourdough bread made by T2 Pan, a local business founded by a biology teacher turned baker. It was served with a butter confit, topped with an orange and tomato powder. It’s crazy how something so simple can be so good. But yes, carbs and fat = good.
FUN FACT: INFINI CHANGES ITS MENU 3-4 TIMES A YEAR AND PLANS TO CONTINUE THE LOCALLY SOURCED TREND.
The first official dish is an amuse-bouche made of luxury mushrooms. Again, they are locally grown by mushroom queen Rachel (Farm A Cure Fungi). You must be seeing a theme here… #Local ;) The mushrooms canele, a sweet little cake but slightly savoury too was terrific. This thing was bursting with flavour, and I’m not just saying that to be cheesy. The shiitake spirulina, with a crisp made of onions and a fresh fruity jelly-like topping, was like nothing I’d ever tasted before. Again, it’s not sweet or savoury, but somewhere in between. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s the only way I can describe it.
Dish numero dos is a salad… Haha! No, not the one you’re thinking of. You could say that Lechuga (lettuce in Papiamento) is a salad straight out of a top-secret lab. It was the best and most interesting salad I've ever eaten, made with local spinach and other greens grown by the Happy Ponics Foundation. One of the unexpected ingredients? Pop Rocks. You could hear the popping while you eat. The lime cream and sorbet made for a refreshing little dish. Each bite was different. Sweet, sour, bitter.
FUN FACT: RACHEL (FARM A CURE FUNGI) IS ALSO ONE OF THE BEST TATTOO ARTISTS IN THE CARIBBEAN AND HAS DONE URVIN’S TATTOOS.
Number 3 was the first collection dish, meaning a dish that consists of more than one plate. The kroepoek/prawn cracker topped with a cold parmesan sea shell awakens the senses. The scallop tartar topped with green apple and pear slices again was a unique combination. It's a nice mix of sweet and salty. The beautiful plates are also locally made by Ceramicas by Rani.
This next one, number 4, was the one that took the longest to put together. Another collection dish, and this time, the tweezers were really put to work! The shrimp and corn soup dish was delicious. Again, these are flavours I would have never thought to put together. The weird but surprisingly good addition? Popcorn. I couldn’t decide whether it was warm, cold, sweet, or savoury. Really interesting! It was accompanied by a puffy bread topped with baby shrimp from New Zeeland, a delicacy in the Netherlands, and a tiny cornbread to dip in the corn soup.
Course number 5, Terrine di Porco, is layers on layers of flavour. Literally. Fifteen types of bacon, potato, jams, sweet potato, ham, and ginger, all stacked into thin layers of crispy bacon goodness. The jus was poured at the table. Listen, this was bacon with bacon flavouring, topped with bacon sauce and an extra dash of bacon. Love!
The last savoury dish, course #6, was my personal favourite. I am a steak and potatoes girl, after all. The “hutspot” of tenderloin, potato, and crisps made of kale, on a bed of jus was on point! The flavours and textures complement each other well.
FUN FACT: THE FORMER SOMMELIER FOR THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND HAS DINED AT INFINI AND SAID IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST EXPERIENCES SHE’S HAD IN THE CARIBBEAN.
Guess what time it is! Dessert time! The first round, course number 7, was precisely what a Caribbean island would taste like if it were a dessert—creamy, tropical, mango, and coconut goodness. The milk leaves were exquisite.
The last course, number 8, is a collection dish. A baba ganoush, made from Petite Greens eggplant, with aloë vera concoctions and ice cream. Flavours I have never tried before! Next is a hazelnut cylinder, well balanced, crunchy outside, and creamy inside. And lastly, a pannacotta ice cream that has just enough sweetness.
Infini is the perfect example of hospitality in Aruba. The service was terrific! You can feel the passion and pride each team member carries. You can tell this team is on a whole other level of professionalism, and they all love their job! It really shows. This tells me that the leadership is strong, and the passion is infectious. You can’t fake that kind of commitment.
The night ended with a cute parting gift—a goodie bag with a delicious blondie and some information about the menu and restaurant.
According to many chefs who have eaten at Infini, it is a 2 Michelin-star quality restaurant. I have no doubt this is the case from what I saw and heard. With the effort put into each menu and the research behind each, this ambitious and once rebellious chef is hungry to put Aruba on the culinary map. “Caribbean food is more than just curries and jerk chicken,” he says, and he plans to continue pushing the boundaries and showcasing Aruba’s diverse culture through his dishes. Infini is a must-have on your culinary bucket list. I can guarantee it will be on mine whenever they change the menu!
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Xa On The Go is a series in which I explore, taste, and experience all Aruba has to offer, one spot at a time. Join me as I try some of the most hyped restaurants on the island, experience fun activities, and explore Aruba’s wonders.
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