Luxury at Passion by Martin Berasatugui
Playa Del Carmen is a town known for its amazing beaches, kristal clear waters and fewer American tourists then Cancun, not fine dining. If you do a bit of research there is a couple and Passion is one of them. Situated in the luxurious and enormous Punta Esmeralda resort a bit outside the city the restaurant is as luxurious as the hotel.
Having spent two weeks eating only Mexican food and a lot of tacos from the street vendors, I was curious to see how I would feel about Spanish.
We were about to find out from five starters where one turned out to be a recurring theme. Fois grais. The fried frois grais with salmon was worth highlighting, rich and delicious. The strawberry foam was nice and refreshing whereas the croquet was too rich for my taste. Tartar and watermelon did not leave a huge impact.
For the first course of the menu was a small salad with sous vide octopus and green strawberry gel. Simple and refreshing.
The next dish they again turned to fois grais and too many other ingredients to mention. Great techniques but not amazing
The next dish was however delicious. A sous vide egg yolk with beetroot. A beautiful serving as well.
A very rich dashi was up. This dish both impressed and disappointed. It was served in a very deep bowl that was actually hard to eat from. To me this showed a lot about the restaurant. Esthetics was prioritized over function. A shame as it was actually very delicious.
The last main course was however a bit of disappointment. American wagyu, which was both overcooked, cold and quite bland in taste. A shame not to treat the produce with bigger respect. Served with a truffle foam and fois gras it was also simply too rich.
Mango “margarita” was a great palate cleanser before the first desserts. Very refreshing and well executed.
A fake lemon consisting of white chocolate and lemon foam was served a long with refreshing tequila granite. Quite nice and a beautiful dessert.
Classic chocolate dessert was served to finish the meal. Quite good and showed that they did not need complex techniques to serve good food.
Very early on it was apparent that visual presentation (Instagram friendly) of the food was important at Passion. This was definitely also the case for the last serving of the evening. A very beautiful Jackson Pollock and Alinea inspired serving of petit fours.
About 3,5 hours after we sat down in the beautiful dining room that would match any 3 star Parisian restaurant the evening had concluded. The food was good but not amazing. For me I was greatly surprised to see so many foams and sphered as I thought they had gone out of style 5-7 years ago. I am 100% sure that the restaurant will blow away every non-foodie with its beautiful presentations, complex dishes with many textures and the formal service. As and experienced foodie I was not impressed and my personal preference is a more personal and informal service then being addressed Mr. Atzen the entire night.
Was it a nice evening? Yes, it was a very romantic evening with my girlfriend, which in fact ended with the waiter giving her a beautiful red rose. Will I come again? Probably not, but I am more curious to take a closer look at the Spanish cuisine which seems to making a comeback on the culinary scene which we d