We may have already featured PER AQUUM Niyama in the Maldives in our Travel section, but we are so taken with the resort’s culinary options that we decided it warrants a second feature. Though they have many restaurants to choose from, our two favorites give diners the best of the sea and the banyan trees—quite literally, too.
Having opened in 2012, Subsix has garnered the luxury resort a lot of attention due to its unique underwater experience. Surrounded by ocean life, the seafood restaurant flips the idea of an aquarium in a way that actually puts the diners on display for the parrotfish and reef sharks. Found six meters (over 19 feet) below the Indian Ocean’s surface, Subsix can only be reached by boat.
“Subsix is the closest you can get to the reef without a mask or a wetsuit,” boasts PER AQUUM Niyama’s General Manager Dietmar Koegerl. Guests step down a three-tiered staircase to enter the dramatic restaurant floor, which features Italian chandeliers and Brancusi cabinets. Designed to mimic the ocean floor, bespoke chairs resemble anemones, capiz shells hang from the ceiling like kelp swaying in the current, and silver columns are meant to inspire graceful manta rays.
Their newest, Nest, gives the opposite experience with guests positioned six meters up in banyan trees. Guests walk along wood paths that weave through a forest to reach a spiral staircase that takes you up above the canopy to the treehouse/restaurant. Designed by Singapore-based Poole Associates, the multi-level structure features winding suspended paths, dining pods, and thatched huts. Tables are scattered throughout the huts, which feature vaulted bamboo ceilings and red lacquered accents. With views usually reserved for birds, Nest (get it?) quickly garnered a lot of attention—including being shortlisted for the Sexiest Design 2015 award given by LE Miami.
“My goal for this menu was to push and tease,” explains Chef Jayadi Suwito. “Guests will find dishes from Asia’s most celebrated cuisines like Thai, Cantonese, Japanese—but they will also get a chance to discover lesser known culinary traditions with must-try sensational dishes from places like Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar.”
Offering guests two very different experiences, Subsix and Nest are open at different times so check with PER AQUUM Niyama during the time of your stay. Both restaurants offer fixed menus for around $165 a person.