Get Tiki with it! This restaurant at the Grand Hotel Excelsior is a summer must-try
Hotel guests and visitors are welcome – and spoilt for choice.
Few things are more rewarding on a hot summer’s day than sitting under an umbrella close to the sea, with a drink in hand, tucking into a fresh and delicious meal, all while enjoying beautiful views. Tiki Bar & Restaurant at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, located right by the hotel’s large pool and overlooking the sea, ticks all these boxes.
Greeted by Head Chef Melvin and Chef John, my guest and I were in superb hands from start to finish. Chef John, who personally recommended and prepared our plates, satiated us with a well-balanced assortment of meat-based, vegetarian and fish-based dishes to tuck into, all bursting with the kind of Mediterranean flavours we love.
For starters, I had the warm octopus salad, which featured seared octopus, roasted cherry tomatoes, romesco sauce and herb oil. The dish was colourful, wonderfully presented and delicious – the octopus so fresh that Chef John joked it was probably caught just a few metres away from where we were sitting.
My guest’s starter, the pan roasted Barbary duck breast with caramelised hazelnuts, figs, mosto cotto gel and leaves, was also top notch. The delicate flavours were perfectly balanced, as was the texture of the tender duck, the crunchy hazelnut, and the refreshingly sweet fig.
For seconds, we tucked into two plates of pasta and a plate of risotto. The saffron, mussels, Parmesan cheese and bottarga risotto had what the Maltese call toghma ta’ bahar’ (taste of the sea), with the extra richness of a creamy risotto, making it a mouth-watering dish. My guest, meanwhile, tucked into the vegetarian garganelle with asparagus, baby spinach, sundried tomatoes, leeks, garlic and pine nuts – an unlikely option for a meat-lover, but a definite winner. The clever combination of a handful of ingredients delivered the most mouth-watering flavour!
I’ve got a weakness for prawns with pasta, which is why the third plate – tagliatelle with prawns, courgettes, preserved lemon, tomato fondue, garlic and white wine – was my favourite. Everything about this dish was just right – especially the juicy prawns – and the aftertaste of the zesty preserved lemon was the perfect ending to this course.
While waiting for our mains, my guest and I took a stroll around the pool area, and it’s fair to say that patrons of the Grand Hotel Excelsior are left wanting for nothing.
Blue Ocean Bar, located on the other end of the pool from Tiki Restaurant, is the perfect spot for an evening drink and sharing platter, which guests can enjoy within one of the bamboo huts that line the water’s edge. There are also outdoor BBQ dinners on Wednesdays and Saturdays by the water's edge, and for those who prefer to dine inside, there are various buffet themed nights at the Admirals Landing Restaurant within the hotel.
Back at our table, we were swiftly presented with the third and last course – I opted for fish, the pan fried meagre, caponata and herb oil, while my guest chose the roasted lamb rump with salsa verde, aubergine caviar and jus. Despite being pretty satisfied until this point, we didn’t leave a drop in our plates.
The light and fresh taste of the fish contrasted nicely with the sweet and sour caponata, making it the perfect accompaniment. My guest, on the other hand, only had words of praise for the lamb, which was juicy, tender, and full of flavour.
All in all, I’d definitely recommend Tiki Bar & Restaurant – not only was the food prepared with passion and precision, and the service attentive and warm, but it offers the complete package to guests looking for a breezy and picturesque place to dine throughout the summer.
Other restaurants at the hotel include Admiral’s Landing and Spice Island, all with gorgeous sea and pool views.