When you want the absolute best experience of SENSES Fine Dining, we strongly recommend that you add on the wine pairing option to your reservation. When you have the perfect wine to complement each dish, your meal goes from just amazing to pure magic. We put a considerable amount of time and effort into crafting our ever-changing wine list, constantly searching far and wide for artisan wine-makers around the world who share our passion for excellence while respecting the land. Our latest addition to the wine list is one that we’re very excited about: The Brunello di Montalchino 2012 by Casanova di Neri.
Casanova di Neri
It was in 1971 when Giovanni Neri first purchased vineyards in the hilltop township of Montalcino, located about 80 km south of Florence in Tuscany, Italy, with its breathtaking views of the Asso, Ombrone and Arbia valleys. Montalcino derives its name from a particular kind of oak tree that was once prominent in the area, and which played an important part in the development of the area’s flagship wine. Casanova di Neri winemaking is rooted in the traditions of Brunello di Montalcino but has also innovated within the traditions to develop its own unique approach. Its philosophy is one that is built upon a solid foundation of deep commitment to and respect for the land. Giovanni began with the Cerretalto vineyard in eastern Montalcino, following thereafter with the acquisition of the Le Cetine, Pietradonice, Podernovo, Fiesole, Poderuccio and Spereta for a grand total of seven vineyards comprising 63 hectares (155 acres). As the company website puts it: “The diversity of their soils, exposures, microclimates and of the ages of the vines create the identity of our wines.”
The variety of grapes grown in Montalcino came to be known as Brunello, which in Italian is the diminutive of bruno or brown, thus “little brown.” The grape growers of the area for a long time thought it was their own unique grape variety, but in 1879 after extensive study, it was determined that Brunello and Sangiovese were the same variety, and the latter name won out for the official designation and can be traced back to its first documented mention in 1590, but had obviously been cultivated well before then, possibly dating all the way back to Roman times since the name comes from the Latin sanguis Jovis or “blood of Jupiter” (a roman god). After the name clarification in 1879, Brunello then came to be used as the designation for the red wines made from 100% Sangiovese grapes. Casanova de Neri wines are a testament to “…how Sangiovese in Montalcino can give can give exceptional unrepeatable results…”
Brunello di Montalcino 2012 Vintage
Brunello wines that are young are known for having a fresh fruity flavor likened to strawberries with just a hint of spiciness. The wine easily takes on oak or even tarry flavors when aged in barrels. Not as aromatic as many red wine varieties, the flavor profile is often described as including sour red cherries with earthy aromas and tea leaf notes. The 2012 vintage of gained a spot on theTop 10 Wines of 2017 by Wine Spectator, and was described by the magazine’s lead taster for Tuscany wines as consisting of “Effusive aromas and flavors of raspberry, cherry, floral, mineral and tobacco are at the center of this linear, vibrant red.” The 2012 growing season was one of climatic extremes, with a colder-than-normal winter and spring followed by a hot, dry summer and a perfect September produced wines that somehow balance all the complexity, turning those extreme conditions into a strong suit. At Casanova di Neri, the Brunello di Montalcino wine is aged for 42 months in large oak casks of 3,600–8,600 liters (950–2,300 gallons) and then another six months in the bottle before being made available.
The 2012 vintage of this Brunello di Montalchino by Casanova di Neri has turned out to be a real show-stopper, and we’re pleased to make it available at SENSES Fine Dining!
We think we’ve created a truly wonderful culinary adventure here in Aruba, but don’t take our word for it! Below you can read what people are saying about SENSES Fine Dining – and these are all verified customer reviews posted on TripAdvisor. It’s also worth noting that that we have 27 reviews so far on TripAdvisor and they ALL gave us the top ranking of 5 bubbles! Here are 11 of those reviews we found particularly helpful in explaining what SENSES Fine Dining is all about:
“On Monday, my wife and I decided to try Senses. We were very happy we did. The theme is a tasting menu consisting of 6-8 courses, predetermined by chef Kelt. There are also wine pairings if one is interested. I went with the pairings while my wife decided on a glass of Chardonnay. Each course was inventive, utilizing different cooking techniques. One of My favorite was the lobster ravioli in a leek sauce. It was superb, filled with chunks of lobster. The cooking was such that you could taste every single ingredient in each of the courses. It was a great way to end our vacation. The coat of the dinner alone was $100. You might think this was a bit steep but I feel it was well worth the money. If this restaurant was in NYC, the price would be more than double. It’s worth a trip to Aruba just to dine at Senses.” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: Great new restaurant
“Last night (Monday) was the 3rd night Bas and Kelt were open with their new restaurant Senses. We love food and really had to try it, normally I do not like to try new restaurants. When we came in, they welcomed us with a nice glass of prosecco and introduced themselves. Bas, he is the Maitre, is very knowledgeable about the wines and paired them perfectly with the food Kelt prepared for us. The pictures show what we got, he uses different cooking techniques (he made a powder of bacon and sous vide preparations). Since they are new, we understand that they are still working on their routine but we were impressed with our dining experience so, we decided to make a reservation for April again. Looking forward trying new dishes and wines.” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: One of our new favorite restaurants on Aruba
“4 of us dined at Senses 2 weeks ago. We have all dined at the other restaurants on the island that do 5 courses & wine pairings & we all appreciate good food. Senses was slightly different due to the fact that Chef Kelt explained how (in brief details) he prepared each item. Being a “foodie”, I greatly appreciated the time & effort put into every dish. The wine pairings were spot on! If you enjoy really good gourmet food, you will enjoy your evening at Senses. This is not an inexpensive meal but worth every penny. We plan on returning any time we return to Aruba. We were able to easily get reservations because it had only been open a few weeks. We anticipate having to call many months in advance the next time we visit as word will spread how very good the entire experience is here. Our new favorite restaurant in Aruba.” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: Fabulous dining experience
“8-course culinary explosions which will tantalize your senses. Each course is introduced by the chef himself, elaborating on the techniques and ingredients used. Wine pairing is optional but highly recommended. The host/bartender/sommolier/waiter entertains with funny and friendly chitchat whilst being knowledgeable and personable. The restaurant is stylish, yet it feels very cosy with its open kitchen. It almost feels like being at home with your mom preparing dinner. The quality products, the creative presentation, the well-chosen dishes make for an outstanding intimate culinary feast which will tantalize your senses.” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: Outstanding intimate culinary feast
“Senses is the latest in chef driven menus/restaurants in Aruba. We’ve been to the others in Aruba several times and this is another winner. Food was both very creative and tasteful. We enjoy being surprised with new courses and combinations of food that we would have never thought of – an incredible evening for the tastebuds!. They only seat 16 people per night so it’s imperative to make reservations well in advance. Fun night meeting and talking to the other guests between courses discussing the food and the wine, too. If you love food and trying new creative dishes this is your place!” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: A Culinary Feast!
“We are here while staying at Bucuti and lucked out because they just opened and we could easily get a reservation. This won’t last once the word gets out. This is a tasting menu concept like Carte Blanche. Kelt is the chef and the time and effort put into his cooking showed in the final result. Every dish was better than the one before. There was a red snapper dish with olive tapenade that was fantastic. The lobster ravioli (pictured) was the best. The chicken dish (also pictured was amazing. The chocolate mousse was so good as was the berry dessert (pictured). We left not feeling stuffed but pleasantly full. We don’t drink so I can’t comment on the wine, but Sebastian certainly seemed to know what he was doing. This was one of the best overall dinners I’ve had. Highly recommended!” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: Excellent food and an enjoyable evening
“We had a fabulous experience at Senses during our stay in Aruba. It’s a tasting experience of 5-8 courses, available for only 16 guests each evening. We have a number of dietary restrictions, and when we reached out to explain prior to reserving, we were pretty sure they would be unable to accommodate us, but we were dead wrong! For the courses that needed adjustment, we were as delighted with our creations as the other guests were with theirs. When we arrived, we were greeted by Sebastian, our delightful and attentive host. After we were seated at the circular bar to enjoy our own private cooking show, we met Chef Kelt, a culinary artist extraordinaire. Every dish gets close attention, and he takes meticulous care to ensure the look and taste are exceptional. Everything was delicious, especially the truly unique desserts! We will return any time we visit Aruba. Worth every cent!” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: Far surpassed our expectations!
“First time I have ever experienced this type of dining experience and my wife and I had a fantastic time. Bas Kruisselbrink and Kelt Hugo Maat did an excellent job entertaining us and preparing our delicious 8 course meal. The wine pairing was excellent also. It is just a unique experience and one that we will repeat the next time we go to Aruba.” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: A unique and fun experience!
“Each bite brought another gasp of amazement. The 8 courses were perfectly paired with wine from across the globe. This was our first ‘table’ experience, but the bar has been set tremendously high. Chef Kelt and host Bas are approachable and genuine. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, make this a must on your visit to Aruba.” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: A-Maz-Ing!. Wow!
“Great dining experience. Food and wine pairings were excellent. The food preparation and presentation were excellent. It was absolutely amazing what you can do with bacon, absolutely amazing. The wine pairings were well matched to each course. Like most all good restaurants you will need a reservation. We’ve done Kitchen by White on a previous trip and found Senses to be an equal or slightly better dining experience.” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: Excellent Fine Dining
“On our annual trek to the world’s most beautiful beach in Aruba, we always take a night out for a special treat, dinner at the tasting menu restaurant at Bucuti Beach Resort. This trip, we found that the Carte Blanche restaurant had moved from this venue and had been replaced by Senses Fine Dining restaurant. Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat and Maitre D` Bas (Sebastian) Kruisselbrink have continued the model created by Carte Blanche Chef Dennis and Maitre D’ Glen in the same space, serving only a limited number of guests at each seating at a bar surrounding and overlooking the kitchen for a very personal, face-to-face experience. A tasting menu of 5 to 8 courses (explained as 5 traditional courses plus some extras) is prepared while the guests watch and try to guess what is involved. The Chef then explains each course in detail after the food is placed in front of you and the Maitre D’ describes the accompanying wine (if you elect the wine pairing).
Although this restaurant is only 3 weeks old, we knew we were in for an interesting experience when, after being welcomed with a glass of Prosecco, we were presented with an amuse bouche consisting of a large, perfectly spherical ‘cherry’ that had been created by enveloping a ‘marble’ of foie gras in a coating of cherry gelatin. “How does he do that?” was heard from most of the guests. Our mouths were very amused by the unexpected textures and wonderful flavors!
Our first course of local red snapper had been prepared sous vide with a layer of olive tamponade replacing the skin, and the rendered and dried skin was added back to the composition as a crispy ‘chip’. The pairing with a Salvestrin Napa valley Sauvignon Blanc was delightful. The second course of lobster ravioli was plated over cubes of fennel root topped with a creamy chardonnay sauce, decorated with fennel blossoms, dill, and nasturtiums, and paired well with a 2015 Napa Valley chardonnay from Rutherford Ranch. A complex roll of chicken meat with pistachio nuts was cooked to perfection sous vide and topped with a glistening, extreme reduction of chicken stock, and accompanied by a small pile of ‘snow’ sprinkled with spinach leaves. The ‘snow’ turned out to be a pure white concoction of desiccated and powdered bacon!
After this delight we were given a granité au citron palate cleanser and invited to take a break.
Once again the Chef’s skill with sous vide cooking emerged with melt-in-your-mouth short ribs plated over fingerling potatoes in a bed of puréed peas, lapped with a beef bone reduction sauce and accompanied by a 2014 Melée Granache red from Tuck Beckstoffer of Oakville California. The desert course was actually two; a flower pot filled with intense chocolate mousse and a berry mousse ‘doughnut’ decorated with a desiccated strawberry ‘chip’, berries and flowers. Both were paired with a Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Porto.
Overall, the food reflected that modern blend of traditional French cooking (e.g., hours long reductions for sauces) combined with the newest ‘molecular’ methods of cooking (e.g., sous vide and freeze drying) to tickle all your senses, not just your taste buds. Perhaps that’s why the restaurant is called SENSES? For a three-week-old restaurant, this one tasted like success, so reservations will become harder to get quickly as its reputation becomes viral. The meal was unhurried, with plenty of time to talk to other guests and the Chef and his Maitre D’. Although I am sure I have forgotten some details and misidentified some components because the menu is not published, I and my companions left with very full stomachs, totally sated palates, and plans to do it all over again next year!” Link to original review on TripAdvisor: New Challenger for Best Tasting Menu Restaurant on Aruba!
Now that you’ve had chance to hear what people are saying about SENSES Fine Dining, isn’t it time for you to experience it for yourself? Book your reservation online at our website or call us at +297 586-0044.
Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat is happiest when he can utilize fresh ingredients as he exercises his unique culinary expertise. But what’s a chef to do when there are very few local farms? This is the case in Aruba, where local agricultural efforts are few and far between. In spite of this challenge, Chef Kelt still prioritizes fresh ingredients, including local and organic whenever possible. Below we’ll say more about this. But first, we have a confession to make: The featured image for this blog post probably made you think we are growing some of our own ingredients. That happens to be true, but the picture is actually showing one of our first creative desserts! It’s a special chocolate mousse recipe served up in a little terracotta planter with a sprig of fresh borage cress!
Sourcing Ingredients: Growing Our Own
We are excited to be growing some of what we use, and we do it right inside the restaurant. How is that possible? It is thanks to the high-tech equipment we obtained from Urban Cultivator. What we grow in-house depends on our current menu, and we’ll be changing our menu every two months. Right now, what we’re growing in the cultivator includes the following:
- Affilla Cress: This microgreen is related to the sugar pea and is valued for its unusual decorative shape as well as its sweet flavor.
- Borage Cress: This is a cucumber-flavored herb that originated around the Mediterranean. It has a lovely clean, refreshing taste with somewhat salty notes.
- Fennel: This herb is a flowering plant in the carrot family. It has yellow flowers and feathery leaves reminiscent of dill. Its flavor and aroma is similar to anise.
- Dill: Most people are familiar with this aromatic herb and its delicate, feathery leaves. It is in the parsley family
- Nasturtium: This is another flowering plant many are familiar with growing in flower gardens, but its tangy, peppery taste comes in handy in all kinds of dishes.
- Chives: Closely related to garlic, shallots, leeks and scallions, chives have an oniony flavor with hints of garlic.
- Lemon Basil: When it’s fresh, this herb has a distinctly lemon fragrance with a lot of sweetness in the background.
You’ll love how we use these microgreens in each and every dish you savor during your SENSES Fine Dining experience, and you’ll know we grew them in-house organically! In addition to unbeatable freshness, growing some of our microgreens means a smaller environmental impact since they don’t have to be shipped or delivered by vehicles – fewer carbon dioxide emissions is always a good thing!
Sourcing Ingredients: Cultivating Relationships with Suppliers
While growing some of our own microgreens is immensely satisfying, there are lots of other ingredients we have to source from places near and far, including the following:
- PUURgroenten: We get many of our other microgreens and mini vegetables from this Dutch company. Its products are top-quality and grown in a sustainable fashion indoors, with most of the power needed for its greenhouses coming from solar panels.
- Petite Greens Aruba: We’re also beginning to get some of our other microgreens from this local supplier right here in Aruba.
- Rungis Market: For our other vegetable needs, we currently rely on the world’s largest fresh produce market located in France.
Some of our fruits are coming from Colombia, most of our meats from the Netherlands, and seafood from Norway. We’re constantly looking to cultivate relationships with more local suppliers whenever possible, but it’s a real challenge in Aruba! So, in many cases we go with what we know best from our previous restaurant experience as we continue to look for new suppliers closer to One Happy Island!
When Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat and Maître D’ Bas Kruisselbrink were developing their concept of a fine dining experience, they had one simple goal in mind: To create an experience that would truly delight the senses of guests. It dawned on them that SENSES would therefore be the perfect name for their restaurant located in the world-renowned award-winning Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba. Here’s how SENSES Fine Dining delights all your senses:
SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of TASTE
Perhaps the most important of all the senses to delight in a fine dining experience is the sense of taste. Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat discovered his unique culinary passion is when he has the opportunity to take a classic dish, deconstruct its components, and then re-combine them in new and exciting ways. Trained in classic French culinary traditions, Kelt also allows his cooking to be enhanced by various places he has lived and worked, including Dutch, Norwegian and Indonesian influences. He is happiest when using ingredients of the finest quality – local and organic whenever possible, which is not an easy feat on an island like Aruba where surprisingly little agriculture takes place. He also prefers to prepare meats and proteins with the sous vide technique for maximum flavor. The magic of what Kelt accomplishes is in how you will be able to distinctly taste each ingredient in every dish.
SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of SIGHT
There are several different ways that SENSES Fine Dining delights your sense of sight. There is, of course, the sheer beauty of each dish that is painstakingly assembled with each component for maximum aesthetic impact. The results are dishes that look as good as they taste. But then there’s also the fact that you get to see the master chef at work, watching his culinary process in action and the assembly of each dish you will then enjoy in this exclusive fine dining experience. The say that “seeing is believing” and you’ll get to put that old adage to the test as you watch the magic happen before your very eyes.
SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of SMELL
Your sense of taste and your sense of smell are intimately intertwined. You’ve no doubt noticed that when you’re severely congested from a head cold, your sense of taste is changed and often diminished. This is why back in the day when children had to take bad-tasting medicine, they would hold their noses – to lessen how much they tasted. The various food smells that come with each dish will greatly enhance your sense of taste. This is because messages about taste and smell converge in your brain to bring about your perception of flavor.
SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of SOUND
Part of the SENSES Fine Dining experience is hearing from both Maître D’ Bas Kruisselbrink and Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat. This is not the kind of dining experience where everything interesting happens behind closed doors while you sit and wait for the food to magically appear out of nowhere. This is a face-to-face interactive culinary journey where the host and chef talk to you about what’s happening and why. Bas will make initial introductory remarks and explain the rationale of wine pairings and Kelt will let you in on the secrets of his culinary craft.
SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of TOUCH
You may be wondering how your sense of touch comes into play in a fine dining experience. If you’ve ever been turned off or on by how food feels when you put it in your mouth, then you understand exactly how it comes into play. The texture of food is surprisingly important to the overall effect, and you’ll find a diverse array of textures throughout your meal that will both surprise and delight.
Guidelines for Successful Fine Dining at SENSES
Here are somethings to keep in mind that will enhance your fine dining experience at SENSES:
- Doors open at 7PM, and we need everyone to arrive on-time in order to stay on track for the evening.
- We encourage you to take pictures during your dining experience to share with your social media networks!
- Please note that we do not serve children (due to resort rules, all guests must be 18+).
- Because of the exclusive nature of dining at SENSES, you will be required to pay a reservation fee of $40 per person to hold your space during a seating with a maximum of 16 guests. The price we charge for our 5-8 course dinner experience at SENSES including a glass of Prosecco is $100 per person, and the $40 booking fee will be deducted from that price on the final bill. Please note that you can upgrade your SENSES experience with wine pairings for an additional fee of $79 per person. We also make available a selection of cocktails, beers and wines (by the glass or bottle).
- If anyone in your party has food allergies, please let us know in advance to find out if we can accommodate them.
- Finally, please plan on enjoying your meal for at least two hours – we don’t want you to rush through this kind of unique dining experience.
We look forward to delighting all of your senses at SENSES. Book your reservation online at our website or call us at +297 586-0044.
Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat and Maitre D` Bas Kruisselbrink have combined forces to create SENSES Fine Dining, a brand-new exclusive restaurant concept located at the world-class, award-winning Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. They both hail originally from The Netherlands, but have lived and worked all over the globe, accumulating the knowledge and influences you’ll find on display in their culinary and cocktail creations. They set out to craft a fine dining experience that truly delights the senses, and they have succeeded. It begins by serving only a limited number of guests at each seating for a more exclusive experience. Everything you see, smell, taste, hear and touch will be of the highest quality. The cuisine at SENSES emerges from a solid foundation of classic French techniques fused with an innovative approach that transforms classic dishes into new creations that surprise and delight the palates of discerning guests. A fine dining experience of 5-8 courses at SENSES will make each guest realize that a single meal can be reason enough to come to One Happy Island from anywhere on the planet. We look forward to delighting you at SENSES!
Senses Restaurant Aruba
A fine dining experience of 5-8 courses at SENSES will make each guest realize that a single meal can be reason enough to come to One Happy Island from anywhere on the planet. We look forward to delighting you at SENSES!
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- Wine Profile: Brunello di Montalcino 2012 by Casanova di NeriApril 1, 2018When you want the absolute best experience of SENSES Fine Dining, we strongly recommend that you [read more...]