Set on the shore of the award-winning Le Méridien Beach Resort and Spa, Maya offers a modern twist on popular Mexican classics. After being revamped earlier this year to complement the look and feel of Maya New York, this restaurant now ushers in a new multi-dining and lounging experience for guests, building upon the strengths that made the eatery a popular destination for UAE residents and visitors alike. Guests are welcomed into the two-storey restaurant and lounge, where warm terracotta hues add vibrancy to a space already pulsating with Mexican flavour. Elegant Aztec-style art lines the walls, surrounding a warm and inviting dining area. Outside the restaurant a bridged pond leads to a large wrap-around terrace with its own bar area. Here, guests may dine in cooler evenings in a captivating location and enjoy the breeze from the Arabian Gulf just a few steps away.
Surrounding the entire complex is an elegant Mexican-style garden. Perched on the top of the restaurant is the new lounge – a signature element that will delight each visitor to the restaurant with its beautiful views and unique ambience. A serene waterfall greets those who decide to enjoy the outdoor seating area, which overlooks the hotel’s lush beach. The vast lounge centres around a world-class bar, where guests can enjoy a whole host of signature beverages. Here, patrons can enjoy the cool sea breeze accompanied by the rhythms of the resident DJ. The lounge also boasts comfortable indoor seating, where guests can savour cigars from Latin America.
The Chef Richard Sandoval Growing up in Mexico City, chef Richard Sandoval would join his grandmother in the kitchen and gather around her large table with his family to enjoy lively Mexican feasts prepared from scratch. From his grandmother, he learned to respect fresh, authentic, ingredients and to create the vibrant flavours that turned family dinners into celebrated events. Meanwhile, his restaurateur father – owner of Madeiras in Acapulco and Villa Fiore in Mexico City – imparted lessons in service and restaurant management. These early influences inspired Sandoval to enrol at the Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation, he gained the attention of New Yorkers with his contemporary French restaurants, Savann and Savann Est. Soon, though, he returned to his first love – the Mexican food of his childhood. In 1997, he channelled his passion into Maya, his flagship Modern Mexican restaurant in New York. Today, Richard Sandoval Restaurants is a leading culinary group comprised of over 30 contemporary Latin restaurants and concepts worldwide, featuring cuisines such as modern and coastal Mexican, Latin-Asian, Colombian and Peruvian. The group has locations all over the USA, as well as in Dubai and Qatar. Over the years Sandoval has received numerous awards, including Time Out Doha’s Best Seafood restaurant for his Pampano eatery, and Time Out Dubai’s Best Latin American restaurant for Maya.
Ingredients 4 corn-fed chicken breasts 200ml mole sauce 800g cilantro rice 12 slices of fried plantain 10g roasted sesame seeds Salt and pepper to taste 4 cilantro leaves
For the cilantro rice 500g long grain rice 50g white chopped onion 800ml chicken stock or vegetable stock 15ml corn oil Sea salt and pepper For the mole sauce 25g roasted peanuts 25g roasted, sliced almonds 25g roasted walnuts 25g roasted sesame seeds 20g roasted, seedless chile ancho 20g roasted seedless pasilla chilli 20g roasted seedless mulato pepper 2 medium-sized white onions 4 garlic cloves 5 cinnamon sticks 2 cloves 5 plantains 3 pieces Mexican chocolate 80ml honey Sea salt
Method For the roasted chicken cazuela • In a hot saucepan, cook the chicken breast until it’s golden brown in colour. Then finish in the oven.
• After cooking, slice the chicken breast and place the cilantro rice in a casserole dish with the meat on top.
• Top with the mole sauce and garnish with slices of fried plantain, roasted sesame seeds and cilantro leaves.
For the fried plantain • Slice the plantain either with a knife or mandolin.
• Put the plantain in a hot saucepan with butter. Cook the plantain until it’s caramelised.
For the cilantro rice • In a pot, heat the oil and cook the onions until caramelised.
• Add the rice and stir for 5 minutes.
• Add the chicken or vegetable stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to boil.
• Reduce the heat and cover the rice with foil, check the rice about 15 minutes later.
For the mole sauce • In a big pot with water, place all the chillies and bring to the boil. Reduce water until it fills half the pot.
• Blend the chillies and then strain with a fine chinois to produce the paste and remove the skin of the chillies. The paste should be quite thick and red. Set aside.
• Fry all the plantains until golden brown, caramelise the onions and garlic and in a pot with water mix with all the nuts, cloves and cinnamon sticks. After this blend the mixture through a fine chinois to produce a brown paste.
• Boil the mix of nuts for about 30 minutes, while stirring to avoid burning the contents.
• Add the paste of the chillies and cook for another 30 minutes. Then add the Mexican chocolate and honey before seasoning with salt. Keep stirring to stop the mixture from burning. The final colour should be dark brown. Season with salt if needed.