The news buzzed around town, Seagull café house had reopened after a makeover. One of the staples of the capital life, it had a well-deserved reputation for serving the best homemade Italian ice cream in town; combined with its outdoor café area it was one of the most popular spots in Male’.
Our interest piqued, we head over to the cafe. The newly built upper deck area is visible from the road. Walking in through the spacious ground level, we see as ever the ice cream counter takes pride of place near the door. In a city where trees are felled left and right for urban development, the owners had taken pains to accommodate the old Jambolan tree, building the roof in a way that its branches could jut out of it. The date trees are adorned with orchid flowers, and orchids placed on the tables complete the look.
It is early in the night yet the place is alive and buzzing. Our group of four settles for a table upstairs that overlooks the road.
The place has the feel of a café in a resort, the décor is rustic with dim lights, further enhanced by the liberal use of wood. Eagan Badeeu’s triptych paintings of island life hang on the walls, adding to the visual appeal of the café.
The crowd is diverse, young women chatting away, couples grabbing a quick cuppa and families with children eating downstairs, letting the kids run around in the open area.
Two menus are handed to us, a regular one and another for ice creams.
The drinks list is extensive: milkshakes, smoothies, still and sparkling water offer ample choice to those who like variety. Hazelnut milkshake (Rf 48), tropical smoothie (Rf 50) and an affogato (Rf 90) is served while we ponder on what to have for dinner.
Hazelnut milkshake is smooth and creamy with a subtle nutty flavour, while the affogato was a strong shot of espresso topped with ice-cream – a surefire winner with coffee lovers for its vibrant and deep flavor. The tropical paradise smoothie makes one recall hot sunny days by the beachside, local flavours blended with milk and yoghurt and finely crushed ice.
The cafe has a bit of something for everyone. An assortment of paninis, sandwiches, burgers, Asian cuisine, share the space with top quality Australian beef and a selection of local fish.
The last page is a kids menu, a rarity in Male’.
We decide on mustard chicken with French fries and veggies (Rf 95), grilled salmon with rice noodles and bokchoy (Rf 190) and lastly Thai spicy cuttlefish salad( Rf 50).
The food arrives fast.
The chicken breast is grilled with subtle mustard seasoning, creating a culinary harmony though it is cooked just a tad too long. A contrasting sauce would have completed the dish to perfection, as chicken breasts tend to become dry easily.
The large and chunky French fries and vegetables that arrive next portray the essence of the chef’s rustic style of cooking.
One of the gems of Asian cuisine, Thai cuttlefish salad is the next to go under our knife.
Thai cuisine is famous for its aromatic flavours and subtle aromas, which awaken the senses with the balancing act of sugar and red hot Thai chillis – the yin and yang of Thai food.
The salad was a letdown. It lacked the limy chilli flavor and the fresh tangy kick.
The salmon is served pipping hot and cooked medium rare. It’s cooked to perfection and is easily the best salmon we had tasted in Male’. The salmons’ bright pink center when combined with freshly squeezed lime juice is heavenly. The accompanying rice noodles, bound with sweet chilli sauce and tiny shreds of bokchoy, is a bit bland. This promising dish lacked a bit of punch, and better presentation would have done justice to the salmon.
The highlight of the dining experience was a taste of the creamiest, most flavoursome chocolate ice cream found in Male’. Seagull Café House still has what it takes to retain the crown for making the best Italian ice cream in town.
Seagull Café House
- Food 6/10
- Atmosphere 7/10
- Service 6/10
- Price 6/10
- Overall 6/10
Seagull Café House is located at Fareedhee Magu. It’s open from 9am to 12am except on Fridays, when it is open from 4pm to 12am.
Naby Mariyam is a Le Cordon Bleu chef graduate, and works as a cookery trainer in Sydney, Australia.