Forget peanuts, popcorn or boring bowls of crackers. Luxury hotels around the globe have upped the ante on what qualifies as a bar snack. Be it glasses of bacon or dried bresaola and olives, these five hotels prove that you don’t have to wait for mealtime to experience a kitchen’s best anymore.
Curry-roasted pecans, aged gouda and a glass of bacon, Montage Beverly Hills
Take a look at the back of a 10-pound note in Scotland and you’ll see a black-and-white image of copper stills once used to distill the nation’s famed Macallan Scotch whisky. The Five-Star hotel’s exclusive bar, £10, features a host of liquors, including a single malt aged for 64 years and priced at $64,000 per shot. While you sip, the bar lays out snacks to complement the whisky. A 26-month aged gouda, curry-roasted pecans and a glass filled with house-smoked bacon are just the salty-savory combination to cut the dry and sharp taste of Scotch.
Fresh edamame and roasted ‘ulu chips, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
After a long day in paradise, life gets even better at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star resort’s ‘Ulu Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge. You are greeted with a complimentary dish of fresh edamame sprinkled with natural Hawaiian sea salt. The steaming soybeans are served with housemade ‘ulu chips. ‘Ulu, or breadfruit, is a prickly, football-shaped Hawaiian fruit. Sliced thin and roasted to perfection, ‘ulu chips offer natural energy without the greasy fingers of a potato chip.
Bresaola, Italian mixed olives and arancini di riso, Bulgari Hotel & Residences, London
Set in London’s tony Knightsbridge neighborhood, Bulgari’s sleek Il Bar has a 30-page menu of cocktails, spirits and wine before its short list of finely edited snacks. One of its most appetizing, the aperitivo platter, includes bresaola, a dry-aged salted beef much like prosciutto, as well as mixed olives, Parmigiano-Reggiano and arancini di riso, cheese- and rice-filled croquettes. This Italian platter is so good that you’ll probably want to make it your dinner.
Steamed carrot cake, Meadowood Napa Valley
Hidden deep in California’s Wine Country, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Restaurant at Meadowood serves up unique bites to complement its wide selection of vino. And even when whites and reds aren’t in the equation, innovative chef Christopher Kostow is no stranger to experimenting with the dishes on his menu. One of his most interesting — and delicious — snacks is the steamed carrot cake. The whimsical offering is a collection of carrot crumbs steamed into the shape of sponge-like spheres. Keeping with the unusual theme, the playful bar fare is served on an unconventional plate, such as a book or a rock.
Smoky popcorn and cool barbecue, Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
Inspired by the abundance of spectacles that Sin City has to offer, the Five-Star Mandarin Oriental dishes out plenty of bite-sized extravagance. One of the more lavish offerings is frozen popcorn that creates smoke as it melts in your mouth. While the bar snack isn’t on the menu, you can special order the popcorn for catered events to have the dragon-like experience. Following along with the smoky theme, another marquee performer on the menu is the cool barbecue. The dish features sushi, Alaskan king crab, pomelo and lemongrass foam, Kampachi yuzu tartare, and tuna and salmon nigiri with ponzu sauce. All of these components are perfectly placed atop a sheet of dry ice that produces a heavenly cloud once the waiter applies a splash of water to the tray. Like any good Vegas presentation, these show-stopping snacks are worthy of an ovation.