I’ve often found it strange that you can create so many different kinds of experiences and memories in one venue. Town halls, for example, are neutral (bland) but act as a blank canvas for those with the creative flair to transform it into something unique. But in the hospitality industry, trying to be all things to all men (and women) is risky. Instead of creating a multi-talented space for the imagination to run riot, you can miss the mark and end up with something that feels ordinary.
Luckily, this is not one such place. They actually have palm trees. Indoors?!
During my student years, Aruba was my twice-weekly party palace. The cocktails have always been fresh and flavorsome and most importantly, served with a smile (and usually a bit of cheek too).
Indeed, while my food preferences have changed considerably, my love for beautifully crafted cocktails will last a lifetime. Assuming they don’t contain diary. Or egg for that matter.
Anyway, I digress. Aruba isn’t just a party palace – it offers both daytime and nighttime experiences under one roof.
On a Sunday afternoon a few weeks back, some girlfriends and I – three vegans and one regular – were hunting for a sunny spot to grab some lunch and we eventually landed on Aruba. The menu is a pretty mixed bag and I’m usually suspicious of any restaurant that serves up too many different flavours from around the globe. Alas, in typical vegan fashion, there were only a couple of options which narrowed down the selection pretty damn sharpish.
One of the girls went for the Veggie Pizza – hold the cheese – which was a very foreign concept to me but surprisingly delicious! A generous sprinkling of olives ticked my box.
With little else suitable for a vegan diet – there are a lot of creamy options unfortunately – I went for the Aruba Vegetable Balti. The first thing I noticed was that the presentation of the food on my plate was super fun. With lots of colour and texture and shapes, I didn’t really know where to dig in so I quickly whipped out the camera to capture it while it was still pretty.
The verdict – it was fine. To cut the chef some slack, it was flavorsome for sure but we cook from ‘Fresh India’ by Meera Sodha at least once a week and her veggie curry recipes are a force to be reckoned with. I don’t honestly feel like it was good value considering the price tag but it was a tasty meal and a good portion size so I’m not complaining either. On the fence.
But the food is only a part of what draws people to Aruba. On a beautiful day (like it was – sigh), the sun throws itself through the windows that line that back of the big, open venue and it was as bright and vibey as ever. It’s always busy which makes for great people watching and for those with little ones or a penchant for inflatables, you won’t want to miss the famous craft of Dr.Balloonman!
NB: no animals or people were harmed in the making of this photograph.
There are still a few familiar faces working at Aruba that put up with me back in my party days and they’re still as attentive as ever. On service, they are and have always been great and that’s no small achievement. They make it a great experience so kudos to them.
In conclusion, if we EVER get some sunshine again Aruba is a great spot for a bevvy or two. But those with vegan preferences who want some might want to explore further afield.
Bournemouth BH2 5AA
t: 01202 554 211
|Invited by PR company?||No|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||No|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||No|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||No|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||No|