OBLU SELECT at Sangeli
OBLU SELECT at Sangeli is conveniently located in Male Atoll, just an exhilarating 45 minutes private speedboat ride from the international airport. Many of the stylish villas are over water, situated on a curved pier that links two islands where you will find restaurants, shops, pools, the spa, dive centre and the remaining villas with direct access to the pristine, white sand beach. Having previously stayed at Atmosphere Kanifushi (their sister resort) we were very excited, it was a wonderful stay and both resorts have a 100% vegetarian restaurant with many vegan options, which of course makes us very happy indeed.
We arrived in the dark, exhausted by the long travel from home and the fact that our body clocks were still convinced it was 3am in the morning. Our hearts were ready for some luxury but our body and minds were ready to sleep. The platter of vegan sandwiches, fruit and ice bucket of champagne in our room passed us by as we crawled into our bed. So when we woke up the next morning to find we were sleeping in a comfy 4 poster, with an ocean view right at our fingertips, it was a wonderful dreamy surprise. The ocean views are one of the things we came to the Maldives for. OBLU SELECT at Sangeli offers these views from your bed, bath, shower, toilet and many more glamorous places, like your own private deck which has steps down to a tropical fish filled, crystal clear ocean. When exploring before breakfast we were mesmerised by just how white the sand was and loved the way that it softly massaged our feet. Our perfect start to the day was completed by a swim in one of the pools, we chose the ‘Adults Only’ pool which is located next to ‘Simply Veg’, the all vegetarian restaurant, more about that later we promise!
The Vegan Food
Breakfast is served at ‘The Courtyard’ with the white sands and turquoise ocean as a backdrop. The buffet includes fruits, salads, bread and cereals (with soya milk available) but it was the vegan Maldivian curry that excited us. We would go as far as saying that the ‘Maldivian Style Long Beans with Potato Curry’ was one of the best curries we’ve eaten for some time. Light, fragrant with a subtle hint of chilli that worked so well with the creamy coconut milk we would happily eat this for breakfast every day. Served with basmati rice and Maldivian Roshi it was very satisfying indeed. Chef Khem helped us navigate the buffet and also offered to make ‘off menu’ items for us that would of course be plant based. We decided on vegan pancakes, these were made with multigrain flour, flax seed and soy milk; our plant based pancakes were light, fluffy and delicious, they paired perfectly with maple syrup and a trio of plum, pineapple and star fruit homemade compotes.
However, it was at lunch that things got really exciting as we had a reservation at ‘Simply Veg’ which “redefines contemporary non meat cuisine by experimenting with original and surprising flavour combinations”. Gone are the days when we wondered if vegans can survive in the fish loving Maldives, now we can make a reservation at a luxury resort with a vegetarian restaurant knowing that there would be vegan options galore. ‘Just Veg’ at Atmosphere Kanafushi was the first 100% vegetarian restaurant in the Maldives and after our stay we billed it as a “vegan luxury holiday of a lifetime”, therefore we were quietly confident that we were in for a treat. No vegan lunch would be complete without a glass of vegan wine, so we were very happy to find Pinot Grigio (both white and rose) from Torresella Wines on the wine list which are both vegan friendly according to Barnivore.
Our plan was to eat all of the vegan options on the menu at ‘Simply Veg’ during our stay and we did a fairly good job, meaning we feel confident in our conclusions that the vegan food is tremendous. The vegetarian menu offers a mixture of Asian and European dishes, something that can often make us a little anxious because it’s hard to do justice to both regions and the many classic dishes that are found there. But truthfully, they pulled it off.
The papaya salad was sour, sweet and spicy as it should be, the hummus served with beetroot pitta was creamy and garlicky, the samosas crisp and spiced. Our Maldivian style pumpkin curry was smooth and packed with flavour whilst the Thai red curry may have looked similar but had a completely different flavour profile, full of basil and chilli high notes, served with a papaya relish. The playfully named ‘Oodles of Noodles’ featured perfectly cooked rice noodles, vegetables and a tamarind sauce, and then there was a fresh risotto that was green and delectable. Last and by no means least was the eponymous ‘Simply Veg Carpaccio’ which was simply divine, the finely sliced pineapple was flavoured with lemongrass syrup and topped with a fresh mint and lemon granita.
Wow, we were suitably impressed by the selection of plant based food that was served. Location, service, presentation and taste all combined to present a plant based extravaganza at ‘Simply Veg’ in the Maldives.
The Vegan Essentials
The vegan friendly bathroom amenities from UK company White Company were in refillable containers, therefore reducing the use of single us plastic; this was also achieved by mineral water being offered in glass bottles and no plastic straws throughout the resort, our in villa coffee machine even used coffee capsules made from biodegradable materials. We were further impressed to find Elena Spa using products from Aromatherapy Associates, they are another vegan friendly company that do not test on animals or use animal based ingredients.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict
Check in at OBLU SELECT at Sangeli for an all inclusive option with a vegetarian restaurant which serves great vegan food. Make friends with Chef Khem because you’ll enjoy his passion just as much as you’ll enjoy his food. OBLU SELECT at Sangeli ticks all the boxes for a vegan friendly luxury break in the Maldives as there is a good undertsanding of vegan food throughout the resort.
We were guests of OBLU SELECT at Sangeli but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
OBLU SELECT at Sangeli
North Male Atoll
Telephone: +960 400 4501
Cost From: £600 / $730 (October 2019)