He has been invited to cook for former US President Bill Clinton, British billionaire Richard Branson, actor Tom Cruise and at the wedding of Danish Crown Prince Fredrick and Princess Mary.
We are talking about Luke Mangan, the celebrity chef exclusive to P&O Cruises who has just revitalized his menu for his specialty restaurant Luke’s Bar & Grill onboard the recently revamped Pacific Adventure.
“Signature dishes like our crab omelette are still a highlight and we’ve added a host of new menu items that make the most of our incredible local, seasonal produce. We’ve also added a few little modern twists to our classic liquorice and lime parfait like finishing it off with some delicious meringue,” says Mangan in an interview with Cruise Passenger.
“What we’ve done is to step up and evolve Salt Grill’s classic menu such as sashimi and the tempura prawns with carrot and daikon and given them a new twist and made them more contemporary. But they have remained true to brand, with the same but more modern flavours.”
He explains that his first Salt Grill restaurant on P&O was more than 10 years old which has now morphed into Luke’s Bar & Grill so its offerings needed to be refreshed.
“Salt Grill could only seat 70 people and was frequently booked out and difficult to get a table. Luke’s Bar & Grill is much bigger, seating 140 people and is more upmarket with very nice and comfortable seats. There’s also a bar attached to the restaurant where you could have snacks or starters.’
There’s a tapas menu serving arancini of wild mushrooms with ricotta and salsa verde and buffalo milk burrata with green tomato chutney and garlic toast.
Mangan does not consider Luke’s Bar & Grill as an “occasion” restaurant – it’s value for money with reasonable prices” he says. A three-course menu costs between $60 to $80pp.
And his inspiration for the new menu?
“I don’t know, it’s about using great Australian produce – my team comes together with different suggestions. My two favourite ingredients are ginger and garlic so we have introduced more Asian twists in our offerings.”
Mangan says the go-to dishes at his restaurant are the warm goat’s cheese and caramelized onion tart with beetroot salad and you can’t go wrong with barramundi for two served with pan-fried gnocchi with corn, prawns and tarragon.
And for dessert? – you just can’t go past Luke’s liquorice parfait.
Like most chefs, Mangan eats out frequently and loves dining at China Doll in Woolloomooloo, Sean’s Panorama in Bondi and Mr Wong in Sydney CBD.
He also likes the ship’s recent refurbishment, saying that he loves how his restaurants have also been evolving with the ships over the years.
“The dining space is upmarket, it’s quite slick, and I think guests will really enjoy the atmosphere here which is different to anywhere else on the ship.”
Pacific Adventure offers 21 different dining experiences, including complimentary dining in The Waterfront, Angelos, Dragon Lady and the Pantry plus specialty restaurants Luke’s Bar & Grill and 400 Gradi.
For more information about P&O Cruises Australia, visit www.pocruises.com.au