I was longing to go back to Essensia as I had not been there in a while. When I heard that Chef Julie Frans was again responsible for menu creation, that was all the excuse I needed to revisit this restaurant that specializes in multicultural Miami Cuisine using local and sustainable ingredients. Working alongside Executive Chef Richard Earle, the dishes that emerge from the kitchen are just magical.
Chef Frans just launched a new Spring menu, and I was eager to try some of the items offered for Brunch. This time my dining companion was Miss G., who was back in town.
We started with the French Toast Bread Pudding – Croissant French toast squares, maple syrup, and strawberries. The pudding itself was sweet and moist, with a homemade taste reminiscent of the one my Mom makes. Pure comfort food.
The Whole Grain & Coconut Waffle brought back memories of home, and by home I mean Grenada, where I was born. One bite and I was back in my Auntie’s house; it was the coconut waffle that triggered the fond food recollections. The waffles were topped with Greek Yogurt, fresh strawberries, basil, and lavender honey.
My all-time favorite was the Burrata & Fried Green Tomatoes – Heirloom cherry tomatoes, arugula, basil oil, and aged balsamic. We added shrimp to this dish, which was a brilliant move. The co-mingling of the flavors was phenomenal – one shrimp, a piece of burrata, and some arugula was the perfect one-biter. It had been ages since I had balsamic vinegar, and this one was especially pleasing.
Next, we had the Grilled Island Fish Sandwich – Grilled pineapple, chayote and jicama slaw, and green harissa sauce. Including pineapple in the mix was a very Caribbean move, and it was delightful.
In Chef Frans own words, the Spring menu “follows a very Miami Vibe with lots of Caribbean and Latin influences, but always with a fresh, healthy, veg-forward focus with lots of plant-based options and the majority of items on the menu are Gluten free. The backyard garden and local sourcing helps to make the farm-to-table happen… possible even at a hotel on the beach! “
The menu follows a farm-to-table philosophy and offers a selection of fresh ingredients primarily sourced from within the State of Florida. Essensia also has an extensive wine list, signature cocktails and healthy juices and smoothies made with all-natural ingredients. The restaurant is located inside The Palms Hotel & Spa, so a walk after brunch was essential.
We visited the resident parrots, Sunshine and Chance, who have been living in the hotel since forever. Then we took a peek at the pool and the happy sunbathers, and being so close to the beach, we had to take a stroll on the boardwalk. I love this little paradise in Miami Beach and look forward to the next visit with delicious anticipation.
Essensia Restaurant & Lounge
3025 Collins Avenue,
Miami Beach, FL 33140
*Cover photo by Essensia*