First there was a pop-up in east London, then a permanent home in Singapore's bustling Chinatown precinct. Now Dave Pynt – the Perth-born chef and restaurateur behind Michelin-starred hotspot Burnt Ends and American-style smokehouse Meatsmith – adds the Maldives to his culinary résumé.
The Ledge by Dave Pynt at the new Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi resort is a marked departure from Burnt Ends's industrial-chic aesthetic. Inside, it's all breezy timber and stone, with floor-to-ceiling doors that open out to the resort's pool and lagoon. For Pynt, it feels like home.
"The beach is where I grew up swimming, surfing and snorkelling," says Pynt. "People in Perth spend a lot of time by and on the water. After a day in the sun, you just want light, clean, tasty and energising food."
He's devised a lighter, more sun-kissed menu than the Singaporean mothership, with seafood playing a shining role. See the grilled squid brightened with green harissa and coriander; papery grissini crackers freighting taramasalata and salmon roe; and za'atar-crusted tuna paired with yuzu kosho.
It's early days, but there's already a likely contender for the restaurant's signature dish: live, local lobsters grilled to order, then crammed into a brioche-style bun. A handful of Burnt Ends classics including king-crab leg with brown-butter sauce, and the much-Instagrammed steak frites remix (dainty rafts of golden potato cake topped with raw beef and caviar) have also made the journey over from Singapore.
Other traces of Burnt Ends DNA can be found throughout The Ledge. A dual-cavity wood-burning oven designed by Pynt beats at the heart of the kitchen, while Burnt Ends's long-serving sous chef Deborah Yeo runs the show in the Maldives. The wine list (new-wave and Australian, largely) has the fingerprints of Burnt Ends sommelier Dylan Labuschagne all over it. The cocktail list by new bar manager James Hughes features classics and lounge-friendly sippers including, naturally, a Piña Colada.
The Ledge is one of 11 dining options set to open in the resort. Other restaurants include Middle-Eastern venue Yasmeen, Chinese restaurant Li Long, and The Rock, a wine bar with more than 30,000 bottles stashed away in the cellar.
The resort itself is equally impressive and consists of three interlinked islands, 122 ocean-facing villas, two standalone villas and a private island alongside a dedicated spa and children's playground. Buggies and water taxis whisk guests around the resort while a yacht service sails around the clock between Ithaafushi and Malé airport.
It's the sort of luxury living that makes you crave a fresh lobster roll, stat.
The Ledge serves lunch and dinner daily.
The Ledge, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, Ithaafushi Island, South Malé Atoll, Republic of Maldives, +96 04 000300, waldorfastoriamaldives.com