Ozen Life Maadhoo brings back tradition with LONU

LONU brings back age-old recipes to life
Ozen Life Maadhoo brings back tradition with LONU
Chef Abdulla Rameez of LONU at OZEN LIFE

 The Maldives are home to some of the most impressive hotels & resorts in the world. While to the untrained eye, all might look similar, several of the frontrunners have unique new innovations that make it a special place to travel. Cue the brand-new LONU at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO. The restaurant’s namesake means ‘salt’ in Dhivehi. The cuisine is self-described by OZEN as new-age Maldivian.

OZEN LIFE is located on the beautiful Maadhoo island. Its newest dining venue LONU gives the decerning guests reimagined versions of age-old traditional recipes in creative and sophisticated small plates. Served in sustainable clayware and handcrafted wooden plates, all dishes proudly include native herbs and indigenous spices, staying true to the island nation’s culture.

Economy Middle East spoke to Chef Abdulla Rameez, a native at the helm of  LONU.

When was it that you knew cooking would be your profession?


I realized that cooking would be my profession when I was a teenager because I was so passionate about it. I started watching food and cooking shows like MasterChef and Kitchen Nightmares. Gordon Ramsey was my first chef hero, so I started following his videos, and I developed an interest in gourmet food.

Any memorable lessons from your time working with a particular chef or at a restaurant that you carry to date?


I still remember when I was working at Soneva Fushi, I had the opportunity to work with a Michelin-starred chef. The way he looked at the food and cooking changed my complete aura in understating the true value of ingredients, which I still remember and am mesmerized by.

Can you tell us more about the LONU and the resort’s INDULGENCE Plan?


LONU our newest restaurant is one of the Maldives’ most unique dining experiences, which includes using flavourful salt crystals harvested on the island and handpicked herbs from the kitchen garden. Our guests relish the island specialties presented in a modern way, alongside the special experience of sitting around our kitchen and watching us prepare their meal.

The unique INDULGENCE Plan at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO encompasses all elements of a guest’s stay including fine dining experiences like LONU.

LONU's exquisite offerings
LONU’s exquisite offerings

What is the importance of promoting Maldivian cuisine to your international guests?  


The essence of Maldivian cuisine lies in the beauty of the culture in welcoming everyone to come in and have a taste. Almost every island has at least a small tea shop where people gather, but most importantly, you will never run out of options and there’s such a warmth in our hospitality. 

How do you cater to the varied nationalities and pallets at LONU?


As LONU is a Maldivian specialty restaurant, we offer mostly Maldivian specialties, which almost all nationalities appreciate and are excited to experience. However, if there is any particular request mentioned by any guest, I am more than happy to cook it and present it in a modern way, which always enhances the guests’ experience.

What are some favorite must-try dishes on the menu?


Although I love everything on the menu, my favorite is Mas Bai and Kanamadhu cake (sea almond cake).