Last of the fine harvest dining

The Brasserie held its last Harvest Dinner of the season this month for appreciative tables of diners who tucked into some of the best fresh food available in Cayman.

The restaurant has been holding its Harvest Dinners once a month since November, serving up delicious fruit, vegetables and herbs from its own garden and from farms around Grand Cayman, as well as fish freshly caught by fishermen on its own fishing boat and local meat and chicken supplied by farmers.

The kitchen staff did not relax as they entered the home stretch for this final dinner, on Thursday, 7 April. The plates and bowls of food served family style were of the exceptionally high quality that regular patrons of the dinners have come to expect.

Fall into summer

Cayman’s warmer evenings as summer approaches are among the reasons the dinners will be put on hold until November. “We’re getting to the last bit of the year where we can sit outside,” said Brasserie consultant chef Dean Max, who along with executive chef Brad Phillips and the restaurant’s general manager Kyle Kennedy talked the guests through what they could expect from this final dinner of the season.

Diners are seated inside the screened-in garden area at the back of the Brasserie, where they can stroll around and see exactly where the herbs and vegetables they’re enjoying come from.

Before the meal, guests were served a fruity and refreshing bellini containing local custard apple, java apple, guava and naseberry, created by Kennedy with the fruits supplied by gardener Joel Walton, and cerviche and mahi mahi skewers with a local guava barbecue sauce.

Next came one of the Brasserie’s famed chilled soups – this time, a luscious, chilled beet soup – served in an old wine bottle – which diners poured into soup bowls already containing goat cheese mousse. The creaminess of the mousse was the perfect accompaniment to the slight sharpness of the beet soup and made for a very aesthetically pleasing presentation, as the red and white blended together like a swirly strawberry and vanilla ice cream.

A large romaine salad of java rose apple and house-smoked pork belly, with a garden gooseberry vinaigrette was delicious, but the highlight of this course was the local braised beef flatbread with caramelised onions, sweet corn, braised shiitake mushrooms, garden chive and truffle oil.

That course was washed down with a wonderfully un-oaky Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisee chardonnay.

The second course was a tour-de-force, with an almost bewildering array of vegetable choices. They all looked so fresh and fabulous, we had no choice but to try them all! On our table, placed one after the other, were fried cassava, rice and beans, Cayman honey-roasted squash, kohlrabi tops, crispy green banana and local grape tomato salad, garden boniato puree, roasted garden eggplant and Florence fennel. For the meat and fish lovers, there was curried chicken and Tempura yellowfin tuna (caught just hours earlier).

A Louis Jadot Pommard 2007 pinot noir was a lovely robust accompaniment to the dishes.

For dessert, there was a selection of local guava cheesecake (our favourite), Valrhona brownie with candied gooseberry and local custard soup with java rose apple compote, which was served with a choice of a sweet Chateau St. Michelle Late Harvest sauvignon blanc or a glass of Ron Abuelo 12-Year Panana rum.

Chef Brad explained that some of the dishes had not been decided on until the morning of the dinner. “We decided at 7.15am. This is the way this kind of dinner is. You cannot tell a vegetable when it should be ripe. That is what makes this kind of dinner so special.”