The Cayman Islands is beginning to grow into its role as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, as there are a plethora of excellent restaurants across the territory providing cuisine from all around the world.
Year-round, Cayman is feted as an epicurean destination and the most imminent event is the fab Restaurant Week, which takes place from Monday, 1 October to Saturday, 6 October under the watchful eye of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.
During this period, residents and visitors alike may enjoy a fantastic selection of prix-fixe menu options at participating restaurants across Grand Cayman.
Prix-fixe menu options include lunches for $15. Dinners are $25 or $35 as well as additions for wine and/or featured drinks.
All menus include a minimum of three menu items: appetiser, main and dessert or beverage.
Jane van der Bol, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, is pleased that the initiative is taking off.
“The association began this promotion last year as an answer to our members who noted that many other cities have a Restaurant Week and, as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, surely we should, too,” she says. “It also provides an incredible showcase of what each of our restaurants has to offer at affordable prices.”
President of the association, Harry Lalli, rightly notes that this is a time for residents and tourists to go out to dinner and enjoy a great restaurant every night of the week.
The Cayman Islands Tourism Association says that there are so many delicious options that booking directly with the restaurants will yield some joy.
Sometimes, muses the association, it’s easy to take things for granted and go to the same places when we eat out. Restaurant Week therefore presents an affordable opportunity to try somewhere new or, indeed, go back to an old favourite for a special meal at some unprecedentedly low prices. It’s all about celebrating the diversity and quality of the eateries of Grand Cayman. Food is one of life’s great pleasures, after all.
For the businesses that are involved, Restaurant Week is all about building that all-important culinary reputation in the vein of such events as Miami Spice in the quieter tourism months, whilst giving locals and their visitors a special experience. Even in the low season, Cayman’s culinary adventures continue and Weekender, for one, is getting hungry already.
It’s a truism that the Cayman Islands has a significant shout to becoming the real centre of all things culinary. It was recently announced, excitingly, that the islands’ food and drink will be promoted year-round, building on the huge success that Culinary Month started since its inception three years ago.
Tourism experts such as Director of Tourism, Shomari Scott, have paid tribute to the role that the private and the public sectors have had in establishing, marketing and increasing the great reputation the Cayman Islands has as a destination for all things foodie.
Some other events which take place include Cayman Cookout, which regularly draws celebrity chefs including Anthony Bourdain, Jose Andres and curator Eric Ripert. It’s an incredibly popular bash which draws people from around the world. Of course, you never go hungry on a beach anyway because of the sand which is there, as the old joke goes, but we tend to prefer things a little less gritty.
Add into the mix such things as wine dinners with BlackBeard’s, Mojito Nights at Breezes by the Bay, Farm-to-table at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, culinary contests and events in the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, and you’re starting to put together a vibrant picture of the awesome potential of the epicurean scene we have access to. It might not be the first thing you think of when you think of Cayman, but it may well be one of the things you remember when you travel elsewhere.
Indeed, as you can see from this very Weekender, there’s now even a dedicated magazine from Cayman Free Press called Flava which further celebrates the delicious dishes of these three islands. You can read a regular column in Weekender each week that updates our readers on the best spots to eat, seasonal dishes, visiting chefs and loads of other cool stuff. Cause if there’s one thing we like, it’s food. Food and drink.
Two things. Anyway you get the picture.
Participating restaurants The following restaurants are participating in 2012 Restaurant Week: Abacus, Agua Restaurant & Lounge, Brasserie, Brickhouse, Cimboco, Deckers, Guy Harvey’s Restaurant, Hemmingway’s Grand Cayman Beach Suites, Karoo, Living Room, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Prime Brazilian Steak House, Ortanique, Solana – Grand Cayman Marriott, Taikun – The Ritz-Carlton, XQ’s. View all the menus in full at www.restaurantweek.ky
When you consider that over 100 different nationalities are based in these beautiful, blessed isles, it is inevitable that they will bring their cuisine along with them. There are many options on the menus but Weekender has taken a quick look and picked a few things out. What will be your favourite of Restaurant Week?
Abacus, for example, offers Contemporary Caribbean Lifestyle dishes. This means, for example, you could choose Lower Valley arugula salad followed by BBQ ribs and grilled pork tenderloin. Both these dishes are on their prix-fixe menu, alongside other options.
Agua Restaurant and Lounge has a distinct taste of the Hispanic with such dishes as seared duck breast carpaccio and Spanish-style short ribs available as part of their dinner menu.
Cimboco, a Caribbean cafe, has some star dishes too, including a delicious-sounding chicken Parmesan sandwich on house made hearth bread accompanied by island-style coleslaw.
Deckers, the Caribbean-inspired grill, steps up with some lovely selections including a great crab-stuffed tortellini with all manner of great stuff including a rose sauce, black olives and more.
Good old Guy Harvey’s Restaurant and Bar is definitely one with the sea, as you’d expect. One dish that they will be offering is a medley of Flying Fish and Lion Fish with garden vegetables, rice and creamy garlic lemon sauce. So you can do your bit for the environment as you chomp away.