After weeks of taking a crash course in home cooking, my friend Lynne and I could not wait to head out to a restaurant when outdoor dining was finally given the green light on 7 June.
We had a gift certificate for Seven at The Ritz-Carlton, won in a raffle months ago. It seemed rude not to use it.
The checklist for leaving the house is different these days. Keys? Check. Handbag? Check. Glasses? Check. Face mask? Double-check.
We were lucky to get a reservation for that night, as Seven was almost completely booked. Facebook posts had already popped up earlier in the day, with happy patrons at various venues raising a glass to the lifting of certain restrictions.
When we got to the restaurant, we had to wear masks while we made our way to the table, which had been sanitised for our arrival. Although the staff members were wearing some impressive masks, it was easy to make out who they were. It was lovely to see familiar faces.
I admit, I had been somewhat concerned about sitting outdoors. I’m not a huge fan of non-air-conditioned dining at this time of year, yet I was pleasantly surprised by the breezes that wafted over the veranda. We also had the benefit of an overhead fan, which kept the temperature at a very respectable level.
Paper menus were available for us to use, but the restaurant also had a QR code on hand for people to scan with their smartphone if they wished. Not only did this make all the menus easily accessible online, it also offered images of the specialty cocktails available. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I ordered the Sour West and Lynne had the Shade of Jade.
There was something about the atmosphere that night. The diners at other tables were chatty and engaged and the servers all had a spring in their steps. I, personally, was filled with the giddy excitement usually reserved for first dates. It was just truly wonderful to be out.
Seven’s menu was a mix of well-known favourites and – much to our delight – some sushi items from Taikun. The meal started with complimentary mango brioche, followed by Hamachi sashimi for Lynne and the caterpillar sushi roll for me. As good as these had tasted in the past, they seemed to be exceptional on that evening. My mediocre home-cooked meals faded further into the background with every bite.
For the main course, I had the ribs – recommended by my brother, Michael – and Lynne had the skirt steak. It was a lot of delicious food, but we managed to make a good dent in it, and of course, we had to have dessert.
No matter what you do, save room for the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. It is heaven on a plate.
Talk about a wonderful evening. It really is so true that sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone. Dining out, whether it’s casual or fancy, is a pretty normal ritual in Cayman, thanks to the number of high-quality restaurants on the island. We didn’t realise just how much we’d missed it until we dined at Seven that night.