Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mahogany House, Mahogany Hill, West Bay St, Nassau

I had heard good things about Mahogany, the hotly anticipated, newly opened restaurant near Lyford Cay. Having just relocated from a city where good eateries are not hard to come by, I often found myself underwhelmed by the restaurants on the island. A new addition to the West which did not require membership or only served lunch was a refreshing addition to the scene. I made a reservation a few days ahead for a Friday night; at which point there was only a 6pm or 9pm sitting available; a good sign. I took the Juggernaut (my significant other, who is solidly built but certainly no fatty) and we headed over. 
Walking through vast Mahogany doors through a bustling bar into the contemporarily designed room, with it's banquette seating, simply laid wooden tables without linens and shelving displaying an impressive array of wines, I felt transported back to the urban dining spots I knew and loved. The lighting was soft and flattering, worlds away from some of the harsh white lit rooms I had encountered elsewhere here. The clientele was a well heeled mix of silver haired expats and glamorous couples, all happily chattering away. 
Soon after being seated, we were offered some complimentary sparkling water, something I had never encountered before and a nice touch. The menu is concise and clear, devoid of unnecessary description and full of the sort of food I enjoyed eating. It was also confined to one page, which I always find reassuring. A menu offering too much choice is rarely a good thing in my experience. The cooking is Modern European, with a broad selection of Salumi, some salad (not a Caesar in sight), various pastas, pizzas, meats including duck and pork; something to cater to all tastes. There was even a cheese section; with fourme d'ambert, tallegio and manchego; a joy to behold as I had been longing for some fine cheese.
The wine list was extensive, with down to earth descriptions, removing any pretension from the decision making process. As I am not that knowledgeable about wines but know what I like and enjoy seeing different grapes on a menu, I found it easy to navigate . The restaurant manager, Chris Farnham, was clearly passionate and knowledgeable. He was conducting an impromptu tasting on the table next to ours and had just ordered a further six hundred cases. There is a wonderful wine cellar beneath the restaurant, which doubles up as a private dining room.
After much deliberation we made our decisions and placed our order; I plumped for the quail with grilled radicchio, pancetta and barley to start. The Juggernaut chose the terrine of wild mushroom, asiago, balsamic and polenta. While we waited, albeit not for too long, we were presented with some delicious roast red pepper crostini amuse bouches; a great way to kick of a meal and make it feel special. Our lovely waitress brought the starters over whilst we were still tucking into the bread and olive oil . The quail was wonderfully bronzed and glistening, cooked perfectly for such a small bird, still moist, smothered with the rustic combination of pancetta, radicchio and barley; a deeply comforting dish with depth of flavour. I was one happy punter. The terrine was heavy on Polenta; which has a pretty divisive texture and flavour; but worked well with the wild mushrooms, although there could have been more of them. All washed down with hearty gulps of Pinot Noir, it was bliss.
For main course, I chose the cod with squash puree and braised cabbage. It arrived looking a bit anaemic but I have to confess all the elements were well cooked; even if the combination was a little bizarre. The Juggernaut had the chicken with Chorizo, Fingerlings and wild mushroom; a warming earthy dish which gave rise to food envy. The portions are polite but not tight and designed to be eaten in one sitting. No styrofoam takeaways needed here. For the really hungry, there are imaginative side orders such as truffled potato and root vegetable gratin, quinoa tabbouleh, roasted brussel sprouts. 
New Years resolutions aside, we could not forgo dessert, so we ordered a Pannacotta with chocolate Espresso, cookies and mint coulis. The textures and flavour were really well balanced; with the Espresso keeping the pannacotta the right side of sweet. Needless to say it didn't stay on the plate for long. Sadly, there was no room left to acccomodate any cheese on this occasion.
 Head chef Dan Quirk, came over to chat about our food and overall impression, then took the time to give us a tour of us the market shop and cellar. Mahogany appears to have really filled a gap in the market here for great food, cooked with love, care and innate understanding, without the hefty price tags. A love of hog has even been incorporated into the name of the restaurant. It is arguably the best restaurant on the island. It really deserves to do well; it would thrive in London, Barcelona or New York and should continue to do a stonking trade here. I can't wait to return and work my way through the menu.


  1. The last time I spent a few days in Nassau was in 1978......!! At that time the best value for money restaurant on the island was McDonalds. Sad but true. The next time I visit the Bahamas I will make sure that I visit Mahogany. Your description certainly made my mouth water.

  2. Missed out on eating at Mahoghany when I was there at Xmas inspite of several attempts.It sounds right up my street after reading your blog.Please book me a table for my next visit!

  3. sounds great! Ill have to check out next time I am in the Bahamas!

  4. We'll definitely try this new restaurant! What exactly do you mean by "not too hefty a price tag?" $50-75 per person for food only?


  5. Hi Sandra,

    Yes, that's roughly the price range. Opting for a pizza or salad only would reduce it further.


  6. My Twin along with her 10 year son throughly enjoyed our experience on Mother's Day. As an International Judge for the S. Pelligreno Magazine (Organizers/Judges of the World's 50 Best Restaurants), I was very impressed with this restaurant. Will not get into all of the details just yet. However, there is one small thing that I would change-that for me, will raise the appeal even more. The T-shirts worn by the Waitstaff, not happening. Loved that Wine Cellar!!