Hurricane Sandy was kind to us. Howling winds and driving rain provided the perfect excuse to indulge in back to back episodes of Downton Abbey and daylight Scrabble. Having been holed up at home for a couple of days, it was high time to get out. Once the risk of decapitation by falling tree trunks was just about gone, SG, the Juggernaut and I decided to treat ourselves to lunch at Dune. The driveway into One and Only Ocean Club seemed virtually unscathed by the storm; pristine palms and tropical foliage were only slightly frayed at the edges. Well, I suppose it is a Bond film location. We strolled through the neatly landscaped grounds towards the restaurant, feeling the glamour. We were seated at a table in the bar area, a chic white room with exposed white painted wooden rafters, a large exquisite marble bar, oversize raffia lamp and jaw dropping views of the ocean. It was my fantasy beach hut. The massive waves crashing onto Cabbage beach below looked a bit like the final scene from Pointbreak, where Patrick Swayze’s character goes for that fateful surf. We ordered some designer water and pushed the boat out with a bottle of Spanish Albarino ($60). The bottle was decorated with a pretty polka dot label which matched SG’s dress nicely. Some fluffy focaccia along with rosemary and chili oils were brought to soothe our empty bellies. Stanford our enthusiastic water served us well. The menu is supposedly Asian/French with Bahamian influences but there are plenty of American dishes in there.
We ordered a couple of appetisers for the table. The tuna tartare ($24), arrived first; a compact mound of silky diced tuna on a bed of soft avocado with ginger dressing and thin slivers of radish. It looked magazine-perfect but we were not prepared for the serious flavour explosion that followed. Tastebuds were dancing with joy. This was easily one of the best dishes, perhaps the best I’d had in the Bahamas. The crab salad ($25) arrived shortly after. Well chosen ingredients; white crabmeat, radicchio, endive and avocado and were overpowered with too much oily soy dressing. It had a lot to live up to after the heights of that delicate tuna tartare.
We had a nice pause before our main courses arrived. SG got a bit squiffy into her second glass of wine. Optimistic pigeons roamed around looking for scraps. Fellow diners sipped Martinis (a la Casino Royale) whilst strong gusts of wind sent napkins flying. We discussed baby feeding tactics; nearly four months in and he’s yet to sleep through the night. Meanwhile, baby Ru sat in his pram, as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. I visited the ladies. With high dark walls and stone sinks, they were very slick and imposing but with such dim lighting, it is very hard to see what the hell you’re doing when you’re in the cubicle.
Our mains arrived, hiding under metal covers. SG and I had the lobster burger ($30); which sounded decadent yet comforting. It had a patty made up of minced local lobster and shrimp, with green chili mayo, mild cheese, round lettuce and sliced tomato and was served with sweet potato crisps. They looked like extravagant packing material but tasted a whole lot better. The subtle cheese worked well; the lobster could take it. SG said it was the best burger she’d ever had. It was easily the most expensive. However, the bun was a bit budget, which lost it a few points. The Juggernaut had Salmon with truffle mash and truffle vinaigrette and sugar snap peas ($46). The salmon was succulent, the mash well seasoned but the vinaigrette was a mistake. The acidic vinegar obliterated the heady truffle flavour. It could have been better.
Our gregarious waiter Stanford offered us dessert menus. I always like to have a look even if I’m full. I just love looking at menus. The choices included Banana Cake with salted caramel ice cream, Crackling key lime pie with basil cream and a trio of tropical sorbets, all $14. I am a sucker for a good caramel ice cream, so we asked Stanford if he could accommodate our request for a bowl of the stuff. He could and he did. A big martini glass of three generous scoops arrived. The ice cream was amazing; rich, toasted caramel, not too sickly- very grown up. We finished off this leisurely lunch with some coffees, drinking in the view. Yes, Dune is expensive but some of its dishes are worth paying for. Days later I am still reliving that incredible tuna tartare. If you haven’t yet, please go and try it. It is heaven on a plate.