Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blue Caviar, Le Restaurant, nr Lyford Cay

                                            It was Saturday night. The Juggernaut and I donned our glad rags and journeyed to Lyford Cay to sample the new Blue Caviar restaurant. When I heard there’d be truffles, I knew we had to get our asses over there.
       The funky entrance with its zebra patterned lounge chairs and baroque silver mirror, reminded me of an episode of Changing rooms. An open plan room with high vaulted ceilings lay before us. Bold abstract paintings hung on the white walls. Soft flattering light illuminated the room. Tables with white tablecloths promised fine dining.
Following a friendly welcome from the familiar staff at the Blue Caviar  we were presented with two menus; a tasting menu, with or without wine pairings and the dinner menu. The wine list ranged from a $35 Italian Chardonnay to a heavyweight Burgundy for $250. A few of the wines hailed from the USA, Australia but most were from France and Italy.  We decided to go the whole hog and have the tasting menu with wines (not listed) at $135 pp. Eek. It seemed rude not too; after all, the owner and chef, Jacques Carlino, cut his teeth at a couple of two Michelin starred London restaurants. The man can cook. The tasting menu read like a culinary wet dream; Amuse bouche, seared ahi tuna with avocado and Andalusian gazpacho, handmade wild mushroom and chicken tortellini with truffle foam, fillet of Swordfish with Piperade couscous and red pepper olive oil, tenderloin of beef with green peppercorn sauce and cocotte potato, pre-dessert, chocolate trio then coffee and petits fours. Serious applicants only need apply.
We were informed of a slight change to one of the courses- swordfish was to be substituted with the cod off the main menu- served with cauliflower puree, shitake mushrooms and demi glace. Pas de probleme. We were then asked how we wanted the beef done; clearly Jacques was not too precious about serving everyone rare beef if they would prefer no to. It’s refreshing to see a chef who can park his ego at the door and accommodate his diners. Having said that, any self respecting foodie would have it pink.
We were brought our first wine, a Californian Sauvignon Blanc. Although it wasn’t terribly busy, we had to strain to hear the softly spoken waiters, thanks to the poor acoustics. The amuse bouche came; a shot glass of spicy pumpkin soup; the taste of Thanksgiving. It was shortly followed by the tuna and gazpacho. The fresh and vibrant flavours of the tuna combined well with an excellent and authentic gazpacho. A clever idea. The glasses of  American Riesling came out; really pleasant. I was going to get totally pissed if I wasn’t careful. I slipped off to the ladies room. It was decorated in a pretty palette of lavender walls, a glossy pewter splashback and cream tiled floors but spoilt by an unapologetically bright ceiling light.
The mushroom and chicken tortellini came along. Oh sweet Jesus it was good. My insides did a round of applause. The courses were well paced, not rushed. The cod was next. Soft and succulent, the textures and flavours were a joy. A glass of Cote du Rhone came to compliment the highly anticipated meat.
The beef was superb, definitely the best we’d had in the Bahamas. There was a pile of chunky fries; like a mini stack of Jenga. I was seriously full and quite pissed now. I needed to find space for the last leg of the gastronomic marathon.
The pre-dessert consisted of a shot glass of fruits of the forest and a light yoghurt, which I hoped would help with digestion.
A glass of Prosecco came out for the finale. The dessert was quite simply a n orgy of chocolate. Chocolate mousse, chocolate tart and chocolate fondant, which gushed forth molten chocolate. I couldn’t finish it, as wonderful as it was. The Juggernaut saw his off without further ado. I dreaded to think how much butter I’d eaten over the last couple of hours but damn, it was worth it. We could scarcely manage the petit fours, so took them home with us for tomorrow’s breakfast.
I would go so far as to say that Blue Caviar serves some of the best food on the island. This is extremely competent food worthy of the hefty price tag.
The service, although courteous, could do with more attention to detail. The wines need to be explained or at least mentioned on the tasting menu; we kept having to ask what they were when they were placed on the table. There were things that needed tweaking but the main thing is, the food, c’est delicieux mes amies.