When you live in a place that is a vacation destination,
your experience of the place is very different to a visitor’s. But occasionally
it’s refreshing to change your perspective and briefly step into the
Sitting in the shade on the breezy patio of Solana
restaurant, at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort one weekday lunchtime,
it’s quite easy to close your eyes and imagine you are there on holiday. Solana
has one of the best views of any restaurant on Seven Mile Beach and from that
vantage point you can take in the impressive expanse of perfect white sand and
the turquoise waters that make the beach so famous. A couple of kite-surfers
whiz back and forth performing impressive acrobatics; the odd couple stroll
along the beach; groups of people frolic in the shallow water and others relax
around the pool – it’s a view that is at once dynamic and relaxing.
The lunch menu, though concise, manages to reflect this
duality, with a choice of light salads, sandwiches and wraps that would be
conducive to an active afternoon, as well as a selection of more substantial
meals for those who perhaps have no particular plans for the rest of the day.
A handful of menu items including the tuna tartare, a Greek
salad, the spinach salad and the pan seared snapper are also helpfully marked
up with the Marriott “Fit for You” icon which identifies dishes that are carb
conscious, low cholesterol and/or low fat – a useful tool for anyone needing to
watch their diet and also absolute proof that healthy food can still be tasty
Between two of us, my companion and I started by sharing a
Greek salad and, on our server’s recommendation, the chicken quesadilla which,
she assured us, was the best on the Island. Generously filled with chicken
breast pieces, peppers and cheese and served with sides of home-made pico de
gallo, sour cream and guacamole, it was hard to disagree.
The entrees all looked tempting and I wavered between the
traditional fish and chips served UK-style in newspaper packages but with a
local flair, covered in Caybrew batter, and the authentic Indian chicken curry
served with basmati rice, mango chutney and naan bread. Curious to try one of
the “Fit for You” entrees, I opted for pan-seared snapper with papaya chutney
and calalloo-pumpkin fricassee. The fish, which could not have been fresher,
was delicately seasoned and well complemented by the vegetable fricassee. There
was certainly no loss of flavour in this heart-healthy dish and the portion
size was extremely generous.
To balance out the health factor my companion chose to
indulge in the Marriott burger. As burgers go, this could not be further from
the typiacl fast food offering. The the juicy patty was home-made with
Certified Angus Beef, and served with crispy bacon, cheese and all the
trimmings and home-made fries seasoned with the chef’s special blend of spices.
After two large and satisfying courses, had our host not
insisted we try at least one dessert we would happily have stopped there. It
was a good thing we had our arms twisted, however, as the signature frozen key
lime pie was simply delicious: sweet but not too sweet, creamy, cool and served
with a refreshing pina colada sauce.
Not being accustomed to more than a quick midday snack, a
full belly, the warm breeze and the relaxing setting made me want to kick off
my shoes and have a little snooze – after all, isn’t that what people on
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