A two course lunch for $12 is a pretty good deal by any standards, but if you throw in a beach front position, sea views and some very tasty food, it becomes a deal you really should not miss. And lunch at Hemingway’s is definitely not to be missed.
“Because of where the restaurant is located [within the Grand Cayman Beach Suites resort] we have to cater to everyone,” explained Executive Chef Paul Carroll, so the menu features a little of everything. “The tourists who come in from the beach want conch fritters, club sandwiches and burgers, while residents usually want something a little different.”
Just as, I note, the vacationers choose to sit out on the patio, while those who live here take refuge in the air conditioned interior.
“We source produce from local farmers as much as possible and we are big supporters of the slow food movement,” says Chef Paul. Using seasonal ingredients and making the most of what is available at that time of year means the menu changes regularly and specials are offered daily.
Clearly in capable hands, we didn’t look at the menu but let Chef Paul surprise us. And a very pleasant surprise it was too, with not a sandwich in sight and plenty of local ingredients used in unique and unusual ways.
To start we were served the curry goat ravioli – one of Hemingway’s specialties - and seared scallops. A single, oversized ravioli was filled with mildly spiced tender goat meat, served atop slices of what we later discovered was pickled eggplant (pickled in tomato, honey and cherry vinegar and far tastier than its non-pickled cousin), with a rich coconut and lime sauce.
The scallops were served with a variety of garnishes that were delicious but that we could not identify without help: cauliflower couscous, raisins poached in coconut rum and plantain chips topped with banana coconut puree and grated coconut.
Taste buds tingling and definitely ready for more we eagerly tucked into the main course: rundown chicken – strips of chicken and bell peppers in a creamy coconut sauce served with steamed rice – and a pan seared mahi mahi fillet served with grilled cherry tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, peppers and mushrooms, infused with pesto.
A handful of capers added a little zing to the dish.
Although unaccustomed to eating three course meals in the middle of the day, we felt obliged to accept dessert – in the name of research, you understand. It’s a good job we did or we would have missed out on the homemade Bounty bar, a coconut parfait made with coconuts from the Britannia golf course, encased in rich, dark chocolate and garnished with caramelised bananas and lemon jelly. Simply delicious.
More often than not, if you want to enjoy lunch at a beachfront location, it means compromising on the quality and originality of the menu. Hemingway’s, however, offers the best of both worlds.
For more information, call 945-5700.