Bamboo is a familiar name to anyone who lives in Cayman and loves their sushi.
A haven in the Grand Cayman Beach Suites located on the Seven Mile strip, Bamboo went through a complete renovation in 2011 and it now boasts a completely new bar and snazzy décor.
The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming and the drinks are fabulous, thanks to mixologist Jernej ‘Jerry’ Zavadlav.
Jernej was born in Slovenia and grew up with a particular interest in English, history and geography. In college he studied computer engineering, yet his first job out of school was working for his uncle at a cocktail bar.
It is also important to add that he was the lead singer of a group called The Pokerheads that played ska, reggae and rocksteady music.
His uncle set him up for crash course bartending training, and after a few months he was very comfortable serving up all types of drinks. He stayed there for just over a year before moving on to help open a second bar in Nova Gorica that his uncle purchased and renamed ‘Europa’.
A year afterwards he went to the OK Corral restaurant with pizza and pasta on the menu. It was a fun establishment and he stayed for a while as a server and then floor manager.
One evening he decided on a whim to audition for a reality show called ‘Bar’ where 14 people lived in the same house and worked for one bar, trying to make the most profits and avoid being eliminated.
He was actually chosen for the show much to his surprise, and came fourth two months later.
It was finally time to leave Slovenia, and so Jernej went to Dublin on the recommendation of a friend. He worked at a number of establishments like the Bang Café and Balzac as a server or bartender, and remained in Ireland for over two years before considering a trip elsewhere.
One of his managers had already worked in the Cayman Islands and suggested he send his resume to establishments there, which he did. In January 2010 he hopped the pond to Grand Cayman and worked in a few well-established restaurants before coming to Bamboo in November 2011.
At the beginning he was mainly a server on the floor, taking the odd shift behind the bar, but he is now the full-time mixologist on staff and he certainly seems to have the skills to support his position.
He likes working at Bamboo because a sushi restaurant is a new experience for him. The sake menu is nicely varied, and so it gives him a chance to experiment with different ingredients.
That’s what he loves most about this job – the ability to express himself through his drink recipes and the chance to meet new people every day.
Jernej is definitely going to stick with mixology for the time being because he’s good at it and after all, he’s a reality show celebrity known for his drink creations! He’s not an office job kinda guy.
Bamboo is the place to be, particularly for their unbeatable Happy Hour from 5pm to 7pm daily. Bottle beers are $3, well spirits are $4 and select martinis and glasses of wine are $5. You also have to try Jernej’s Grey Goose cocktail. It’s a little bit of heaven in a glass.