(CNS Foodie): When it comes to brunch in Cayman, Karoo might not be the first place you think of. And in a place where brunch ranks high in the top 3 things to do on a Sunday, you might be looking for somewhere fancy, with a grand buffet laced with carved watermelons and petite pastries. If so, then head elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a casual place to have an all you can eat Sunday BBQ lunch, then Karoo fits the bill. Brunch technically stands for breakfast + lunch, right? Well this brunch should maybe just be called lunch, because there aren’t any breakfast items, unless you count the rolls.
For CI$25, it’s one of the cheapest options out there – sans bubbles of course. But it simply would not be brunch without the bubbles, so add bottomless sparkling for another $20 and you’re in business. Kids 12 and under are half price.
One thing I really like about this brunch is the atmosphere. I like Camana Bay. It’s open, clean, breezy and quiet. Of course, if the weather is bad, it’s probably not so great since most of the seating is outdoors and cover is minimal.
Another cool thing is that this is a BBQ brunch, so there’s a real barrel BBQ outside, flaring and smoking away to cook up some hot and fresh food.
The standard brunch menu includes local fish, ribs, burgers, sausage, hot dogs, chicken, a roast, a curry, salad bar and dessert — not bad for a casual lunch. Our menu that day included jerk pork, jerk chicken, a prime rib roast and a ham, in addition to the other mainstays.
The chicken was a little dry but the ribs and roast were succulent and delicious. We also tried the burger, which was again, simple but everything a burger should be, a juicy savoury patty with fresh condiments on a soft bun.
I didn’t try the jerk pork but others said is was pretty good. The coconut chicken curry was very good and the salad bar was simple, offering various prepared salads like potato, quinoa, seafood and mixed fruit, alongside peeled shrimp and crab claws.
These were ok, but the best item of the day was by far the mac and cheese. It was killer. I mean, really fantastic — al dente pasta, in a creamy, cheesy sauce, not too heavy, not too runny, which, of course, is the perfect accompaniment to BBQ. Dessert selections were simple: an orange cheesecake and a layered strawberry cream cake but you could also order off the regular menu or an à la carte pizza special.
In lieu of bubbles, I decided to try out the cocktail menu. First up was a “beachy keen”, which is grey goose, passion fruit, mint, cranberry and soda. It’s a little on the sweet side for me but still tasty and peppy.
available are four beers on tap, including Guinness and Stella, plus another 15 by bottle, including some specialties like Magic Hat and Blue Moon, and the Caybrew crew.
The wine selection is also fairly comprehensive. My apéritif, on recommendation from our server, was the black cherry citrus cocktail. I never would have ordered this on my own but since she said it was her favorite, I went for it. Again, it was a bit on the sweet side for me, but still flavorful and refreshing.
Speaking of our server, she was awesome. Karoo is not one of those places known for service. Several times I’ve sat down waiting to be acknowledged for more than ten minutes, and I know many other people with the same story. This girl worked our large party across two tables like we were her day off. Granted, we were getting our own food, but she really knew how to make sure we had what we needed, kept us chatting and our glasses filled. She also did not bat an eye when we asked for separate checks and kept a perfect tally of everyone’s varying orders. For once, we were happy to tip over the auto-grat.
Overall, the Karoo Sunday BBQ is nice alternative to the traditional, fancy pants brunch – which I also love – but sometimes you just want to go for lunch and hang out without worrying about if you’re eating and drinking enough to justify the price.
So even though there aren’t any breakfast options, and the bubbles are sparkling, not brut, the experience of relaxing around trees, water and breeze with good food and friends makes Sunday in Cayman just as it should be.