Golden Spoons Review: George Town Yacht Club

| 05/07/2016

CNS Local Life(CNS Foodie): Before we get on to the food, it’s worth mentioning the parking: there’s lots of it, which is not a minor consideration when choosing somewhere for lunch in or near to town. The George Town Yacht Club is just ten minutes from the town centre and two minutes from the airport, easy to get to and easy to park. It overlooks a canal, which cannot compete with a beach view but isn’t bad. And if you fancy dining al fresco, there are tables outside over a sand-covered patio (avoid high heels).

Inside, the atmosphere is smart casual, and it has a good selection of quick and easy dishes on the lunch menu.

We went for Saturday lunch without booking in advance, which in hindsight would have been a good idea as, with raindrops threatening, the place inside was packed. However, a recently vacated table for two was quickly cleared and prepared for us.

The service throughout was very good: briskly efficient and helpful without being intrusive, but friendly, in line with the fairly relaxed feel of the restaurant.

Instead of a bread basket, the server brings hot johnny cakes, which we munched on while sipping some of the house cocktails, the Crispy Cucumber (vodka, cucumber, cilantro, lemon and ginger beer) and the Cohito (described as white rum, coconut rum, mint, lime and coconut water – although, notably, it was actually coconut cream that was used). Both were nice and refreshing, as expected. ($9 each)

So, onto the food. For appetizers my companion and I ordered the standard conch fritters and one of the specialties of the day, locally caught lionfish ceviche, marinated with onions, orange juice, cilantro and ginger. Lionfish has little flavor by itself and is basically a blank canvass for chefs to work with. The combination here really worked and made for an outstanding start to lunch. I don’t know how often they serve it but if it’s on the menu, I thoroughly recommend it.

In addition to being a culinary treat, as an invasive species that is causing havoc to our reefs, this is a fish that really needs to be eaten and props to all the restaurants that serve it.

The conch fritters were also very good – light and smooth, with a definite conch flavor. No complaints there.

For the main course we chose the fresh ricotta spinach ravioli and the herb crusted mahi mahi, and both were a little disappointing. Unlike tilapia, mahi mahi is a flavourful fish and the trick is to get the seasoning right and not to dry out the fish, which this particular dish did not quite manage. It wasn’t terrible but I wouldn’t order it again.

On the other hand, the side dishes were perfect. Choosing two from a good selection, I had some very tasty fresh local kale lightly cooked with garlic and chili, and (a personal weakness) thick homemade fries with a dash of sea-salt. The sides were served in individual dishes, which makes for a nice presentation and avoids the various juices and sauces running into each other unless you want them to.

My companion’s ravioli was fine but the sauce was uninspired, which left the dish overall a little flat. However, it redeemed itself somewhat by the bed of vegetables under the pasta, including local green beans, as well as arugula and parmesan, nicely cooked and seasoned.

For dessert we shared a very generous portion of sticky toffee pudding, which was excellent. I recently tried the much-lauded sticky toffee pudding at the Ritz, but this was better. The cake incorporates cassava, which is a nice touch and gives it another layer of flavour. I’m not fond of the local heavy cake because of the texture but I like the taste of cassava cake.

This melded a desert favourite with an undercurrent flavour of cassava cake, still very moist and pudding-like but without the gelatinous feel of heavy cake. It comes served with caramel sauce and ice cream, both served in a separate dishes.

All in all, the Yacht Club is a good solid choice for lunch.

The total, which included two appetizers, two cocktails, one dessert and 15% gratuity, was CI$88.55.

George Town Yacht Club website

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Category: Golden Spoons Review, Lunch

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