(CNS Foodie): East End is recognised for exceptional local food, with Sunday afternoons a traditional time for people to enjoy fried fish. From Bodden Town heading to the Eastern districts there are at least four establishments known for their fish fry, and my father and I stopped at one for some food and bonding.
Eastern Star Fish Fry sits nestled in the corner of the only gas station in East End and with an amazing sea view. The restaurant is set up in a long blue wooden house. Around the corner is a window where you place your order. The menu, well displayed on the floor next to the window, offers mostly seafood options around different kinds of fish, lobster and shrimp.
I decided on the snapper and tried to convince my father to get the wahoo or barracuda, but he was set on the same fish as me. We ordered two regular pan-fried whole snappers ($12 each), one tamarind juice ($2), and corn cake ($2), which was the special dessert of the day. We were asked if we wanted onion over our fish, and my father did. The fish also came with fried breadfruit, though my father was hoping for cassava, and we requested a side of coleslaw. We were given a numbered ticket for our order.
As we waited for our food, we toured the establishment, as there is a panoramic view of the ocean with a dock, which is great for birdwatching. This is a place for people who like the open air, though sometimes the wind can be a bit much for outside dining. There are two bars, one upstairs and another on the sand behind the house. You can eat on the upper deck, or with your feet in the sand and shaded by the concrete support of the bar and a coconut tree.
This is a great place for families and pets, with customers hanging out as they waited for their food.
All orders are served in to-go containers as there is no difference in plating orders for take-away or dining al fresco. A server may carry the food to your table if you are seated but more than likely you will pick up your order at the window once your number is called. I requested tartar sauce to go with the fish, but this turned out to be the store-bought variety as we could see the bottle sitting on the shelf at the ordering window. It would have been nice if they prepared their own unique recipe for the sauce. There is also a shelf where you collect the utensils and a jar full of pickled onion and carrot that you can serve yourself.
We were brought the whole fish with gigantic fritters and one piece of breadfruit. The coleslaw came in a small container but my father’s never arrived. The onion was raw; I prefer it stewed with carrot and vinegar sauce (as in escovitch style). The fish was well seasoned with not too much salt or pepper. It also tasted fresh as if it just came from the ocean, which is always a good sign.
The fritters had a hint of sweetness to them and the outside was golden and crispy, whilst the inside had a nice, thick dough. These are not to be missed. The tamarind juice, however, did not have a strong-enough flavor; I like feeling as if I am eating the fruit. The corn cake was dense and perfect. It was not overbearingly sweet and you could taste the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, and see the small corn pieces within the cake. The top was like a crème brulée, and to top it off it was good value for money as the cake came in a generously cut slice.
My father immensely enjoyed his meal, marvelling at the establishment and the success of the business.
The drawback of the place is the parking, though, as there is no grand paved lot for customers; you either have to park in the adjoining complex lot or off the road in the dirt. Some people also parked at the post office across the street. One factor the owners cannot control is the wind, so you might have to hold on to your plate as the food disappears or it could blow away.
Gratuities aren’t included, but there is a plastic container at the side of the counter for anyone who cares to leave a tip. Overall, this is a great place to relax and enjoy some Cayman-style seafood prepared by locals.