Birthday celebrations always call for something a little out of the ordinary, so a visit to one of our top five Cayman restaurants was in order, to the fantastic Blue Cilantro.
The restaurant itself is quite unassuming from the outside, located on the “wrong” side of the West Bay Road (i.e. not overlooking Seven Mile Beach) in a complex that houses a bank and other businesses. However, step through the heavy wooden doors and you are immediately struck by the enticing décor that features shades of blue (as one may suspect from the name), crisp white linens and a jazzy electric blue bar, a great spot for imbuing a cocktail or two.
Our party decided the evening should start with a bang and consequently the cocktail menu was inspected and choices made, including a refreshing Moscow Mule, made with vodka, ginger ale and lime, a classic Mojito (light rum, club soda and lime, though flavourings of mango, raspberry or passion fruit could have been added) and a delightfully fragrant gin and tonic, complete with rosemary, cucumber and lime.
To dine at Blue Cilantro and miss out on their amazing clay oven flatbreads would be a bit of a disaster, so we opted for a selection of four different kinds, three complete with different stuffings (cheese, olives and potatoes) and one flat bread with black onion seed. Served with three different chutneys, these moreish bites are a fantastic start and accompaniment to the meal.
A special celebratory meal ought to really consist of things you wouldn’t normally cook or eat at home, so the diver sea scallops were our appetiser choice, served with a tomato jam, burnt cauliflower puree, beech mushroom, chickpea crumbs and a Sherry reduction. Now, the uninitiated might look at these and say, where’s the sauce? But Blue Cilantro’s chefs’ talents lie in their ability to cram as much flavour as is humanly possible into a small portion. So, although you might only get a dot or a ‘schmeer’ of sauce or chutney, it will pack such a flavour that it will complement the dish without overpowering it, as was the case with the diver sea scallops.
Market fish was a mains choice, this time a snapper that has been filleted and blackened, served with a mushroom risotto, corn puree and a truffle corn sauce, all well received by the diner. I opted for the whole catch of the day, which was again snapper and blackened, but this time served in its entirety (i.e. plus head, tail and bones) cooked in a clay oven and served with a satisfying tub of roasted eggplant and chickpea puree and a lovely mustard coconut sauce. Not for the fainthearted, this dish requires you to pull the flesh from the bone, something which I’m happy to do but others might find a bit fiddly. Our party also chose the New Zealand rack of lamb that, I have to say, came perfectly cooked medium rare and was served with a potato and carrot galette, carrot puree, braised salsify and a mighty Barolo Boursin reduction. A special that hadn’t made it to the menu was a marvelous shrimp risotto, which was as beautiful to look at as to taste.
A short burst of ‘Happy Birthday’ later, a slice of light and chocolatey birthday cake and a leisurely coffee, and we were ready for home, a birthday very well spent.