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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
As always, I did a lot of homework before traveling to Bermuda. I visited various forums and message boards and checked out restaurant reviews in travel books. This place appeared to be fairly close to our hotel in Southampton and seemed to be the place where locals would dine. So we chose it for our first meal on the island on a Saturday night.
Bermuda is a very expensive island and I figured that this meal would be one of the less expensive we'd enjoy. And it was and it wasn't! What I wasn't figuring was the cab fare over and back. We could actually see the dockyard from our hotel (The Fairmont Southampton Princess) but the cab fare each way was just over $25. So add $50 to the cost of the meal and it wasn't cheap.
I was expecting to find this place jammed with local diners. In addition to our party, there were only two other tables occupied on the inside and the diners were locals. One family was just finishing up a meal at one of the outside picnic tables and there were a couple of customers waiting for take-out orders. But that was it. Alarms started going off. Nobody there on a Saturday night?
Our server was an extremely pleasant woman and I placed our order while my wife was outside snapping some pictures. We started out with a cup of Bermuda fish chowder and some conch fritters. For our mains I got a fried seafood platter and my wife got a local favorite and a favorite on many tropical and sub-tropical islands - goat stew.
When I asked about side dishes our server started out with peas and rice. I said: "Stop right there, sounds perfect!" She seemed pleased that I would order a favorite of the locals.
The conch fritters were pretty good. Crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside. They were served with a good dose of tartar sauce. The fish chowder--which is always laced in Bermuda with a capful of black rum and some sherry red peppers--was quite tasty.
My fried seafood platter was nothing to write home about. It included several shrimp, three scallops, and some small filets of fish. The shrimp was right out of a frozen box of Mrs. Paul's. Not that there's anything wrong with Mrs. Paul's but I was hoping for fresh. The scallops were probably frozen to begin with, too, but they were good. The jury's still out on the fish. It could have been fresh but if so it was overcooked and lacked flavor. Most disappointing were the peas and rice. All that means is black beans and rice. The dish contains mainly rice with a few beans thrown in along with a robust flavoring. In this case the dish had been sitting around way too long. It was dry, lifeless and flavorless.
My wife's goat stew was okay but she has enjoyed much better renditions in Aruba, Barbados and on other islands.
To end the meal I had a nice cup of coffee and my wife had some sort of dessert although we didn't save the check and we can't remember what it was. Sorry.
This was a pleasant little place but certainly not the "king of seafood." Tab with wine at this "inexpensive" restaurant came to $83. But alas, remember that $50 cab bill that turned this inexpensive dinner into a $133 dollar affair.
ADDITIONAL BERMUDA RESTAURANT REVIEWS: