El Poblet and Restaurante Quique Dacosta

On a night in the last week of March this year, I had a bizarre dream. No grand political visions but rather, a blissful nightmare of sorts about eating at a fine dining restaurant with my mother and vanquishing demons in between courses.

Make of it what you will.

In the morning, I posted a solitary photo of one of the dishes from my dream – one that I had enjoyed in real life also – to Instagram. It’s recognisable enough if you know the chef but it was inconspicuous in all other respects. And like all dreams, this one soon fluttered out of my mind.

I received an invitation in the post a few weeks later in a surreal dream-come-true scenario to discover the Fronteras menu at Restaurante Quique Dacosta in Denia – the very same restaurant that I had been dreaming about. And by July, I was back in Valencia and ready to take up on the surprise offer.

El Poblet, Valencia

Leaves, El Poblet, Valencia

There was a prelude to my visit – a dinner at El Poblet, Quique Dacosta’s one Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Valencia.

Situated above one of his other restaurants in the city, Vuelve Carolina, El Poblet was in a flamboyant bubble of pink embossed wallpaper. There were just a handful of tables where dishes from Restaurante Quique Dacosta’s past menus were served alongside head chef Luis Valls Rozalén’s creations.

For eighty odd euros, you get a tasting of around 12 courses – a steal compared to any offering you might find in London.

But it’s hard to judge El Poblet on its own merits given that so many of the dishes were in essence recycled but if you don’t get an opportunity to travel out to Denia for the three-star experience, El Poblet comes pretty close. Certainly, it is deserving of at least two Michelin stars.

It’s impossible to miss Dacosta’s signature dish, the petals of rose – the very one that I had dreamt about. On my visit, there were also revisited recipes like the red king prawn from Denia and Cuba Libre de Foie Gras. Crowd-pleasers if you will.

Perhaps one of the most visually appealing dishes was the head chef’s creation – The Haze.

It’s not a complicated dish – a small platter prettied up with peas, mushrooms, peashoot, lardon and crumbs. But it’s made theatrical with the addition of a bubbling mist from the dry ice.

In an instant, I was transported back a moment in the Basque Country when winter was approaching. Biting frost was as much on the grass as it was in the crisp air and the sun’s rays struggled to penetrate through the atmosphere. As the car I was in emerged from a tumble of fog, a flock of birds flew past overhead, breaking with the sun. A simple but glorious moment.

I very much enjoyed El Poblet. It was easy to get acquainted with but offered a few twists and turns too.

Restaurante Quique Dacosta, Denia

Strange flowers 2015, Quique Dacosta, Denia

While El Poblet was a cocoon of red hues, Restaurante Quique Dacosta was a vision in white.

The amuse bouche were taken outside the main restaurant with a choice between an air-conditioned room or the white garden.

It’s impossible to imagine devotees to summer picking anything but the exterior where white wicker furniture sat under the shelter of floaty white canopies. With each passing breeze, the fronds of the canopy waved and danced without a care in the world. It’s chic and joyful at the same time.

Delicate little dishes came out in no time at all and brought with them an assault of citrus and smoke flavours that danced with the cava that was served. I would have happily stayed in this state long into the night.

Raim de pastor and kalanchoe, Quique Dacosta, Denia

Inside the restaurant, more tiny dishes followed in quick succession.

Some of these focused on ingredients in minute detail, like the spoonful of fish roe and paper-thin slices of octopus tentacles. Others, like the tomato skin creation, broke the mould of what an ingredient ‘should’ look like. Others still, crossed the line of how many flavours or colours should be on a single plate.

Dish after dish arrived to assault my palate with hardly any time to savour the experience – it was overwhelming to say the least. But even more confusing for the mind, there didn’t seem to be a thread connecting the dishes, except perhaps this single idea of Fronteras, or borders.

By the end, I felt dishevelled and ravaged and was glad to be out in the sun to enjoy the Petit Fours. It was a return to normality after the delivery of a focused and intense symphony.

I’ve held this piece for the best part of a year while ruminating over what I thought of my experience at Restaurante Quique Dacosta.

The impeccable style, from the well-chosen ties of the wait staff to the precise choice of the décor were all so Quique Dacosta. The food, bold, challenging and thrust upon its diner, reflects that. Honestly, I still don’t know if I liked it.

But one thing is for sure – it’s an experience you won’t forget.

Inspirations

Much later, I was researching an article in earnest when I stumbled upon something that I thought was very interesting.

During my visit to Restaurante Quique Dacosta, I was told about how the theme of the restaurant changes every year and has done for the past decade or so. And with the closing of this year, I suppose Fronteras will come to an end and give way to something else.

New for this year was also a chef’s kitchen, one created in partnership with Porcelanosa, where Dacosta could invite selected guests to dine.

Like other development kitchens, this one boasted a workspace filled with hidden equipment. But it’s also a space where Dacosta has started to experiment with lights and sounds akin to what’s happening at Paul Pairet’s Ultraviolet. I can only pretend to imagine what might come out of these experiments for the menu for next year.

But the thing that I later discovered, which impressed upon me a new appreciation, was the fact that Dacosta started working at Restaurante Quique Dacosta in his mid-teens. Of course, it wasn’t his restaurant then and it was known as El Poblet. Eventually, Dacosta took over the restaurant and made it his, gaining Michelin stars and a whole host of other accolades in the process. But he has only ever worked in one restaurant, a feat that’s matched by few.


In Pursuit of Food travelled to Valencia with flight support from the Spanish Tourism Board and was a guest at El Poblet and Restaurante Quique Dacosta. For more information on what this means, read our Editorial Policy.

How mass migration shaped Sichuan cuisine

I wrote this a while ago for a possible project. It’s some 1,700 words – a rather long read but you may be surprised.

If you were asked to describe Sichuan cuisine, what would you say?

Searingly spicy? Tongue numbing? Intense with pungent aromatics? Delicious and addictive? For most people, their last Sichuanese meal inevitably contained dishes laced with chilli, Sichuan peppercorns and garlic. It’s a simple and straightforward interpretation of the region’s cooking but it’s one I want to dispel.

Western Shu treasury fish, Kuan Alley No 3, Chengdu, China

Sichuan is the cuisine of my homeland. It’s what I grew up with; it’s my daily banquet and what my genes know almost innately. So when someone tells me that Sichuan cuisine is just spicy and numbing, every fibre in me ignites with vexation. You see, Sichuan cuisine, for me, is a complex myriad of flavours often misrepresented in simplicity.

Before I started delving into this subject, I couldn’t pin point why I thoroughly believed in the diversity of flavours except to say that most of the dishes I grew up with weren’t spicy or numbing. Of course, chillies and Sichuan peppercorns were widely available and consumed in abundance but they certainly weren’t the whole of it.

So, packing my bags for two months of travel, ostensibly on assignment, I went home to Chengdu to reconnect with my heritage.

It’s almost embarrassing to admit that I learnt much more about Sichuan’s history in the short few weeks’ visit than I ever did in the years growing up there. Many of these historical events shaped today’s Sichuan cuisine in ways that we could only speculate about. But more on that later. First, I want to try and define this fast-evolving Sichuan cuisine.

According to classical cookbooks on the subject, Sichuan cuisine is divided into 23 distinctive schools of flavours with 27 main methods of cooking. The result, coupled with Sichuan’s diverse bounty of ingredients, is a menu of dishes that runs into the hundreds, if not the thousands. Indeed, there’s a Chinese saying of Sichuan cuisine that “each dish has its own flavour; a hundred dishes with a hundred flavours”. It is perhaps this sizeable repertoire of recipes that enthroned Sichuan as one of the eight cuisines of China.

It’s hard not to wonder whether Sichuan’s cuisine is large beyond definition at this juncture but what if I were to posit that this is because Sichuan is a fusion of flavours?

Controversial perhaps but evidence of this can be found in a single ingredient – Pixian doubanjiang, a spicy fermented bean paste.

Pixian doubanjiang close up

To understand why the development of Pixian doubanjiang is deep-rooted in the formulation of Sichuan cuisine, we have to wind back through a brief history of the region.

Sichuan’s reputation as the land of abundance came into being thanks to the irrigation system built at Dujiangyan in 256BC. It managed excess water in flood season and maintained water tables in drought, creating a plain of fertile, cultivable land in the Sichuan basin. Life was relatively easy and the rich tea culture that developed became a symbol of the life of leisure that remains important today.

The long periods of peace in the region was overshadowed by two instances of enduring conflict, in the 14th century and 17th century, during which 90% of the population of Sichuan was wiped out. Well-documented migration from the modern regions of Hunan, Hubei and, to a lesser extent, Guangzhou, was made mandatory to repopulate the region. Civilians were literally bound like slaves and led into Sichuan to fill the population gap.

It’s no surprise then that Sichuan became a melting pot of flavours as the different regional cuisines fused with the indigenous offering – it’s an anthropological development that we can see all over the world. Of course, we can’t trace the invention of a specific flavour to a precise date owing to a lack of detailed historical records but evidence can be found when we examine the aforementioned classical Sichuan flavours.

For ease, let’s start with the obvious components of chillies and Sichuan peppercorns.

ingredients for gong bao ji ding

Sichuan peppercorns were, according to various accounts, indigenous to the region and have been used in dishes long before chillies. Numbing doesn’t quite describe the experience of eating these peppercorns as it excludes the nose-tickling floral intensity of the spice as heat is applied during cooking, though it does capture its after effects on the palate. Their popularity is obvious as they feature prominently in three of the classical flavours of Sichuan, alongside the salt from the wells of the region.

Meanwhile, chillies were first introduced to China from South America in the 16th century by Portuguese travellers. In fact, they still hold the designation of “pepper from the sea”. The relatively insular location of Sichuan meant that their arrival into the region likely coincided with the mass migration at the beginning of the 17th century. This perhaps explains why we see so many similarities between the cuisines of Sichuan and Hunan.

The adoption of chilli in Sichuan cuisine is widely explained by the region’s humid climate, a custom rooted in the historical prevalence of Taoism in the region. One of the key principles of Taoism is that of yin and yang – a balance of the two must be achieved for health and longevity. Accordingly, the damp humidity of the atmosphere causes yin in the body, which can be balanced by eating chillies, a source of yang.

“Ma La” is the school of flavour that embodies spicy and numbing as its top notes, with the liberal application of both chillies and Sichuan peppercorns. The classic example for this flavour is “mapo doufu”, a mildly spicy, tongue-numbing tofu dish, pungent with the fragrance of Sichuan peppercorns. You might know it as pock-marked woman’s tofu in the western world. If imitation is the best form of flattery then this dish has found infamy for, in all probability, it is one of the most reproduced Sichuan dishes in the world and perhaps why we are so familiar with the spicy and tongue numbing elements of Sichuan cooking. Certainly, no Sichuanese restaurant worth its well salt would be without the dish on the menu.

But what about those flavours I mentioned without chilli or pepper?

Take for example mandarin flavour, where the top notes are taken from mandarin peels. It’s a flavour that’s perhaps more akin to Cantonese cooking than anything else. Indeed, much of the world’s most sought after peels come from Guangzhou, or Canton by its Cantonese name. How about five spice? Some of the main ingredients in this school of flavour, such as star anise and cloves, are primarily cultivated in Guangzhou even today. Both of these flavours show the influences from Sichuan’s neighbouring province of Guangzhou, one of the homelands of the migratory population.

But these are just evidence based theories so let’s try to pin point this migration and fusion idea to our singular ingredient, the doubanjiang from Pixian.

pixian doubanjiang being made

Often dubbed the soul of Sichuan cuisine, the umami-pumped Pixian doubanjiang appears in numerous celebrated dishes, including the aforementioned mapo doufu. As well as featuring in classic dishes of other flavour schools, it’s also the basis of its own school of flavour – “jia chang”. This, we can translate to everyday home cooking. It’s a pretty broad category and one which epitomises doubanjiang’s integration into Sichuan cuisine.

According to definitions, everyday home cooking in Sichuan has a flavour profile composed of Pixian doubanjiang, local well salt and soy sauce. The complex flavour is fresh, slightly spicy with an alluring aroma akin to that of baijiu, the Chinese grain spirit. An example of this flavour is twice cooked pork, where blanched pork belly would be thinly sliced and given a second wok cooking with the aforementioned flavourings.

The process of making Pixian doubanjiang is simple but painstaking.

Broad beans and chillies, both now locally grown varieties, are put into a terracotta tank with Sichuan well salt and flour. The mixture is allowed to ferment over the course of a year or more, during which it is “flipped” twice daily.

In the early morning, the dew collected on the surface of the mixture is upended to the bottom of the tank. The exposed surface is allowed to dry out in the afternoon sun before the mixture is rotated again in the evening so that the dried surface moves to the bottom of the tank. Each time, the mixture is thoroughly combined but care is taken not to crush the beans. Over the year, the beans inevitably soften to a mulch, its form still visible, developing a nutty, spicy and pungent complexity thanks to the slow fermentation process.

Variations of this fermented bean paste can be found throughout China, usually made with soy beans, though perhaps none as widely lauded. What makes Pixian doubanjiang special is its unique combination of geography and climate with the ingredients.

In Pixian, the unique climate of the Sichuan basin fosters the perfect conditions necessary for the process of dew and sun exposure while its geography allows access to plentiful cultivable land for the beans and chillies. The ingredients used for Pixian doubanjiang are now all locally sourced but we should remember that it was immigration that first brought the chillies into Sichuan. Along with the local well salt used, the doubanjiang was a fusion of indigenous and imported ingredients from its birth.

Some legends even go as far as to say that the process of producing the bean paste itself was discovered along the immigration journey, though of course we have no proof of this. After all, fermented bean paste is not exclusive to Sichuan. What is certain is that the fusion of the different elements has led to the creation of a product found nowhere else, an ingredient which forms the backbone of much of Sichuan cuisine.

Bamboo sour soup and fish lip, Kuan Alley No 3, Chengdu, China

Going back to the question of how I would describe Sichuan cuisine, I’d have to repeat the word fusion. We have seen the incorporation of numerous influences in its classic dishes but it’s not as simple as suggesting that Sichuan cuisine is merely a mix of everything. Instead, I’d like to propose that, thanks to the raw materials, flavours and perhaps even techniques introduced into Sichuan through mass immigration and the subsequent period of integration, Sichuan has developed its own culinary identity based on its unique foundation of diversity.

Perhaps it should be called one of the world’s most integrated fusion food.

Wine storage 101: The ten golden rules

The small peaks in temperature that we briefly called a heat wave in London is long over. But in the few days of stifling humidity, I did wonder: are my wines going to taste ok when I come to taste them in the autumn?

I, like many others who live in the city, have trouble with space. Without a garage or a cellar, finding a place to store wines at the right temperature can be a real issue. This is especially true if you’re living in rented accommodation and you don’t want to make the investment of getting a wine fridge.

Just then, Ebba Riismark from winestoragecompany.co.uk got in touch about their products. As I had no experience with wine storage, I thought it would be interesting to get some insights from the experts. So without further ado, here are the ten golden rules for wine storage:

Wine rack with bottles

You love wine.

And just like the way your interest has grown, so has your collection. But how, and where, should you store them? Even more importantly, how do you make sure they remain their absolute best when doing so?

There are many different wine storage solutions, and finding one that fits you might not seem like the easiest thing to do. However, if you just follow these ten golden rules of wine storage, you will be more than half way there.

1. Keep it cool

The first thing to make sure is that your wine is stored in a cool place.

If it’s not kept below an appropriate temperature level, the wine will become cooked. Wine cannot stand high heat and temperatures above 22 degrees Celsius can be disastrous.

2. … but not too cool

Besides avoiding the heat, you should also keep your wine from getting too cold.

Regular fridges are way too cold, and can only keep your wine in good condition for a little while. If you plan to store your wine, or aging it, the ideal temperature is at 12 degrees. Whatever the wine, the temperature should be between 10 to 14 degrees for it to flourish in the long run.

3. Constant is best

When you have the right temperature, you should also make sure that you keep it at a steady level.

Wine likes temperature to be constant, and too much fluctuations will harm the quality of the wine. Actually, a steady temperature is more important than the exact degree itself. So before you hunt the perfect temperature, make sure that it can be held at a steady level.

4. Watch out for the sun

Ever thought about  why wine bottles tend to be colored?

Basically, the shaded glass works like sunglasses for the wine. No wine is especially fond of the light, and the sun with its UV rays are particularly bad (except some sweet wines, which already had extreme sun treatment). The best way is to store your wine behind solid doors. But if you want to show off your collection, glass doors are fine too – just make sure they are UV protected.

5. Free from vibrations

No wine likes to be shaken around a lot.

In fact, vibrations could be pretty harmful to the wine and should be avoided. Most vibrations come from machines placed nearby your storage, or from the storage itself. Therefore, always make sure that your wine cooler’s compressor is fitted with a silencer. Also worth considering is that wooden shelfs naturally absorb vibrations better than metal ones do.

6. No smell

You should keep your wines away from strong odours.

In a regular fridge there can be many odours affecting your wine in an unwanted way, which is why it is very important to store your wine in a cooler that has perfectly pure air. The reason is that wine naturally breaths through its cork, taking in the surrounding air.

7. Appropriate humidity

Apart from breathing through its cork, the cork also works like a humidity control for the wine.

If the cork is not kept in a humid condition, it will dry out and allow air to enter the bottle. If this happens, the wine will become oxidised very quickly and potentially turn sour. Lying the bottle on its side will help, as would naturally humid conditions in the air.

8. Always store sideways

As mentioned in the previous point, keeping the bottle on its side can help prolong the life of a wine.

The moisture of the wine will seep into the cork and help to prevent it from drying out. This position will also help any sediment to settle in the bottom of the bottle.

9. Wine cooler

If you don’t have a cellar nearby, a wine cooler or cabinet is probably the best way to store your wine at home.

With a cooler you will have full control of all points above. A cooler is often smaller than a cabinet, and is great for storing wines for a shorter period of time. In the long run, and if you have a large collection, it might be worth investigating into alternatives.

10. … or cabinet?

Unless you have a very serious collection of wines, a wine cabinet might be sufficient.

The bigger size and better gadgetry will mean that it can handle aging and long-term storage better.

15 Mile Menu at The Kings Arms, Christchurch

A little while ago there were numerous stories in the property section about the UK’s most expensive beach shacks. On the market for hundreds of thousands of pounds and looking little more than glorified sheds, they caused quite a sensation.

The reason why I’m talking about this on food pages is because across the strait from these expensive summer homes is the harbour where chef Alex Aitken sources his fish. That row of beach-front property is some what of a local attraction and, when I went to meet the fishermen with Aitken, they were duly pointed out to me.

Mudeford coastline, Dorset

Perhaps in startling contrast to the expense of the property in the area, the food at The Kings Arms in Christchurch is remarkably good value. In fact, it holds a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide for precisely that reason.

Incidentally, the reason why I had travelled all the way to Christchurch in Dorset was to try out the restaurant’s new 15 Mile Menu. Costing just £15 for two courses, it’s something of a novelty for someone who’s used to dining at London rates. But Aitken manages to make it work.

Fishing boat in Mudeford harbour, Dorset

The two fishermen I met on the harbour, about 5 minutes drive from the restaurant, both sourced their fish on day boats. Their day was timed by the tides as it’s impossible to get in and out of the harbour when the tide is out.

The nature of the business is such that you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get but Aitken works closely with the fishermen and buys up their by-catch. That is, the lesser known fish of the day. They tend to be much cheaper, which is the aim of the game.

Ten, perhaps 15 minutes drive from Christchurch and you’ll have reached Hampshire. There, just off the dual carriage way, is a pick-your-own farm where Aitken sources his vegetables. He doesn’t pick his own of course, but it’s how he manages to cut down the mileage of the fruits and vegetables he uses.

It’s helps to be hyper-seasonal when you’re working so locally and economically.

Aitken always knows what’s in season, not only because he drives past the farm daily but also because he has his own small holding, which he runs with his wife. There, he rears his own pigs and grows his own vegetables, some of which are used at the restaurant.

So just who is this Alex Aitken?

Alex Aitken cooking at The King's Arms, Dorset

He’s a man who, perhaps almost on a whim, decided to open a restaurant decades ago.

He had been a waiter with no culinary experience and his wife was on the verge of giving birth at the time. It has been no easy task but as far as culinary training goes, opening your own restaurant is a pretty steep learning curve. Aitken described how he started out by cooking everything à la minute, including the sauces. He quickly realised how infeasible this was and learnt to adapt.

He also worked on the Limewood Hotel, the site that’s later become The Pig at Limewood.

With proven experience and expertise, Aitken was drafted into rescuing The Kings Arms, of which he’s now the chef/patron. When he took over, the restaurant was making a loss in the hundreds of thousands. Now, with just over 100 covers, it’s turning a profit four times that of the loss it once made.

Well let’s talk about the food that makes this business work.

It’s simple British food, reminiscent of gastro-pubs, with butter and cream usage that would make the French envious. But there are plenty of greens on the menu too. It’s on the right side of fancy; that is to say it’s up-scale enough to be considered everyday luxury but not quite so innovative so as to alienate its loyal following. Ultimately, it’s real food – food you could identify.

When I visited, Aitken cooked up young broad beans in their shells, which we plucked from the pick-your-own farm earlier in the day, with bacon and plenty of cream. It was then followed by the last of the season’s asparagus and foraged greens, tossed with fresh cheese. From the fisherman’s fodder, we had Asian inspired crab claws, still in their shells and needing to be carefully extracted.

After tasting the day’s pickings, I tried a couple of starters from the 15 Mile Menu. Following the seafood theme, I had the crab croquettes, made with the brown and white meat of Mudeford crabs. Next came Alex’s twice-baked soufflé, a rich and cheesy rendition of the classic. Needless to say, the dishes were packed with the flavour of the season.

Finishing off the meal was a very classic sticky toffee pudding.

Actually, the end of the meal was probably a cocktail at The Bar where they also served 15 Mile cocktails made with local spirits like Dorset Black Cow vodka and the recently launched Conker gin.

The whole thing is probably as local as it gets.

The Kings Arms, 18 Castle Street, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 1DT www.thekings-christchurch.co.uk

 


In Pursuit of Food was a guest of The Kings Arms, Christchurch, part of the Harbour Hotel Group. For more information on what this means, read our Editorial Policy.

Island eating in Grenada: the restaurants

(This is the second part of the Island eating in Grenada post. The first was on the island’s raw ingredients.)

Being in Grenada for the Grenada Chocolate Festival meant that there were a lot of chocolate related meals but I also had an opportunity to explore some of the local fare.

Rhodes Restaurant at Calabash

Most of the places I went to were pretty casual so I’ll start with the one fine dining restaurant – Rhodes at Calabash Hotel. It’s open for dinner only, although with its beautiful, green-canopied veranda, it should really be open for lunch too.

Under the guidance of celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, the Rhodes Restaurant is suitably European with the occasional Caribbean flavours peaking through. Actually, I was surprised about how good it was because attempting European-style food outside of Europe rarely works. But this did. The chocolate banana pudding with salted caramel ice cream and chocolate sauce was, for a lack of better clichés, to die for.

BB’s Crabback

Swinging to the other side is the ultra-casual BB’s Crabback, which of course everyone reads as crabshack the first time round. It’s a fun little lunch spot in St George with views out over the bay. Just about everything on the menu is named after one member or another of chef/patron Brian Benjamin’s family but it’s hard to pick favourites.

The crabback is basically crab meat baked in its shell with herbs and sauces but the restaurant also serves up other typically Grenadian dishes such as lambie (conch) and callaloo (a local plant with spinach-like flavour). I had a wonderful lunch there but it’s definitely not the cheapest place to go to for lunch.

Patrick’s Home Style Restaurant

The one that really impressed me was Patrick’s Home Style Restaurant. It’s a casual, home-cooking type of place with sharing portions and bad lighting, which means it’s bad for photographs but good for just tucking into the food.

Ms Karen is the chef now but the restaurant was opened by her father Patrick. There’s strictly speaking no menu. Instead, you get between 15 to 20 dishes, served “tapas style”, to share between the table. Normally this really gets my goat (yeah I said it, sharing is not my thing. And the pun too.) but the portions are so generous that no one will miss out.

I think I liked this place so much because it did feel like eating at home, but with Caribbean food obviously. We had, amongst other things, a rich and earthy callaloo soup, a garlicky green banana salad, fish cakes, crab salad, chicken salad, creole fish etc. It was a big menu, showing off the diversity of Grenada’s ingredients and the flavours that can be created within Caribbean cuisine.

Other places

I stayed at two very different hotels during my time in Grenada, True Blue Bay and Blue Horizons, and had my share of meals there. There were self-catering facilities on site for both but it’s a little impractical without a car.

Blue Horizons had a casual westernised bar and a slightly more formal creole restaurant called La Belle Creole. It’s simple food and some of it inspired by the owner, Arnold Hopkin’s mother. True Blue Bay was much more international in its offering at Dodgy Dock with anything from Mexican (the owner Magdalena Fielden is the Honorary Consul of Mexico for Grenada) to pizza.

On one of the nights, I went to the Sandals La Source Resort to try their Japanese teppanyaki offering, Kimonos. The chefs were clearly well-trained to entertain and the food was delightful but it just wasn’t Caribbean. That said, sushi is apparently very popular in Grenada because of the fresh fish.

I also popped into Coconut Beach, a French creole restaurant on Grand Anse Beach. I heard it’s more of a lunch spot because of the view but, as I had already eaten, I thought I’d just have something light and see what it’s like. Although the service was very attentive, the food sadly didn’t compare well to the highlights from the rest of the week.

Last thoughts on food in Grenada

My week in Grenada has been a diverse mix of local and international food, some of which has been surprising and others surprisingly good. I think the best way of describing it is that it’s wholesome comfort food. It’s not diet food but it’s delicious stuff. And if you wanted to stay in shape, the island has plenty of ways to keep you fit like the weekly hash.

I can’t say that I’ve uncovered Grenada’s true culinary identity but it’s certainly given me a lot of flavours to think about.


In Pursuit of Food was a guest of Grenada Tourism Association. If you want to know what this means, check out our Editorial Policy.