Monday, June 28, 2010

Grenadines: Best Beach Lunch Ever?

Recently got back from a week sailing in the Grenadines with friends Adam and Jeremy. Ate (and drank...and drank) on the boat for virtually the whole trip rather than eating ashore. Did have one extremely non-memorable meal at the marina in St Vincent before heading south, which shall not be mentioned further in this space.

The one meal we did have ashore, however, was a standout. It was at the beach bar/restaurant/hotel in Saltwhistle Bay on the little island of Mayreau in the Grenadines. I cannot remember the formal name of the restaurant but since it is the only restaurant on this particular beach, it is easy to find. Saltwhistle Bay is itself a picture-perfect little harbor fringed by palm trees and with the wind blowing through a cut between hills.

After having spent a couple of days anchored out on the very unspoiled Tobago Cays, we sailed over to Mayreau on our way to Union Island. We seemed to be the only patrons and had our choice of large stone and concrete tables. Fortunately the large and placid lady who also took our order brought some cushions; otherwise it would have been quite uncomfortable.

We ordered a round of beers (as we had agreed not to drink hard alcohol while sailing). Unfortunately the only choice was the local Hairoun, pronounced by us Hair-on (as in, "there's a hair on my beer") but we managed to force down a couple of rounds. Meanwhile, Adam had inquired from Large Lady about the "local curry" as in "what kind of curry is it?" The bemused response was, "well, the normal kind". Being an adventurous type, Adam ordered it anyhow. Jeremy had the fisherman's platter and I opted for a simple fish sandwich with fries.

There then ensued a very long wait. We could have taken a stroll around the harbor, but we had already done that, so we sat and drank our beers and waited. Eventually the waiter/bartender appeared staggering under the load of two massive platters, plus my fish sandwich.

All of the food was fantastic. We quickly surmised that the curry was conch...and very tender indeed, which is not easy to bring about. The curry was quite mild but very flavorful. The fisherman's platter had a very large portion of delicious snapper plus vegetables and rice (also with the curry). My fish sandwich was large, on fresh bread, and stuffed with lightly fried version of the same snapper.

It was one of the simplest and most perfect al fresco lunches I can remember, on a deserted beach overlooking a beautiful harbor, and all for about $60. Hard to beat that! Kudos to the chef at Saltwhistle Bay.

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