Blackbeard’s took their trademark relaxed, laid-back dining experiences to the next level at their latest wine dinner held at Morgan’s Harbour. Aptly named ‘Celebrating Island Life Dinner’, guests were able to soak up this marvelous location perched on the very edge of the ocean, along with some delicious Caribbean dishes and cocktails and wines to match. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull caught the vibe and reports.
Morgan’s Harbour, which is nestled in a gastronomic corner of excellence in West Bay, has long been the locale if you want to chill out from the day with a cold beer in your hand and an interesting bar-buddy sitting next to you for companionship (often who you will have only just met that evening.) It should also be noted, however, that the restaurant produces some excellent cuisine, as showcased at the Blackbeard’s dinner held recently for a packed out crowd.
Diners downed the initial welcoming mini mojitos rather quickly so the bar staff were kept busy squelching limes, muddling mint and measuring out sugar and rum on demand. Canapés were passed and those who were of a faint heart declined the deep fried sprats that stood to attention in their holder. More fool them as they were deliciously crunchy and soft at the same time with a nice savoury bite that worked exceptionally well as an appetiser.
Once diners were seated, Hugh Treadwell, managing director at Blackbeard’s and a frequent diner at these occasions complete with flip flops and laid back air, described the first wine, a Gewürztraminer by Domaine Schlumberger Prince Abbés. He recalled the presence of Mr Schlumberger at a Blackbeard’s wine dinner two years ago and a visit he himself had made to the winery in Alsace, which boasts the largest production of grand cru wines in the whole of Alsace.
The 2006 Gewürztraminer is an elegant example of the grape and a “zippy and floral wine” according to our Blackbeard’s wine specialist for the evening, Cayman Distributors’ Trevor Arsenault (standing in for Jodie Petts who was busy collecting awards for the company in Mexico.) Trevor explained that this wine was extremely versatile and lent itself perfectly to the fresh Caribbean-style ceviche that we enjoyed as our first course.
Restaurant owner Jane Schweiger (who’s husband Richard is the restaurant’s chef and co-owner) explained that they had tempered the acidity in the ceviche down somewhat with an infusion of mango, which mingled fruitily with the Gewürztraminer.
A delightfully presented fresh local catch (which turned out to be mahi mahi but was so fresh they hadn’t had time to note this on the menu) then graced diners’ place settings, served baked in a paper bag with lashings of fresh herbs.
A 2007 Fog Dog Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast was the full bodied accompanying wine to the dish, perhaps a little overpowering in the oak to fully compliment the dish but never-the-less enjoyable. Indeed, the wine was awarded 90 Points by Wine Spectator Online, which noted its “complex, tangy mix of lemon-lime, citrus and green apple flavours that are full-bodied and intense, yet elegant, ending with a cleansing finish.”
Initially, the thought of oxtail, even if it is served in a rich osso bucco style might not be to everyone’s taste (though it’s my favourite dish in the entire world) yet I noted clean plates save for the bones as far as the eye could see at the end of this course.
For me, oxtail sums up everything delicious about true Caribbean food – using inexpensive cuts of meat and slow cooking them to let all the savoury notes develop and the meat melt, with a final result that screams flavour at the final tasting. A masterpiece. Getting in the mood for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, no doubt, Trevor then presented us with a delightful 2008 ‘Chakalaka’ Syrah Blend from South Africa’s Spice Route winery. Comprised predominantly (50 per cent) from Shiraz grapes but blended with Grenache, Mourvedre, Petit Syrah, Souzao (a Portuguese grape), and Carignan, this wine is complex and spicy and a delight to drink.
Morgan’s Harbour chefs continued tickle the tastebuds for dessert with a refreshing lime colada semi freddo. To nicely end this most enjoyable dinner with a distinctly island-vibe, diners enjoyed a glass of Barbancourt rum from Haiti as our dessert finale, made by a company that has been in the business since 1862 and voted one of the best rums by the rum connoisseurs on the table.