The Journal starts a brand new column this month, featuring restaurants across the island that offer great value for money, speedy service and just the right ambiance for that perfect business lunch. This month the spotlight is on Luca. Business Editor, Lindsey Turnbull reports.
ven though you might only have an hour in which to cram your lunch break, Luca (situated along the West Bay Road at The Caribbean Club) is the kind of restaurant you automatically want to linger in, long after the bill has been paid. It’s chic, sophisticated and elegant without any trace of stuffy formality, by virtue of the wait staff who are friendly, knowledgeable and keen to please without being overly forward. The ambiance is further enhanced by the restaurant’s funky curved bar design and the tremendous detail the owners have considered with the rest of the décor – plush leather, new age lighting and trendy artwork make this a show stopper of a location.
Lunch at Luca is an especially pleasurable experience because their business lunch menu is a highly affordable CI$20 (excluding grats), which gives you the chance to sample an appetiser and mains or mains and dessert, plus a glass of white or red wine to boot, a great offer and one which locals in the know take good advantage of.
Having the luxury of a couple of hours at hand, my dining companion and I seated ourselves outside on the patio. Even though it was the middle of the day and heading towards that stifling Cayman summertime, the refreshing breeze from the ocean and shade afforded us by a huge umbrella meant we never felt uncomfortable. Sitting outside means you can embrace the full view of the ocean that sits the other side of the Caribbean Club’s infinity pool, and a dazzlingly beautiful view it is, too. You can watch the tourists at play on the beach and pretend for a moment or two that you aren’t actually in the middle of a busy working day.
As an appetiser on the CI$20 menu I chose a rich and creamy asparagus soup that was spiked with a dash of olive oil and went superbly with the heaving bread basket filled with naughty carb-laden deliciousness. My dining companion chose the salad from the a la carte menu – a good-sized bowl of plum tomatoes, pears, pecorino cheese, toasted almonds with a balsamic dressing that was noted for its piquancy.
We both chose the pasta primavera from the CI$20 menu – again a good-sized portion of penne pasta full of aubergines (eggplant), red peppers and asparagus nicely rounded off with a liberal dash of parmesan cheese.
We both decided on a glass of white wine to pair with the meal – I went for the Sauvignon Blanc and my companion the Chardonnay. We then shared a further glass of Chardonnay (for the sake of investigative journalism purposes) and I think the Chardonnay was the winner when paired with the pasta course – the strength of the hearty vegetables needing a hearty full bodied wine to match their flavours.
Although we had already used up our menu choices with out appetiser and mains courses, we felt it would be rude not to try Luca’s dessert on the CI$20 menu, which this time was a tiramisu. Served in a coffee cup and decorated with strawberries, the tiramisu was light, elegant and the perfect end to a delicious meal.
A great choice for a business lunch, the only downside to lunching at Luca is that you might enjoy it so much you could find yourself late back to the office.