Chill out dining

Hemingways has been a perennial favourite among tourists and residents alike with its relaxed and airy atmosphere and old colonial-style of décor that ushers in a much sought-after feel of a gentle and genteel yesteryear.

Lunching here, poised right on the edge of Seven Mile beach, you can leave the stresses and strains of your business day firmly back in your George Town/Camana Bay office and instead sink into their large and comfy dining chairs and decide upon which delicacies you wish Executive Chef Shetty and his team to create for you.

Choosing from the set CI$16 menu is a sensible and cost effective option because, as well as specials for the day, it also features regular menu items at a good saving. Take for example my choice from the business lunch menu of a basil-infused Heirloom tomato bisque with lightly smoked paprika croutons as an appetiser, followed by the pan-seared snapper with udon noodles in a Thai sauce. The latter is a regular menu item usually costing CI$16 alone, while the soup, although a special of the day, can be compared price-wise to other soups at CI$5 (Cuban black bean – a true favourite of mine) or CI$6 for a roasted tomato conch chowder. So, in essence, you get the soup for free.

The soup was a masterpiece of tomatoey goodness with just a hint of basil to liven up the proceedings, while the snapper was a huge portion (for me anyway) of delicately spiced fish and soft noodles. Hemingways does spices particularly well, as the chefs demonstrate a real flair for spicing things up without being heavy handed.

Also on the Business Lunch menu was a light soy marinated duck salad with pickled ginger and a cucumber and rocket salad as an appetiser, while the other choice for mains was a Hemingways signature club sandwich with all the trimmings – shaved ham, turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese and avocado on whole wheat.

For those diners who have a sweet tooth and preferred a main and dessert, Hemingways had on offer a zingy sweet house-made Key Lime pie with candied lime zest.

A draw for me in particular to this restaurant is their well-priced and varied selection of wines by the glass – just enough to complement the food and enliven lunch without getting you trashed for the afternoon. My dining companion and I chose a glass of Lunetta Prosecco (CI$10 a glass) to add a little sparkle to our day, but we could easily have also chosen a glass of SA Prüm Riesling ‘Essence’ (CI$10), a lovely wine to match with spicy food, or perhaps a glass of crisp and aromatic New Zealand’s Brancott Sauvignon Blanc (CI$10). If we had been pushing the boat out we might have even tried a glass of Moet and Chandon Imperial for CI$20 but we weren’t, so we didn’t.

So, if you fancy a nice quite lunch far from the madding crowd but just a short drive from work, pleasantly served by friendly staff in chilled out surroundings, I would recommend Hemingways any day of the week.