Wednesday 27 May, 2020

Food and Rum Gourmet Safari 2018 gets four ‘yeses’ from the South 

Dining at Naru Restaurant for the Food and Rum Festival were (L-R) Giovanni, Claudia, Aliza and Peter. They're from Italy but reside in Barbados.

Dining at Naru Restaurant for the Food and Rum Festival were (L-R) Giovanni, Claudia, Aliza and Peter. They're from Italy but reside in Barbados.

Four South coast restaurants are already mentally prepared to participate in the Barbados Food and Rum Festival 2019, after this year’s edition wrapped up last night.

Of the 19 stops on the Safari held Saturday, October 2018, around the island, under the banner of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), part of the LOOP Lifestyle team stopped in at Naru Restaurant, Cocktail Kitchen, Pure Ocean and Ocean Two.

It was a whirlwind four hours but tasty and delightful.

Barbados Food and Rum Festival 2018 - Gourmet Safari

When LOOP popped into a buzzing Naru the bartender André Pennigan was happy and willing to share the story behind their signature cocktails created just for Safari night. Of course, they were both rum-based.

The two creations were mixed and mastered by Pennigan byut named by Manager Nico Hutson. They offered the Mango, passion punch and the Strawberry burst. The Punch was favoured by men and the burst was a hit with the ladies. Asked about the thoughts behind the ingredients, Pennigan said he thought “What’s Caribbean? What Barbadian? And he came up the mango and passion and of course, Bajan? Rum!”

Speaking to the response at the restaurant located along the Richard Haynes boardwalk in Hastings, Hutson said, “We had a good few people. It was a very good response.”

Having even offered a separate Safari menu for the Festival foodies, Hutson said, “We would definitely do the Safari again.” And when we asked some of the patrons what they thought as well, a group of residents who moved here from Italy, they had nothing bad to say. One member even wished some of the specialty dishes could be added to the regular menu.

Travelling Easterly along the coast, the next stop was Cocktail Kitchen in St. Lawrence Gap with Chef Damien Leach.

Taking a break from the heat in the kitchen, he walked the restaurant and went to the rooftop and engaged with patrons who bought into the Food and Rum Festival. He had a good mix of locals and tourists who had picked his spot. When asked what made him participate in the Safari, he said, “It’s a different menu to what we’re accustomed, so it was a lot of fun creating.” Leach offered a Pairing which was loaded with flavours.

And his favourite piece to create was also Canadian visitor Mary Jane Domingo’s highlight as well. Enjoyed the special menu with her five friends, she said, “I loved the Scallops!” To which Leach responded, “I loved making those!” The entire table burst out laughing at the discussed the cuisine they have devoured during the courses.

Domingo told Loop, “It's a great festival. We’re all Canadian but two are living here now. This is our first time at Cocktail Kitchen and so we decided to try it for the Food and Rum Festival. The one who’s been living here three years – Barbados’ newest resident is who picked. There were so many options but the chef was the deciding factor, and the cocktails were and added delight.” They even took photos with Chef Damien.

So what was in the scallops?

“Pan seared jumbo scallops with vanilla braised plantain puree, cilantro and coconut crumble, butter roasted watermelon and pickled beetroot!”

To the question of would he do it again, it was a quick, “For sure!” from the award-winning executive Chef at Cocktail Kitchen.

The third South stop was Ocean Two, and there guests and patrons enjoyed a scrumptious BBQ Night. Of greatest note was the roast breadfruit component. Restaurant Manager Jimmy Clarke said, “You can’t do Bajan without breadfruit. It’s a great tradition and it seems to be growing in popularity again.” But the treat that knocked the night out the park for many diners was the rum cake. Restaurant Manager Ryan Clarke said that it was more of a rum truffle with whipped cream and rum sauce.

Despite the crowd being of a moderate size and mainly comprising internationals, Ryan Clarke disclosed that as it relates to Ocean Two Resort participating in another Gourmet Safari, “Of course yes, and not just the Safari, we want to do another event too. I was already talking to the chef.” 

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Fourth and final stop for the night of the Gourmet Safari was at Pure Ocean restaurant at Divi Southwinds Resort in The Gap. And it was a party full of food, drinks, vibes and fun.

There was a set of DJs, various food stations and numerous bars in addition to a rum sno cone cart. Pure Ocean actually brought back a bit of that all-inclusive Crop Over feel and tossed in great chefs with fresh produce from farm to the table.

LOOP chatted with the Pastry Chef who said that “it was a new experience” for him working at Pure Ocean’s Rum and Tings, especially after he was also on the cards at Limegrove for the previous night of the Festival.

Chef Jamal Whittaker switched it up and gave patrons: Passionfruit and Guava Parfait; Nutty Rum Praline Parfait; RUM & Raisin Cheesecake; Mixed berries, mango and carrots breadfruit crumble; Brownie Cake pop; Salted caramel popcorn; and Salted caramel cake.

Ready with a nod, to do Food and Rum 2019, he said people at Pure Ocean “ate everything but they loved the mixed berries, love, love.”

As for LOOP, of what we sampled, we’re lovers of the Strawberry Burst and the Salted caramel cake, with promises to return and try more options on the menus after the Festival concludes today.


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