I didn’t know Gary Rhodes had a restaurant in the Caribbean, let alone Grenada but when we discovered the Calabash was only a 20 minutes journey away from our hotel, I had to go. It would be rude not to!
Not only that but for shorter distances, they send their own driver to come and get you and take you back free of charge. Our driver’s name was ‘Welcome’ because, as he told us in his soothing Caribbean drawl, his mother had been ten days in labour with him and when he finally arrived and midwives asked what to call him, that was her reply.
Surely enough Welcome arrived on time and drove us to the Calabash, through the colourful and lively neighbourhood of Grandad, which was buzzing with activity at 8 o’clock on a Saturday night.
The Calabash hotel looked nice enough but not that exciting in itself as it was a bit more formal and less glamorous than our own La Source, but we hadn’t come here for the setting or the view but for the food.
We started with two of the Calabash ‘killer’ cocktails. Wow! Somebody had turned up the volume on the quantity of spirits from what we were used to at La Source. The wine list was a little bit limited and uninspiring but it did have a few wines from the US such as Robert Mondavi Chardonnay and Ch. St. Jean Fumé Blanc. How I’d like to get my hands on that list and add a few exciting choices to match the quality and excitement of the food. But for now the real star of the show was the food which was fabulous with clear, pure flavours and lovely textures, beautifully paired together.
The photographs above were taken on my Iphone and are the dishes we ate that night.
I chose the ‘Calabash classic Calallo & Shrimp Tart’, calallo being a green, leafy vegetable widely grown in the Caribbean and similar to spinach. My dish had a a plump, juicy, king prawn sitting on top of a little creamy sauce mixed with wilting, tasty Calallo in a crisp but melting textured little pastry tart. My friend chose the ‘Crispy Pork Fritters with Apple, Pink Grapefruit, Celery and Walnut Salad’ and said the flavours and textures were great.
For the main course I chose the daily special of ‘Warm Lobster with Creamy Noodles and Lemon Butter Sauce’. Grenada is well known for its Grenadian lobsters and it was beautifully and very simply cooked, just as I like it and sitting on top of a light, creamy, buttery, lemon flavoured sauce rather that being drenched in it. The noodles were in a small dish on the side and not too much or overwhelming. The other main course was ‘Buttered Dorado with a Shrimp & Ginger Butter Sauce, with a Passionfruit and Pineapple Vinagrette’.
What was interesting about this dish was that when tasted on its own, the Dorado was a bit oily, but when tasted with the contrasting dry and slightly spicy shrimps it worked perfectly. It can be the same thing with wines, you may not think you like some off-dry or aromatic, perfumed white wines such as Gerwurztraminer or Riesling but when tasted with some spicy chilli-flavoured dishes, it brings out the best in both. We accompanied this with the Ch. St. Jean Fumé Blanc. The oaked Sauvignon Blanc worked quite well with its slightly smoky, China tea and green, grassy flavours but didn’t quite showcase the food as a creamier white might have done.
However the food was fabulous and well worth the visit. To finish, my friend had a really delicious Chocolate Banana Pudding, consisting of chocolate ice cream in a lovely crisp little pastry tuille and an absolutely delicious chocolate souffle with melting hot chocolate sauce in the middle and an extra little jug of chocolate sauce on the side. I chose one of the Ice Cream Cocktails, a Guiness ice cream with Irish whiskey served in a cocktail glass but of the desserts, the chocolate pudding definitely stole the show .
© 2012, Susan Hulme MW. All rights reserved.