September 20, 2019

The Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa: Cementing Grand Cayman’s place as a Caribbean culinary capital

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There is a lot to love about the Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, Cayman Islands: Kimpton’s first international resort and ’s first new property in a decade. As the tallest building on island and Kimpton’s foray into the luxury market, the hotel cuts a dramatic figure—and a stylish one; from the modish décor, teeming with color and texture, to the swanky oceanfront bungalows, sprawling Seafire Pool and staff’s uber-chic uniforms—“can I buy one?” I begged a hostess, ogling her jean dress—the 266-room beachfront property sashays into the hotel scene with bravura.

What I loved most about my stay there, though, was not swimming, kayaking or contemplating the cerulean sea from my balcony. It was eating. This is an activity I’ve long relished in Cayman, a small island with big culinary offerings; the 135 nationalities represented here mean dining options run the gamut from high-end Italian to side-of-the-road Jamaican. A thriving locavore scene has developed lately—thanks to a weekly Farmers Market at Camana Bay and another one in Georgetown, farm-to-table dinners at eateries like the outstanding Cayman Cabana have become a culinary staple—while January’s annually attracts the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Guy Ripert.

All of which is to say, when it comes to cuisine on Grand Cayman, the bar is high—and Seafire’s debut officially sets it higher. Here’s how the hotel and its Executive Chef, Massimo De Francesca, have cemented Cayman’s place as a Caribbean culinary capital.

I was the very first diner at the 12-seat chef’s counter in Avecita, Seafire’s showpiece restaurant. I did not know what a blissful big deal this would turn out to be. Built around a wood grill, Avecita is a restaurant-within-a-restaurant focusing on Spanish-style plates; the chef’s counter allows for a birds-eye view of kitchen magic. Giving the menu a once-over I spied meat—lamb, ribeye with chimichuri—but Chef Reymo had other plans.

“Let us do all fish and veggies,” he said. “Lots of local.” “Local” is my middle name, so I happily obliged; “happily” turned out to be the operative word. Dish after dish left me blown away by the innovative marriage of flavors and textures, and the freshness of ingredients—no easy feat on an island where much is imported. There was pan con tomate nuevo, a smoked tomato terrine with Caymanian sea salt that might give tuna tartare a run for its money. Divine white gambas came from Argentina; scallops with white beans and morcila herb dressing were impeccably charred; grilled hearts of palm were served with paprika hollandaise, pistachio, poached egg and lemon. The crown jewel wasberenjena en escabeche, charred eggplant with burnt rosemary and my new favorite food find: blue cheese ice cream.

IMAGES:

The Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, Cayman Islands

Room at The Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa

Avecita

For more on this story go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/bazdreisinger/2016/12/03/the-kimpton-seafire-resort-spa-cementing-grand-caymans-place-as-a-caribbean-culinary-capital/#45bbfa6f190f

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