Mhmm.. lets eat!
Cayman Cabana - Farm to Table
65 North Church Street, George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
A locally sourced meal showcasing the very best of Cayman’s locally grown food. Guests gather at a communal table, under the stars, along the Caribbean Sea. There's Just something special about this meal...
There’s nothing quite like enjoying a dish in the place where it originated – like Cayman style fish, marinated in lime, salt and pepper fried with onions, peppers, butter and spices. And, well, that’s just one dish.
So when it comes to the food in Grand Cayman I won’t say I’m an expert, but having lived on the Island for well, most of my life, and having witnessed seen multiple restaurants come and go, I do know now, where some of the best places to eat are, and one of my personal favorites is on a Thursday night at Cayman Cabana’s, Farm to Table.
Tucked away in a corner along the George Town waterfront, right next to the George Town Fish Market, Cayman Cabana is exactly what you’d expect a Caribbean restaurant should look and feel like. A wooden structure, which has worn well over the years giving it a beachy feel. Cabana’s wooden decks stagger along the waterfront with an open design bar, well stock with different varieties of rum, of course, where signs like “Love Ya Like Cooked Food” and “Made in Cayman” are scattered around the restaurant.
A gold bottle with “Best Day Ever” sits in the middle of a table set for 12. The smell of the Caribbean Ocean massages your nostrils while the ‘winter’ breeze caresses your hair, “Hi there” – a patron says, lobster red, from his recent day at the beach. We are the first to arrive, strange, as we are locals and are used to running on ‘Island Time’, within minutes all chairs are filled.
“Let’s get started!” Luigi and Christina Moxam, the passionate duo behind this meal, say as they stand at the head of the table, giving a mouthwatering description of the 4 course meal about to be presented to our table, all made freshly that day. Roughly 15 minutes later, dish after dish is brought to our table.
The mention of coconuts, being peeled and shucked only a few hours before dinner by the coconut man, Mr. Clarence, veggies picked and boxed fresh at East End Farm & Garden and fish caught and scaled right next door at the fish market. How much fresher can you get?
This is my fourth time at Cayman Cabana, and I know its no guarantee dinner is ever the same. Each meal relies entirely on the seasonal availability of local ingredients, from mangos to green beans to fish. Well, except for their Cabana Coconut Ceviche, yes C-O-C-O-N-U-T ceviche. This is where Mr. Clarence comes in, he shucks more than 15 pounds of coconut jelly, not an easy task, found in the younger green coconuts, from the belly of the coconut it’s seasoned with scotch bonnet and seasoning peppers, scallions, sweet bell peppers, escovitch vinegar and a citrus squeeze… mmhmmm. The ceviche is paired with local sweet potato chips, just the perfect size for scooping. The family style dinner is made up of a 4-course, 8 dish spread. This dinner is not for the light eater.
Waiters come out with an organic white and red wine a perfect pairing to the meal. A mason jar, sits parallel to my glass of white wine an easy drink on a hot night, filled with Cabana’s Conscious Cocktail, a fresh pressed thick mango juice with a hint of mint. I think I’ll add a shot of rum next time.
A warm, small bowl filled with carrot and sweet potato soup topped with fresh dill and thickened by fresh coconut cream, starts it off. Once the bowl is licked clean, the Cabana Coconut Ceviche is brought to the table. Greens are up next, the famous Farm to Table Salad has not even touched the table before you hear “Mhm, what is that?”. The brightly colored salad is made with spicy and mild greens, Japanese cucumbers and white radish, mini tomatoes, carrot, and coconut bacon with a passionfruit vinaigrette and zinnia petals.
The Market Catch is a grilled Red Snapper with a bright yellow scotch bonnet mango sauce, paired with a chili seared wing bean with roasted garlic and red bell peppers, along with a winter roast' pumpkin with a raw honey drizzle. Then when I’m just about done, a tomato mozzarella, handmade flatbread topped with scallions and basil, drizzled with balsamic reduction is set on the table.
'Ohhs' and ‘ahhs’ echo in the night. Hands reach over plates, fingers delve into slices of flatbreads, “Can I have some more fish?” “Pass the beans, please?”. Conversations slowly become scarce, the silence almost deafening except for the clatter of the knives and forks on the plates.
I slowly begin rocking in my chair, my stomach on the verge of exploding, the clattering of knives and forks slow down, the dishes began to disappear. Is it over?
Hands begin to reach down and start rubbing bellies, food babies have appeared. I’ve had to undo the tie on my dress, and a button or two. Just then 12 petite masons jars are marched out the kitchen, filled with a mango cheesecake, topped with fresh whip and coconut meat. Finished. Crumbs are left at the bottom of the jar, the spoon cradles the remain coconut meat. And that’s it. I am done. It was a gentle end to the night, perhaps if I had more space I would have done it all again.
Thankfully, I parked not too far away, as my buttons and tie on my dress just won’t fasten. I know I will be back, I’m excited to see what the next season has to offer. Mangos? Papaya? Japanese Cucumber? And this time, I’ll wear my stretchy pants.