Caymanian Compass: Roast lunch a great classic

Roast lunch classic

(Published in the Caymanian Compass, Weekender, Friday, 29 November, 2013)–a-great-classic/

What better way to pass a Sunday than gathered with friends and family around the dining table for a delicious Sunday lunch?

The popular West Bay restaurant, Osetra Bay, has opened its doors for high season, welcoming new head chef Tobias Larcher, a revamped menu and a brand new family-style Sunday lunch destination.

The restaurant is well known for its high-end fine dining. However, on Sundays it whips off its starched white table clothes for the day, opting for a more traditional element to draw in the crowds – a fabulous traditional-style English roast.

Roasts are the glory of the British kitchen, comfort food at its absolute best. I grew up eating a traditional roast nearly every Sunday, so a well-done roast is a welcome taste of home. With my mum as my guest – yes, she traveled all the way from the U.K to visit me, only to be taken out for a great British classic – we headed along the newly opened Esterley Tibbetts highway extension to Morgan’s Harbour – a picturesque spot with stunning views across the North Sound.

It was certainly worth the journey as Osetra Bay’s lunch did not disappoint. Think perfectly roasted potatoes cooked in traditional goose fat so as they are just the way they should be, golden and crunchy on the outside, light and fluffy in the inside; fresh garden vegetables; glorious Yorkshire puddings stacked high on the plate; perfectly cooked juicy prime beef; and lashings of rich, silky-smooth gravy. Ah, heaven on a plate.

If you have room after – and likely only those with the healthiest of appetites will – then there are plenty of satisfying desserts. My guest and I shared the special of a day, a delicious apple crumble served with crème anglaise.

James Sedgley, Osetra Bay’s manager, is originally from the U.K. He has personally overseen the creation of the restaurant’s Sunday lunch menu, with the head chef utilizing his tried and tested traditional roast recipes from home. He says that nearly all Sunday lunch guests plump for the roast. However, there are plenty of other options on the menu, including schnitzel – the head chef is Austrian after all – blackened mahi, an 8oz rib-eye steak, and a seafood linguine.

“We introduced Sunday lunch for several reasons,” Sedgley says. “Firstly we had so many guests ask for a Sunday roast because they all knew I was English, and knew how to do it on a scale, but also because every restaurant who tried on island was just getting it wrong; oily old potatoes and gloopy sauces. There are top class chefs on island, but I guess you have just got to be British to get it right. That being said the most important thing about the British Sunday lunch is the company and location where you enjoy it.”

Indeed, while the food might be good old-fashioned fare – albeit cooked and prepared exceptionally well – the added element of the restaurant’s attention to detail, exceptional service and breezy waterfront deck elevated the whole dining experience to a truly enjoyable treat.

“There are a lot of brunches on island, and I have been to them all and they are just fantastic,” Sedgley says. “But I guess after a few visits it’s kind of like school dinners, not the food, just being herded into big tables in loud dining rooms.  It’s nice to do something more traditional on a Sunday. With the new highway, a Sunday drive out to Osetra and a great lunch really sets you up for the afternoon. Very British!”

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