(Published in the Cayman Compass Weekender, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015)
Driving up through the gates and onto the sweeping driveway of The White House, an imposing 21,000-square-foot estate in Bodden Town, it’s hard not to be impressed.
The White House is the former oceanfront home of an American business tycoon – a sprawling single-story home that occupies a prime piece of real estate along one of Bodden Town’s most picturesque waterfront spots.
During the past eight years, its new owners have transformed it into one of Cayman’s premier event venues, now a popular spot for destination weddings and corporate functions. The White House boasts a wide range of amenities, including a pristine white sand beach, what must be Cayman’s largest and most impressive deck spanning some 6,000 square feet over the water, a stunning freshwater pool, and function rooms galore.
Now, thanks to the recent appointment of a new experienced executive chef, The White House is officially open to the public for lunch and dinner, seven days a week, offering a new and impressive dining destination just in time for the holidays.
Chef Jiri Zitterbart – or George as he prefers to be called – brings more than 18 years’ culinary experience to The White House. Originally from Brno in the Czech Republic, he has spent the past four years heading up the team at the popular West Bay restaurant Morgan’s Harbour. He has trained under a host of internationally renowned chefs, including Vito Mollica (Rome, Italy), Paul Flynn (Dublin, Ireland), and Gordon Ramsay, (London, England). At just 25, Zitterbart became the youngest executive chef at the luxurious Four Seasons hotel in New York. Now, he is keen to bring his fresh, farm-to-table, family-style dining to The White House. His focus is to use only the freshest locally sourced ingredients to produce good-for-you tasty fare infused with the flavors of the Caribbean.
There are a host of dining options at The White House – inside in air-conditioned comfort, around the oceanfront pool, on the beach with the sand between your toes, or on the vast deck which offers spectacular panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea.
During a recent visit for dinner, my guest and I chose to dine around the pool, which offers stunning views of the beach and the sea spanning out into the horizon.
The menu changes daily to reflect the availability of locally sourced ingredients. For starters we opted for a selection of ceviches – wahoo and conch – as well as chef’s “cracked conch,” thinly pounded conch lightly fried in bread crumbs and served with tartar sauce. Conch is in season in Cayman, so it was no surprise to see this featured prominently on the menu. So too is Caribbean spiny lobster, which I chose for my main course, served with a filet mignon and a deliciously decadent mushroom sauce. My husband Matt opted for the seafood combo, which included catch-of-the-day, snapper and mahi mahi, and Caribbean-spiced grilled shrimp, served with a selection of garden vegetables and mashed potato. We each accompanied our meals with a glass of Champagne to start with, followed by some of The White House’s signature handcrafted cocktails. For dessert, chef had made a simply divine passion fruit ice cream.
The White House aims to offer a full resort experience, with the idea that people will come for the day and enjoy the magnificent beachfront setting, whether lounging by the pool, relaxing on a beach sun lounger, or simply whiling away the day on the deck with a cocktail in hand. Plans are under way to offer a wide array of family friendly events, including Sunday brunches, beach barbecues, and music and dining soirees.
“We want people to come and relax and enjoy the entire resort, providing guests with an opportunity to spend an hour or a day away at this quiet oasis of tranquility,” said Padraic Linnane, managing director.
Indeed, as my guest and I discovered, there’s something rather majestic about dining at The White House which makes the experience all rather special. Perhaps it’s the somewhat rustic view of the Caribbean ocean fringed by palm trees and the sound of the sea gently lapping at the shore, all juxtapositioned against the grandeur of The White House. Perhaps it’s the decadent food infused with the flavors of the Caribbean, or simply the fact that The White House feels like an idyllic slice of paradise miles away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Whatever it is, a visit to The White House, is an absolute must.
Reservations for lunch and dinner are recommended. Call 946-5500 or 516-8401. Visit thewhitehousecayman.com.