Monday, Jun 25, 2018
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Dune: Great food, fantastic view

Chef Lester Dean has elevated traditional boiled fish, a signature breakfast item

For most Bahamians, a perfect breakfast would usually involve indulging in a bowl of boiled fish with their choice of either Johnny cake or grits. Boiled fish has simple ingredients that yield an amazing result. But it’s a meal that’s usually relegated to a lazy weekend morning, and even most restaurants opt to only offer it on weekends when people have more time to just be — but at Dune at the Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort, this Bahamian breakfast staple is a signature breakfast item that is to be had daily.

It wasn’t exactly a lazy weekend when I recently visited Dune for breakfast, with my husband David, but rather a hectic Thursday, and I had to go to the office afterwards. But the reward was so worth the effort of leaving the house a little bit earlier than I usually do, and making the trek from west and across the Sidney Poitier Bridge.

We were seated at a table at the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the open-air terrace, to an amazing view of the turquoise waters that Bahamians so often take for granted. But which made me take a moment to just be as we waited on our meals — the boiled fish of course, an order of buttermilk pancakes, avocado toast, and fresh fruit.

Dune offers a generous steaming bowl of boneless chunks of grouper and potatoes in a clear broth with sea salt, lime, and crushed hot pepper on the side, with generous sides of Johnny cake and grits for your indulgence.

The perfectly cooked fish was silky and flaked to the touch it was so tender. The potatoes were cooked to just the right doneness. Dean would never allow overcooked potatoes out of his kitchen. A little pepper, a squeeze of lime, a pinch of salt — a smear of butter on the Johnny cake and a pat of butter on the hot grits, and it was the perfect start to a workday. I almost … just almost forgot that it wasn’t a lazy weekend breakfast outing.

Dean is delivered fish daily. It’s cooked to order and takes about 20 minutes, but that simply means the helping you receive is as fresh as Dean can possibly get it. No matter the day of the week you order your boiled fish at Dune, you can be assured to have the freshest serving.

“It’s simple ingredients, cooked perfectly, says Lester Dean, chef de cuisine.

Offering it daily allows the Ocean Club’s guests a taste of a traditional Bahamian breakfast and culture as well.

“Guests are used to pancakes, eggs, omelettes  — and may want to try a traditional Bahamian dish for breakfast so we offer it daily. And it’s actually healthy. Usually they’re shocked, because it’s such simple ingredients cooked perfectly.”

Bahamians in the know he said usually always come to Dune for the boiled fish and the three-stack buttermilk pancakes that are made from batter that’s whipped up from scratch daily, and served with fresh berries and maple syrup.

According to Dean, not only is the boiled fish fresh, he said everything on their menu is made from scratch — weighed and portioned out to a recipe to ensure perfect consistency every time. And he is proud of the restaurant’s made from scratch philosophy.

“Dune has a complete breakfast with a variety of items, and they’re made with love. You can expect more than just hotel food.”

And if you want to go outside the box — the avocado toast on the lighter fare menu is a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy — as it’s healthy too. Crisp grilled sourdough bread meets creamy smashed avocado, and spicy jalapeños, tempered with a soft-boiled egg and cherry tomatoes with a hint of harissa oil. Can I say perfect!

But if you’re not counting calories and just want to completely indulge in sinfulness, the brioche deep-fried French toast is the ticket. They coat it with brown sugar and cinnamon. “It’s pretty good, for those times when you just want to indulge,” said Dean, who says when you think of Dune the first thing that should come to mind is “great food, great view, and unbeatable!”

Expect to also find a chia pudding with seasonal berries, yogurt and almonds; waffles with caramelized bananas and whipped cream; sunny side up frittata with asparagus, bacon, sourdough, cheddar cheese and jalapeno; eggs benedict of course, and omelettes.

Breakfast at Dune is served 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily.

And a spin off the fantastic breakfast offerings is brunch, which is only served for special occasions — Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day — and which going forward they’re going to look to do on Christmas Eve, and sometimes New Year’s Eve.

Dean admits you will spend a pretty penny, for brunch, but he says it’s worth it.

“The offerings are just amazing — we have a fresh raw bar with king crab, oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster, conch shooters. We offer two carving stations, an omelette station with breakfast items also, we have a healthy salad station, two soups, an antipasto station with different types of cheeses, roasted vegetables, charcuterie with different types of meats.”

Dune’s next brunch offering will be on Father’s Day on June 17 and Dean promises a veritable feast.

“We’ll have a grill outside and offer Bahamian items like grilled conch, grilled fish, conch fritters, a crab cake station; we will have a pasta station also. Then we have a fully loaded dessert station as well with unlimited mimosas. And for Father’s Day we will have a whiskey or bourbon station that will also be unlimited.”

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