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A summer to savor

Specially-created menus at set prices will make for truly memorable culinary experiences – from romantic date nights to stylishly luxe nights out with friends at Baha Mar during its month-long culinary fest known as Dine Baha Mar.

With eight of Baha Mar’s signature restaurants offering special prix fixe menus, this is the perfect opportunity to indulge in fabulous dining experiences at 3 Tides Fish House, Carna by Dario Cecchini, Cleo, Commonwealth, Costa, Fi’lia, Katsuya and Shuang Ba.

Roasted duck breast with stilton croquettes and balsamic jus at Commonwealth, Rosewood, Baha Mar.

Much like the hottest restaurant weeks in cosmopolitan cities such as New York and Los Angeles, Dine Baha Mar’s multi-course prix fixe menus were curated by Baha Mar chefs at preferred pricing for diners through September 29. These types of dining experiences provide value for money. It would behoove you to take in each culinary experience. Prix fixe literally means “fixed price” and is a French term that refers to a type of menu featuring a pre-selected list of dishes at a set price. Prix fixe menus are most often found in upscale fine dining restaurants. The only problem will come in when deciding which restaurant to start your adventure.

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose which restaurant(s) to dine at because you have until September 29 to explore the gamut of Baha Mar’s culinary fest.

I recently engaged in a three-restaurant dine-around to check out one restaurant each from the resort’s three brands – SLS, Grand Hyatt and Rosewood – and it was an epic experience for the record.

A taste of Commonwealth

I opted to dine at Commonwealth at the Rosewood first. It was one of the few restaurants that I had not yet experienced on the Baha Mar property. And I can’t believe it took me this long to darken the doorstep for this restaurant that offers the flavors of six distinct international regions, offering dishes elevated by fresh produce and complemented by a carefully curated selection of world-class wines. It was a totally delightful experience.

The 12-item prix fixe offerings, selected by the chef from their regular menu, allows you to choose one item from four courses – appetizer, starters, main course and dessert – to curate your meal.

Sweet-sour pork ribs at Shuang Ba, Grand Hyatt, Baha Mar.

The tandoori lamb chops, a well-spiced Indian take on lamb chops, is a winner; they serve it with a cooling lime, ginger, chili cilantro, but I found I loved it without the dip, which allowed the spices to shine through rather than be tempered. These chops that are served as an appetizer are something I can get behind, and is one of those items you (well… I mean I) would gravitate toward, no matter how many times you dine at Commonwealth.

Their generous serving of creamy conch chowder, one of the items on the starter menu, has a delightful surprise – strips of tender cracked conch, which adds for an interesting texture to this Bahamian staple.

A crisp-skinned grilled branzino with potato dumplings offered as one of the starters, just begs you to ensure that you have a dumpling and piece of fish on your fork to drag through this vibrant watercress sauce, for the perfect bite.

Perfectly cooked grilled octopus, with spiced potato and confit garlic aioli, is another option to be had.

The roasted duck breast with stilton croquettes and balsamic jus is another one of the amazing offerings. Perfectly cooked duck breast was served alongside heavenly stilton croquettes which presented a blue cheese bread-crumbed fried roll that was a perfect foil for the rich, fatty duck breast. Again, as with the lamb chops, I found that I preferred it without the balsamic jus.

Crisp-skinned grilled branzino with potato dumplings and watercress sauce at Commonwealth, Rosewood, Baha Mar.

If duck’s not your thing, there’s a tamarind-glazed pork shoulder that has the perfect toothsome crisp on the exterior and a moist center. It’s cooked so perfectly, you almost don’t think you’re eating pork, and if you closed your eyes, you could mistake it for a steak.

For non-meat eaters, a vegetable curry with Basmati rice is to be had.

A Watalappan chocolate with coconut ice cream and cashew was the perfect ending. Watalappan, I’ve since learned, is one of the most popular and delicious desserts among Sri Lankans. The Commonwealth confection was rich and indulgent, with a cashew crust; the coconut ice cream served alongside, provided the perfect counterbalance to this darkly intense dessert.

For those that prefer something with an explosion of flavors to end their meal but that is still immensely delicious – the soursop bomb passion fruit rum cake with meringue seals the deal. It’s tart and sweet, and the different textures make it a playful, yet delightfully composed ending.

The strawberry pavlova is a foolproof dessert that never fails to impress. Sweet and light meringue is topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries – when they place this dish before you, you will go, “Whoa!” This dreamy dessert is an unexpected showstopper.

With variety to their menu, you will definitely find something to satisfy your tastebuds at Commonwealth. And at $55 per person plus 15 percent gratuity and 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) for a four-course meal, this is entirely doable and worth it.


A taste of Shuang Ba

Shuang Ba’s prix fixe menu forced me to step outside the box that I’d placed myself in by ordering the same amazing items time and again. The six-item prix fixe menu of wok-fried green vegetable, beef-fried rice, chili prawns, tofu blossom chicken soup, flambéed chicken and sweet-sour pork ribs, meant I had to try new items from Shuang Ba’s 88-item menu rather than going with my tried and true favorites.

The chili prawns with stir-fried dried chili is one of those dishes that is spicy – but not too spicy. It’s the kind of spice that is addictive and makes you want to keep going back for more. Actually, the chili prawns was one of those menu items that I’d always wondered about but hadn’t had before now, but Shuang Ba’s affordable prix fixe menu allowed me to experience what I’d been missing.

The sweet-sour pork ribs and a famous Shanghai dish that is served as an appetizer, is also offered on the menu, which I was ecstatic about. It’s now one of my go-to items whenever I dine at the restaurant. I rave about these riblets. Don’t be deterred by the fact that they’re served cold or at room temperature. And put down your chopsticks and forks to enjoy these ribs that will leave you with sticky fingers and a smile on your face – they’re that good. Tender and juicy with a sweet and sour taste, they have a crispy surface and tender texture.

Saffron chicken – preserved lemon, almonds, olives, roasted tomato and saffron rice at Cleo Mediterráneo, SLS, Baha Mar.

The flambéed chicken braised with garlic, ginger leek, onion, coriander and soy sauce, oozes wonderful Asian flavors with a tender chicken that is perfect served with the rice of your choice. The prix fixe menu showcases beef-fried rice with XO sauce, dried shrimp, dried scallop and ham foie gras, vegetables and egg.

Honestly, I shouldn’t have been surprised that the offerings would be delightful at this Grand Hyatt jewel of a restaurant.

Shuang Ba’s prix fixe offerings mean you’re not just getting a deal, you’re getting a steal, with the six items being offered family-style at $64, plus 12 percent VAT and 15 percent gratuity; a curated wine pairing is available to go with the offerings for $25.


A taste of Cleo Mediterráneo

While the prix fixe menu at Cleo Mediterráneo wasn’t as expansive as the menus at Shuang Ba, or Commonwealth, I took advantage of the three-course offerings to try a couple of menu staples that I hadn’t had yet, even though I’d dined at the SLS restaurant many times before.

I went with the halloumi cheese saganaki with walnut chimichurri, and orange blossom honey, which is flamed tableside. Believe me, this is an impressive sight to behold. But it was tough to decide because the green falafel (tahini sauce, tabbouleh and beet-pickled fennel) and the trio of dips (hummus, babaganoush or lebaneh) which I love and have had many times before, along with the Greek salad (heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, feta, oregano and vinaigrette) were also among the four appetizers from which I had to choose one.

Saganaki is one of those dishes you will see constantly ordered at Cleo Mediterráneo and you can’t miss, because it’s quite the attention grabber when being flamed tableside; if you’re close enough you definitely feel the heat. I’ve always been intrigued by what flavors would shine through for me, and was pleasantly surprised at the pleasurably mellowed honey flavor that came through versus the chimichurri. Feel free to eat as is, or order laffa bread and top it with your cheese and enjoy! (which is what I did)

Deciding from the four items offered for the entrées was another tough choice and I sought the help of Restaurant Manager Barry Sawyer in trying to decide. He urged me to try the new beet tortellini with vegetables, feta, spinach and citrus alfredo, but the saffron chicken with preserved lemon, almonds, olives, roasted tomatoes and saffron rice called out to me. I went with the saffron chicken and made certain to get the perfect bite of flavors every time, ensuring that I had a piece of artichoke, almond, tomato and olives with chicken and rice on every forkful. There’s nothing quite like getting that perfect bite of this aromatic dish that has amazing flavors.

Soursop bomb passion fruit rum cake with meringue at Commonwealth, Rosewood, Baha Mar.

Dessert was a no-brainer. Sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch caramel, nut tuile and vanilla bean ice cream. Dare I say more! This is one of those desserts that I would happily stick a fork into. It’s wonderfully flavorful, slightly chewy and moist, with a mouthwatering toffee sauce. Having this dessert once is never enough. If you can resist you can also opt for a selection from their ice creams. But trust me, sticky toffee pudding all the way.

Cleo Mediterráneo’s prix fixe menu is served family-style at $49 per person plus 12 percent VAT and 15 percent gratuity, which makes for an affordable but enjoyable evening out, at a restaurant that captures the vibrancy of the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine where new yet familiar flavors are enhanced by worldly charm.

 

Shavaughn Moss

Lifestyles Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Shavaughn Mossjoined The Nassau Guardianas a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor.Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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