There’s this song that goes, “Sittin’ on the dock of the bay watchin’ the tide, roll way” – well forget the dock, the bay and watching the tide, because what you really want is to be at Dune by Jean-Georges, at The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, because no matter where you sit, whether inside the restaurant or outside on the terrace, the amazing view of turquoise waters is unparalleled and the perfect setting for a languorous mid-day meal. Top off that view with an indulgent, decadent three-hour Sunday brunch experience, and the result means others have to level up.
Dune by Jean-Georges, at which Chef Shaniqua Darling is the chef de cuisine, took Sunday brunch to the next level when it launched on Sunday showcasing a spread of traditional Bahamian fare alongside international favorites. It was obvious no expense was spared for the debut brunch and a view to what will be offered in the future, with heaping mounds of Alaskan king crab legs, shrimp, mussels, ribeye steak and lamb to be had as well as Dune’s famous boiled fish. And that wasn’t even a quarter of the buffet selections.
Overwhelmed at the spread, it literally took me a half-hour to decide where to begin, because I was in awe of what was before me. The buffet immediately appealed to my sense of sight – fresh, colorful and beautifully displayed.
Wanting a bit of this and a bit of that, I knew that I had to choose consciously and carefully if I was going to be able to do the spread any justice. There was so much that I wanted, but I knew that my eyes were bigger than my stomach.
I made the decision to start with Dune’s famous Bahamian boiled fish with a side of the restaurant’s delicious Johnny cake, which was featured with a live action station; for those that want grits with their boiled fish, they keep it downhome with yellow grits. I opted for a small serving so that I didn’t fill up, seasoned my heated-before-my-eyes portion with crushed goat pepper (be very careful here, this stuff is potent) and generous squeezes of lime and a few shakes of Maldon sea salt tableside for the perfect start.
Then there’s the fact that at Dune, they stand firmly in the belief that their boiled fish is the best on the island. This is something Darling says they don’t take lightly.
If there was one item that wasn’t going to escape me, it was the beautiful crab legs. They were sweet and tender meat. I enjoyed them with both the cocktail sauce and Creole remoulade offered. You can never go wrong with crab legs.
The debut brunch buffet also showcased cracked lobster cooked to an enticingly beautiful golden color. This was Dune by Jean-Georges after all, which means it would have been sacrilegious for me to even think that the cracked lobster would have been cooked to anything other than perfection. The lobster was lightly coated with meat that was as sweet and tender as they come. I paired the lobster with a made-to-order omelet, again at a live action station, and knew I was nearing the point of “waving the white flag” – which was disappointing because there were so many goodies still to be had.
But I caved in, in order to satisfy my sweet tooth. I took a few bites of guava bread pudding with crème anglaise, because I just had to let my inner child loose for at least one ooey-gooey s’more – toasted marshmallow and melty chocolate, which Dune’s pastry chef switched up by offering Bahamians a choice of more than the classic graham crackers – I opted for the Rich Tea cookie to sandwich my treat. (I must admit I burnt my marshmallow, but it made no difference to me.)
To my utter disappointment, here’s what I never even got the opportunity to sample (which only means I’m looking forward to repeat visits): an amazing dry-aged charcuterie meat board display; a fruit and cheese display that satisfied on all levels. I never even touched the extensive vegetable or salad bar, which showcased Caesar salads served cutely in Ball jars, a mango and avocado salad that I had caught my eye, a fresh caprese salad, mixed baby greens with baby spinach and arugula and a beautiful grilled vegetable platter.
The seafood bar also featured shrimp and mussels that I had to forgo. And the smoked salmon with all the accoutrements was another offering that I never touched.
Conch chowder, tomato basil soup, jerk chicken and pineapple kebobs, pan-seared Nassau grouper topped with mango relish, a carving station featuring ribeye steak as well as a spiced leg of lamb… And you can’t offer brunch in The Bahamas without peas and rice and plantain. Alongside Dune’s famous boiled fish was another Bahamian staple – stew fish, which meant Dune covered all the basics in bringing together traditional Bahamian alongside international favorites.
The sweet endings also showcased mango panna cotta, rum cake, an orange crème brûlée, a coconut tart that’s not like your mama makes and a selection of sliced fruit.
Brunch is always the perfect combination of savory and sweet lunch offerings combined with breakfast fare that you can mix and match for serving options that can seem limitless – because it’s really not breakfast and really not lunch. Brunch, which is everyone’s favorite, satisfies the best of both worlds.
So, there’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than at brunch – and when you combine brunch offerings with a view of stunningly crystal-clear turquoise waters, what could be better? Oh yes, the iconic Bloody Mary, and two kinds of mimosas – the classic champagne and orange juice and champagne with guava and pineapple complete the Dune by Jean-Georges brunch experience.
I belabored the option of a spicy Bloody Mary or mimosa before opting for the spicy Bloody Mary with all the fixin’s – celery, olives, cheese and bacon. It was a cocktail that was over-the-top, but that worked.
Dune by Jean-Georges promised prior to their opening that their weekly brunch would give Bahamians a reason to make the drive over the bridge on Sundays and, well…it does.
And Darling has reason to be proud. Moving forward, she said, they plan to rotate food items in and out to ensure the brunch offerings are surprising and inviting for guests.
Seating is available each Sunday from 12 noon to 3 p.m. and reservations can be made online or by calling the resort at 242-363-2511. Brunch is priced at $95 per adult, $65 per child under 12 years. There is the opportunity to upgrade to unlimited mimosas or Bloody Mary’s at $25 per person. All prices are exclusive of 15 percent gratuity and 12 percent value-added tax.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.
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