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The Palm Terrace, Barbados

Lucky Louise Elgin takes on yet another exotic assignment

Barbados used to be a British colony, and whilst there remain subtle reminders of this fact dotted about the island, it’s hardly surprising that over time the place has evolved and changed. There is no shortage of restaurants either; the finest being mostly situated along the West Coast, where they rub shoulders with several exclusive and luxurious hotels. Yet with such an apparent choice on offer, frustratingly, many are alike, with their flaring torches, mood music and similar menus.

So I felt as if I had stepped back in time to the days of the golden age of travel when I dined at The Palm Terrace Restaurant. Here, amongst the huge breezy pink interior, traditional old style Barbadian hospitality is still on offer. The atmosphere is a blend of romance, elegance and space, with ceiling fans and softly lit huge palm trees, all evoking feelings of dining in a tropical garden under the stars next to the sea.

The menu began with a selection of eight starters, including seared Barbadian yellow tuna with Thai lime sauce. There was also a good choice of specials, which change daily. I began with roasted lobster bisque served with a crispy goat cheese wonton. This was rich and velvety with a good robust flavour, the added goat’s cheese giving a potent kick. Our other choice was pan-seared sea scallops, with papaya and red onion salsa drizzled with coconut pineapple sauce. These were art on a plate, perhaps a little chewy, but no complaints otherwise,.

Then followed eight main courses and three specials of the day. After much deliberation I ordered some meaty and flavoursome pan-fried dorado. This came served with succulent seared jumbo shrimps, some very good plantain and sautéed spinach. My guest had the oven-roasted red snapper, infused with Barbadian herbs and spices, served with crushed yams and ginger sauce. This was served crispy with a potato base, but overpowered the delicate flavours on the plate. All the while the service was seamless, with little touches that really made the evening feel special. 

When we ordered the wine, a very light, floral scented bottle of French Pouilly Fume, it was served in chilled glasses, perfect for the tropical atmosphere. To finish, I had a hot strawberry soufflé with vanilla bean ice cream. This was too sweet for my taste and could have been lighter in consistency, but the accompanying ice cream did help somewhat with the soufflé’s richness. Our other choice, a rum brulee, was rather rich and probably a bit heavy for the end of a meal.

To conclude, The Palm Terrace is an antidote to West Coast dining, a place to go for an elegant evening, one not to be rushed but to be savoured, a dining experience redolent of a bygone era.

Louise Elgin. May 2005

The Palm Terrace Restaurant 
Fairmont Royal Pavilion 
St James Barbados

Tel 001 246 422-3940

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