On a recent trip to the famous Caribbean Island we were fortunate enough to eat at world renowned “the cliff” restaurant on the west coast. An undeniably beautiful dining experience involving fine French cuisine, immaculate service and a perfect private cove setting complete with turtles in the under-lit sea! If I am pressed however, despite all this glamour, I would not choose it as my number one recommendation of where to eat on this Paradise Island.
On the east coast, on a windy stormy day in an open-topped car we took lunch at the aptly named “Atlantic Hotel” which served up Pepper-Pot Stew and Cou-Cou, a local food made posh which was tasty, hearty and refined all at the same time. However, even the fond memories of battening closed the shutters to the storm lashing outside, while inside our hearts were warmed by this staple delicacy served with cold beer, even this, does not win as my top dining experience on Barbados.
Our hotel was just south of Holetown – the Bajan busy (veritably relaxed) tourist aimed Chattel town on the West Coast of Barbados. We were on the Island for a wedding and decided to make it a
week of treating ourselves and going “top-drawer” all the way. After five days of luxury and living it up, we yearned to get back to our favoured method of travelling; relaxing with the people who call your destination home. We had hired a car and spent this particular day seeing the island, beach hopping, watching Cricket with old men aged in rum, and chatting to people we stopped to ask for directions. On the way back to the hotel we were starving but on driving back through Holetown realised that we had eaten at all the restaurants and didn’t fancy any return visits. We wanted some home style Mamma’s cooking.
Two minutes further down the road we passed a tin built open shed-like building with two people behind the counter and a sign above their head saying: “Connie the grill master”. The queue of Bajans by the side of the shack was getting longer by the minute and without thinking twice we dumped the car and joined the slavering throng. After thirty or so minutes we were at the front of the queue, just to order! (Bajan time!)
For the price of a starter in any restaurant we
were able to order “Grill Fish, Rice and Peas, Hot Sauce and Salad” – we ordered two and dutifully waited – another thirty minutes, what was the rush?
We were handed two huge plastic takeaway boxes with enough Grilled Fish to feed a family of four in each, the same amount of tasty rice and peas, and a Dorset Small-holding’s worth of salad!
We stopped at a petrol station and bought six beers, went back to our hotel, grabbed towels and headed to the beach to grab the last of the sun setting over the infinite horizon. In the company of our paradise view we happily ate our amazing local food with cheap beer and plastic forks. We had spent an hour queuing with people who ate from the same shack weekly, chatting about the local food and culinary customs, we had been cooked the freshest fish on the Island, we had eaten it with gusto, washed it down with cold beer, and watched the sun set from our hotel beach. This is where to eat in Barbados.
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