The view of the lit-up, crystal clear sea water was breath-taking, the torches lining the restaurant balcony were romance at its finest, and the warm sea breeze caressing my face was the final touch to creating what was the perfect romantic date setting. If you had a boyfriend. Which I do not. My romantic date night was shared with none other than my Mum and Dad… But hey, there was still a whole lot of love flying around for the fact that they’d taken me to arguably Barbados’s best restaurant in a bid to satiate my gluttonous greed that had followed me half way round the world.
I’d obviously stalked the shit out of The Cliff before arriving, but the pictures and videos posted all over Instagram just cannot do the place justice. After nights of complaining about what a shame it was to dine by the beach every night but not be able to see the beautiful Caribbean waters, I was so happy to see that here at The Cliff, lights had been put in place to illuminate the shoreline I was so sad to leave behind upon my return to the not-so-idyllic river Thames. If you’re going to The Cliff, it’s definitely worth having a drink at the bar before sitting down to soak up this beautiful view over a delicious cocktail from their extensive menu.
The dishes at The Cliff aren’t priced individually… You choose any starter and any main course for BDS $265 which works out at just over £100 so this isn’t exactly the cheapest meal, but I’ve got to say the portions were generous, the food was cooked beautifully, and you are of course paying for that epic setting, so I think it’s worth it for the experience and the memory.
After my parents patiently waited for me to photograph everything before touching their plates (as I have trained them well to do since becoming a food blogger, and is always warmly welcomed by many an eye roll and a ‘well can I eat now while it’s still actually hot Fern?!’), I tucked into our starters (note my use of ‘our’ starters, since I have also trained my parents to understand and accept that I will, without fail, want to try every dish on the table).
The snow crab cake was one of the best I think I’ve ever had. Hallelujah, it was indeed a crab cake, and not a potato cake with a bit of crab thrown in, as in most restaurants. The coating around this deliciously moist, fresh crabmeat was dry and crisp, and the coriander cream, coriander vinaigrette and red curry oil were not only beautifully presented, as can be seen in the image below, but they were also the perfect flavour pairings to round off this standout starter.
The carpaccio of beef tenderloin was also delicious. The fresh, clean flavour of the beef was contrasted with the truffled rocket leaves, aged parmesan, capers, and the little dollops of English mustard mayonnaise surrounding the dish. The fact that my critical carnivore of a father was pleased with this dish kind of says it all really.
The third starter was the lobster spaghetti, which again hallelujahhhhhhhhh was loaded with lobster! Kudos to The Cliff for not being stingy piss-takers. The pasta tasted freshly-made, the chunks of lobster were succulent, and the dish was given depth by the addition of chilli flakes and aged parmesan cheese. Just like the other two starters (yeah, this review is going to get repetitive since I literally had nothing bad to say about the food I ate here), this dish was a hit.
For main course, I went for the roasted loin of lamb which was cooked perfectly pink, just how I like it, and was tender as hell. The mashed potato was silky smooth and the madeira jus was the most comforting addition to this rich, hearty dish. My dad nicked some of my lamb to try it and it got an almighty thumbs up from the critical carnivore once again.
My dad’s own dish was the veal chop which was a tender cut accompanied by a mustard and tarragon sauce… One of my favourite flavour combinations in a sauce! My dad can’t eat a lot of starch so he swapped out the gratin potatoes for extra vegetables, much to my horror. Gratin potatoes make for an extra happy Fern, but alas, ‘twas not meant to be on this particular evening. This also made for a pretty boring dish photography wise… Hmmph!
My mum, who’s a pescatarian (don’t ask how such fussy eaters created the vacuum of human being that is yours truly), went for the Caribbean shrimp in a Thai green curry coconut sauce with coriander rice, chargrilled vegetables and fried basil. The dish was nice, but I expected there to be more heat in a Thai green curry sauce, and so was left feeling slightly underwhelmed by what I thought sounded like a thoughtful combination of flavours on the menu. That’s not to say the dish wasn’t nice… It was… I just didn’t think it held its own among the heavyweights we’d been served up as the other dishes, and it didn’t leave much of an impression on me when I think back to that meal.
After blissfully polishing off every generous portion of our banquet, we didn’t have room for dessert, although if the standard of the starters and main courses were anything to go by, I’m sure the desserts would have been just as dreamy.
Basically, if you’re going to Barbados, go to The Cliff. And if you think it’s too expensive and unaffordable, stay in one weekend before you head to Barbados and use that money to go to The Cliff. Either way, you’re going to go to The Cliff. Because you have to. I said so.
tel: 1 (246) 432 1922
Open Monday through Saturday, and Sundays during the high season.
For dinner service only.