As we approach Calypso Grill, the famed Caymanian seafood restaurant where an atmospheric and sumptuous dining experience awaits, the town grows quieter and the scenery greener, and we find ourselves in pleasant Morgan’s Harbour on the edge of the North Sound.
When a nearby road sign reads Sticky Toffee Lane, we know we’ve come to the right place; it’s here, amidst the splendour of an ocean view and a colourful open deck, that we’ll be treated to renowned dishes including a sticky toffee pudding praised by the likes of Eric Ripert and beloved by both visitors and locals.
The restaurant has been a staple of West Bay since the late 1990s, co-owned by Terry Grimes and her husband James Mason with the illustrious Chef George Fowler serving as its heart. Originally from the U.K., Chef George has cooked in countries including Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Scotland, but it is Cayman and Calypso Grill that he has called home for nearly two decades.
Two double doors and a kind gesture from our waiter lead us onto the porch, and we find ourselves overlooking a light blue ocean where yachts rest and mangroves boarder the coast. Like the rest of the deck, our table is awash with bright oranges and blues.
“The design itself came first,” explains Terry. “We were very interested in vignettes and colour and being on the water. We tried to keep the food simple but also very tasty, and we wanted to present all of the restaurant as a whole.”
The restaurant truly is an experience, but the food plays a role in encouraging return guests. We are served an assortment of seafood dishes including sashimi, ceviche, and crabcakes, which are accompanied by the restaurant’s excellent salads and followed by a round of desserts including sticky toffee pudding. Since 1999, Calypso Grill has taken its fresh fish from the dock just next door, and it uses local conch and lobster and the produce of local farmers when they are in season.
As we relish our meal, the waters of the North Sound glisten in the afternoon sun and the occasional imposing frigate bird soars along the coast foraging for food. Although it should feel hotter at this time of day, the ocean sends a calming breeze across the deck.
When we’re finally ready to say goodbye to the scene, we leave with our minds relaxed, our stomachs full and our eyes lightly dazzled.
By Ian Swaby