If you’ve ever driven past Port Ferdinand, you will notice that there is a sign outside that says Open To The Public. The truth is that until you’ve been it’s an intimidating place to even talk about. And we know that they know this because why else would you have to put up a sign like that?
Once you have passed the gate, it’s not intimidating at all. It’s beautiful. We the vibe from the outside but we have always been interested in content, not cover. We know the restaurant quite well and their last chef, Andy Turner, created an excellent foundation that just didn’t get enough coverage. The creativity was excellent and the ingredients and depth of flavour were unmatched on the island. It’s less expensive than Lone Star and the creativity and finesse is of what leaves the kitchen cleanly outdoes The Cliff.
The new team at 13/59 are bringing in a new edge. Kevin Shawcross has been French-trained and has been flown in from Toronto to take us in a new direction. He is narrowing down what most other restaurants do. If you have kept up with us over the past year you will see how much we don’t understand the idea that every restaurant tries to serve every type of food to make everyone happy. Being able to walk into a restaurant and order a Thai green curry, sushi, pizza and some fish cakes drives us nuts. The business side of it is a nice theory because you don’t know what kind of tourists are going to walk through that door… But be good at something!
So when Kevin says that he wants the menu to actually have a flow and coherence, it’s because he feels the same way. So the menu is going to have a Bajan-French slant.
French cuisine is a food of the peasantry. In fact most of the great food from around the world started in poverty where families had to make do and make it good. All of the traditional food that we love on our rock came from the people and can’t be expensive to make because they never had the chance to develop an expensive recipe.
The idea is to bring French cooking styles to the Bajan menu. Not a fusion with all the countries from around the world, just French influence.
Their Thanksgiving Menu has a mix right down the middle. Bajan spiced lamb shank with ratatouille and creamy polenta or the roast ham with grilled pineapple and pomme purée. Suddenly it’s easier to understand what we’re saying.
They still serve their homemade sourdough with magical butter and walking around their kitchens showed us that they can make everything… Including candy floss.
So that’s it? There’s a Canadian in the kitchen? Well actually the sous-chef is Tamesha Warren from Christ Church and she was trained up in the US before coming back to Barbados. Top Chef contestant and decorated with gold and silver medals from the American Culinary Federation, she is back home and this means that our lives will taste better.
The plan wasn’t to be back home but now that she’s here she knows she belongs. She told us a story about how she never enjoyed eating dishes like coucou as a child but now loves it. Add a few more dishes to the conversion basket and what you have is a young woman who is using her grand-mother’s recipes to make it to perfection. If you have ever seen Disney’s Ratatouille you will remember that when people taste the ratatouille he makes, they all get flashbacks that take them back to their youth. That’s exactly what happened to Tamesha.
Their Independence Day buffet menu is going to be as traditional as they can make it. The ingredients are going to be the best you can find, the flavours as deep and rich as they go and it’s in the place that we all once thought was scary. If there is one time you should go, let it be the Independence lunch… You will probably even be able to expense it!
When we asked the chefs what they really wanted, it was to be the best upscale restaurants Bajans want to go to. They wish people didn’t see them as a destination for tourists in the high season and they are turning everything around to do it well.
|Port Ferdinand, Speightstown|
|Reservations: +1(246)272 2020|
|Map | Website|