Brunch is the new Sunday Dinner

Dear England,

I’ve officially been a resident of the Caribbean for over 2 and a half months now – wow! And as each day passes I do feel like I’m settling in more and more, getting used to the idiosyncrasies of island life. I’ve even bought myself a little island car! It’s….somewhat of a downgrade from the 2015 Skoda Fabia Estate with bluetooth, Apple Play and parking sensors I had back in the UK but it is fun to drive and apparently has been very reliable to the last 2 owners (both of which are from the Musicians Ltd family). So let me introduce you to Sergio, my new Rally Car!

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Sergio the Lancer

He’s a 1995 Mitsubishi Lancer, which makes him older than my 19 year old brother! And yes his paintwork has its fair share of sun damage, he makes a funny clicking noise when I start the engine, and he doesn’t have A/C (well, that’s what windows are for, right?) but still. I’m in love.

In other news, I feel like I’ve really started to find my feet with the job out here. The kids (and adults – a new experience for me!) on the whole are fantastically lovely and a pleasure to teach. There are a handful that I especially look forward to giggling through the lesson with every week (one of whom is a 6 year old I have nicknamed Elmo due to the way she throws her head back and opens her mouth wide every time she laughs), and lots that are coming along in leaps and bounds.

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Me and “Elmo” in our lessons

We’ve got a student charity recital coming up at the studio next week and I have 10 pupils performing – several of whom have never played solo in front of an audience before so I’m chuffed to pieces they’ve agreed to play, and I’m certain they’ll surprise themselves and do a wonderful job. I’m very proud of all of them and this is only after 2 months – by the end of the year I can’t imagine what they might have achieved!

Remember at the start of this letter I mentioned the idiosyncrasies of the island? Well one of those is Sunday Brunch. Brunch is a HUGE thing here, with almost every restaurant throwing open its doors at around 10am and offering a variety of brunch menus, from the traditional eggs benedict and full englishes  to more exotic offerings like Dim Sum or sushi brunches. The big 3 places to eat brunch on the island before you die though, from what I’ve gathered, are Seven at The Ritz, Ferdinand’s at The Westin and Luca at the Caribbean Club. Now sadly one of my colleagues, James (who started the job and moved to Cayman at the same time as me) is moving back to England at the end of this week as he decided Island life just isn’t for him. We’ve become pretty good friends in a short space of time – I guess being thrown into the same bizarre situation of suddenly living and working on an island with limited infrastructure and enormous heat and humidity is somewhat of a bonding experience. So to celebrate/commiserate his new career direction back across the Atlantic we decided to “do Brunch properly”. The Ritz was tempting but at over $100 per head it was a little out of the comfortable price range! So we plummed for the less expensive, but extremely well reviewed Luca, at $60 a head which included bottomless prosecco and an All You Can Eat buffet.

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The view from Luca’s doorway. Prety idyllic spot for Brunch, eh?

I feel the capitalisation of every word in that phrase is necessary for Luca, because James and I came away thinking we genuinely had consumed all we could eat. Ever. The food was absolutely incredible. I am finding it very difficult to conceive of a time where I’ve tasted better food. And there was just. so. much. of. it. Masses of choice too – tell me if you’ve ever been to a place with a carvery station that serves Beef Wellington, rack of lamb and pork tenderloin? As a side note the rack of lamb came with luminous green mint jello instead of mint sauce, which seemed like a terrible idea but actually after tasting made me question why it isn’t served like that everywhere.

In addition to the carvery there was a pasta station; a fresh fruit and vegetable table; a traditional breakfast station; an antipasta station; a miscellaneous selection of hot food samplers and a fresh sushi bar (with oysters!). Now I’ve only ever had the “pleasure” of oysters once and it was in Blackpool with my friend Jemima who dared me to get one. I still cringe and feel sick when I think back to eating it; the sensation not dissimilar to swallowing a bogey dipped in saltwater. But I rallied myself to try again. After all, with the standard of the rest of the food confirming it, if anyone could make oysters taste good Luca could. And I was right – a revalation. Oysters are awesome. Go and try an oyster if you can. Just make sure it’s not from Blackpool.

The highlight of any meal to most people is the dessert, and Luca didn’t disappoint here either. As you enter the dining room, before you even come across any of the savoury stations you are greeted with the dessert trolley. Imagine every kind of dessert you’ve ever seen at a restaurant, altogether in one place, and all in miniature form. As well as a massive cheese table right next to it, so there really was something for everyone. Unfortunately I didn’t physically have any room for the cheese by the time I was done with dessert (which, let’s be honest, I didn’t really have room for either) but maybe next time. It did look really good. My favourite had to be the creme brulee, closely followed by the chocolate lollipops and the teeny tiny lemon meringue pie, but they were all pretty incredible.

After having sampled something from every station other than the pasta and cheese tables, drank far too much bottomless prosecco and threatened to vomit about 7 times, I was done. James conceded defeat long before me but continued to cheer me on as I waged war on the tiny puddings. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in one sitting in my life, and I was painfully full for the rest of the day to the point where I could barely even conceive of eating breakfast the next morning.

Still, would I do it again? In a heartbeat. #noregrets.

Forever yours,

Emily

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