Paradise Island, Bahamas
In her opinion:
This flashback is from a restaurant visit from a while back. It was 2006 to be exact! We were staying at the Riu Palace Paradise Island next door to the Atlantis Paradise Island and the One and Only Ocean Club...a few months after Daniel Craig had filmed Casino Royale there and sported those hot swimming trunks.
By this time we were already experienced foodies and therefore wanted to make our all-inclusive holiday even more special by having lunch at a memorable restaurant on the island. So when researching possible venues somehow Jean-Georges Vongerichten's name showed up. He had a French-Asian Fusion restaurant at the One and Only Ocean Club called Dune. So we made a reservation and took our little man for lunch.
The setting is absolutely beautiful. This is Paradise Island after all; but, we are also talking about a hotel belonging to the Leading Hotels of the World. Therefore, the setting is breathtaking. Think ocean breezes, wood, lily ponds, sand and the smells of some incredible food.
We ordered a couple of glasses of wine to start. I don't really remember which wine I ordered but from the photographs of the trip, I believe it was a rose of some kind. And of course a bottle of sparkling water.
I ordered the "slow cooked salmon with a tomato and onion salad with a basil vinaigrette over a creamy polenta".
I don't remember every detail of the main course but I do remember that it was delicious. I remember how well cooked the salmon was and how the tomato and onion salad was the perfect acidic match to the creaminess of the polenta. I guess it was much more memorable then I had thought. Excellent.
I may not remember every aspect of my main course but I do remember dessert...it was called the "White Plate". It consisted of a chocolate lava cake, cheesecake, lemon meringue tart, banana cake with caramel ice cream, a hot chocolate parfait and a guava pavlova. I never forget a good dessert.
This dessert was beyond good! Everything about this "White Plate" was out of this world good. I especially remember the banana cake and how incredible it was. To this day whenever we talk about food and unforgettable food experiences, this white plate comes up.
This whole meal was exceptional. Dune was breathtaking and wonderful. The actual whole experience was unforgettable. Even if I don't remember the little details of the meal, I remember the experience as a whole. The One and Only Ocean Club is a magical place...after all, if it's good enough for James Bond, it was good enough for us!
In his opinion:
Vacationing in Paradise Island in the Bahamas has many upsides. The beautiful beaches, the Atlantis Hotel, the fact you are staying on an island outside of the main island and also The One and Only Ocean Club. This is the famous ultra luxury resort, famous for many things but especially for being the backdrop in the 2006, James Bond movie, Casino Royale.
Daniel Craig made it even more famous by delighting women as he came out of the water in his tiny shorts and by winning a vintage Aston Martin in a poker game. Nevertheless, since the $12,500 per night villa that was used in the movie was not in my budget, we decided to at least go there for lunch and tour the grounds that include the Versailles Gardens.
Arriving at chef's Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurant Dune means that you have to walk through the Main House at the One and Only Ocean Club and that in itself is an experience. The former private residence screams opulence and provides customer service beyond the normal. The restaurant itself is perched atop a white sand beach with stunning and dramatic ccean views. It truly offers a magnificent dining experience that you don't expect from a beach side restaurant.
The menu offers a good choice of blended French-Asian cuisine, topped with Bahamian touches and local ingredients. There are two separate buildings in which you can dine in. The open air beach front bar is like a dream come true for any seaside dining lovers. The adjacent building has a more formal feel but still with a luxury beach side flair.
As you might imagine, the menu is predominantly seafood and as fresh as can be. Immediately, one item on the menu caught my attention and I had to have the local lobster sandwich. This delicious sandwich was served on home made bread, sliced in half and with a generous amount of lobster, green chili mayo and severed with ultra thin sweet potato fries.
When you are beach side, you always try to stay light and not overeat but there was still room for dessert. In comes the "White Plate", a chef's specialty plate which features samples of 6 of the tastiest desserts I have ever had. This dessert tasting plate consisted of banana cake with caramel ice cream, lemon meringue tart, chocolate lava cake, hot chocolate parfait and guava pavlova. Just writing this made my mouth water...
We then roamed around the One and Only Ocean Club gardens, imagining what it would have been like to rub shoulders with 007 himself, even though the film crews were long gone by then. Every time I watch that movie, the Bahamas scenery, especially the One and Ocean Club scenes bring me back to my almost Bond experience. To top it off, when we asked for the front desk to call us a taxi back to our hotel, they provided the One and Only Ocean Club's private Cadillac Escalate to takes us back. Now that is service.. and we left in style.
The Good: Great food, amazing desserts, spectacular setting and a touch of luxury to wrap it all up.
The Bad: It's all the way in the Bahamas...that really sucks!
The Verdict: Amazing setting in one of the world's leading hotels, topped with a touch of Jean-Georges' cuisine, what else can you ask for. A wonderful treat that made our vacation even more special.
I give it 4 out of 5 Olives as rating