A Bermuda-ful Vacation
I recently flew to the beautiful island of Bermuda to stand in a wedding for two very dear friends, Ben and Juul. The majority of my time was filled with wedding weekend activities including a welcome boat party aboard the Lady Tamara in the Great Sound, a rehearsal dinner at Harbourfront Restaurant, a wedding ceremony at The Unfinished Church and the reception on Mid Ocean Club's beachside lawn. These were all stunning locations to have anything wedding related and, to be honest, from a food point of view I was very impressed as well. Note that even with this packed schedule I did make an effort to visit a few places that were not on my bridesmaid agenda.
That being said this was my 10th trip to Bermuda and I had an entirely new experience by staying in the town of St. George's, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We stayed at this adorable guest house called Aunt Nea's Inn, which is located on the Eastern side of the island and just 10 minutes from the L.F. Wade International Airport. The prices at the Inn were excellent for Bermuda standards, the staff were friendly, the rooms were large and they have a moongate on-site! Romantic tidbit: the moongate legend states that when you kiss your partner underneath it you will have a long and happy marriage. I figure I may as well get all the good fortune I can get!
The locals assured me that we could safely walk around St. George's to visit museums, forts, beaches and centuries old buildings and churches. We spotted historic buildings like St. Peter's Church which is one of the oldest active churches in the Western hemisphere; The Unfinished Church, an open-air and grassy floored cathedral which made for a magnificent wedding venue; and we even got a peek of Fort St. Catherine from the deck of The Beach House.
Even though we had planned to visit The Beach House at St. George's Club for lunch they unfortunately informed us that they had to close that day due to an in-house issue. So option two meant that we headed straight to Tobacco Bay for not only some pre-wedding sun tans, but also to grab a quick lunch there. I was wary at first because they have a limited "touristy" menu consisting of burgers, hot dogs etc., but surprisingly I was quite happy with my meal. You can also grab a drink at their quaint beach bar to top off your day, including a Frozen Dark and Stormy! My friend Swan was the one who directed me to Tobacco Bay explaining that it used to be a well-kept secret amongst the locals, but obviously over the years word has gotten out. Luckily we went on a weekday and it was easy to find a lunch table, beach chairs and an unobstructed view of this remarkable cove. Note that they do rent equipment for snorkelling, kayaks etc., but be ready to open your wallet as just two beach chairs cost us US$35.
On one of the days we decided to leave St. George's and take a trip down to Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. I had read excellent reviews about two restaurants in the area and had only one day to eat at both, Devil's Isle Café and Bolero Brasserie. Devil's Isle Café strives to be a creative and nutritious restaurant by using organic and homemade ingredients as much as possible. It is a Best of Bermuda 2016 award winner for 'Best Java', 'Best Salad: Kale Caesar' and 'Best People-Watching Perch'. I went in to try their expansive breakfast menu that focuses on omelettes, signature dishes, "on bread" items, as well as sweet and savory breakfast plates. Another draw to this restaurant is the fact that they offer 11 organic homemade breads ranging from white and wheat to pumpernickel rye, gluten-free focaccia and even paleo bread. Those kind of bread offerings and the innovative café food that they are devising are almost unheard of in small island nations (even in Cayman!), so obviously I was super impressed.
With literally just an hour and a half to digest it was time to move on to the popular Bolero Brasserie for lunch. I have been trying to eat at Chef Jonny Roberts' restaurant since my last trip to Bermuda in 2014, but it just wasn't possible. Knowing that he has won multiple Best of Bermuda awards, most recently for 'Best Chef' in 2016 and the 'Award of Excellence' in 2015, was more than enough reason to justify a visit. Even though the restaurant's entrance is down an alley just off of Front Street it doesn't make it any less well-known amongst locals and visitors. Once you go up a narrow staircase to get into this second floor restaurant there is indoor seating and a balcony overlooking Front Street and Hamilton Harbour. The staff were relaxed and welcoming upon our arrival and the meal was everything I could have asked for and more. I am pleased to report that Bolero definitely showcased their ability to push the culinary boundaries in Bermuda with their refined, inventive and flavourful dishes.
It may be over now, but this recent trip to Bermuda has assured me that I am still capable of learning, finding and trying something new there. New in the fact that I stayed in a new part of the country, visited new sites and experienced new restaurants that are a part of Bermuda's expanding food scene. My experiences and local friends shape up why this is one of my favourite places to visit in the world and I honestly can't wait until my next trip.