Suga Taster, Taraja Jackson’s Rating for Christopher’s at Hermosa Cove
Date and time of visit: November 17, 2019
No. of diners: 4
NB. Ratings fill 5 stars maximum
Food quality: ★★★★★
Serving amount: ★★★★★
Value for $: ★★★★★
Suga Taster, Taraja’s Breakdown!
Christopher’s at Hermosa’a Cove was the perfect Sunday evening setting. Tucked away on the beautiful beachfront property at Hermosa Cove, the restaurant overlooks the sea for a casual, yet intimate dining experience.
The menu was diverse with a sample of Jamaica’s unique fusion of European, Asian, and Indian flavours with local favorites, braised Oxtail, steamed Callaloo with Scotch bonnet peppers, and of course, jerked Chicken. However, Executive Chef Conroy Arnold decided to tantalize our taste buds with a selection of some of his signature dishes for a unique culinary experience. Our Chef’s special dishes consisted of six courses totalling $7000JMD each and included Red Peas soup, a delicious Salad with tomato, feta cheese and arugula topped off with a honey mustard vinaigrette. We also had a Shrimp alfredo puff pastry, Mahi-Mahi in eggplant sauce, Beef tenderloin with grilled sweet corn and for dessert we had Crème brûlée and a Banana flambé.
Salad with tomato, feta cheese and arugula topped off with a honey mustard vinaigrette.
Mahi-Mahi in eggplant sauce.
Shrimp alfredo puff pastry.
There were no delays during the courses, however it was a quiet night, which allowed for personalized, attentive treatment. Chef Arnold did an excellent job showcasing his talent and the group was extremely satisfied and pleased with the service.
Christopher’s at Hermosa Cove continues to be #SugaEndorsed !
L’Escargot is owned by Chef Neville Anderson, well known for what was once Café Aubergine in Market Place, Kingston and his Jamaican Restaurant in Munich.
L’Escargot is also probably the most anticipated Restaurant to visit or hear about this year for Restaurant Week, not only because it is fairly new but because of their raving reviews and salivating menu. So I thought it would be a fabulous, fantastic experience but they fell short of that. It was just good, not great.
My husband and I arrived last Saturday night at 8:40pm, a few minutes late for our 8:30pm reservation.
We were greeted and seated. Staff were courteous but not cordial. The Table setting was exquisite with a fresh, white orchid as the centrepiece that was a nice touch. I can see where the dim lighting and décor with instrumental piano music playing in the background would take guests to France. The waiters were a perfect part of the French theme as well in white attire with red ties and berets.
Randy Burgess waiting to see what L’Escargot has in store
We were shown their regular menu for the night as well as the Restaurant Week Menu. It was a hard decision but we stuck to the plan and ordered from the Restaurant Week Menu at 9pm. If you weren’t ordering a meal over $30USD, there were tempting main dishes available for $20-$25USD so I don’t think the Restaurant Week offer was a huge save, especially if you opted out of Dessert.
Quite a few diners were present and more came in as the night grew older, but the wait for Appetizers was still too long. Also note that this was not just a result of Restaurant Week because I have received feedback from persons who visited before that they had a long wait for their food as well. It was approaching 25 minutes before we got our Escargots and Smoked Marlin. The Smoked Marlin was a huge disappointment. Quite plain, arriving with just the Chef’s special mousse. It was tasty and complemented the Marlin well but at least a salad should have been added to it. We reminisced about Chef Conroy Arnold’s special Marlin Salad from Christopher’s at Hermosa Cove that put that dish to shame.
Smoked Blue Marlin with Chef’s Special Mousse
But serve my husband right, thou shall not go to L’Escargot and not order Escargot.
My Escargots? Decent serving, and it was delicious with just the right texture and taste, not rubbery or salty. L’Escargot specialises in French cuisine and Escargots are usually served as a starter in France, Spain and Portugal so they deservedly get the edge over the Escargots I’ve had at Toscanini Italian.
Escargots sautéed in garlic butter, herbs and white wine
Our table was cleared at 9:30pm and our Entrees did not arrive until half an hour later. Our waiter did not visit during that half hour to reassure us that our Main dishes were on their way either. Luckily we weren’t on a first date because after about 15 or 20 minutes there would be crickets of awkward silence.
The serving size was decent for our Entrees. Randy’s Beef Tenderloin was savoury and cooked as ordered (medium rare). My Lamb Chops were savoury as well but one of them was medium rare bordering rare and I requested it be medium. I didn’t mind but that may not be the case with everyone. The sauces did not highlight or complement the meats in any special way. The Filet Mignon at Marguerites by the Sea is still a winner for Randy.
We had the Crème Brûlée and Chocolate Mousse for Dessert but they were nothing to write home about. I prefer Rojo at Spanish Court Hotel’s Crème Brulee.
I didn’t see their Dessert menu, but the French are well known for Parisian Cafés and I think they could have been more creative, offering a signature Crêpe, Éclair or Macaron for Restaurant Week.
French cuisine is known for being one of the finest in the world. Afterall, they are the ones that published the Michelin guide and thus award stars for excellence to a select few restaurants. Although L’Escargot is French and Toscanini is Italian, they are often compared considering they are both high end restaurants on the North coast offering similar dishes. I prefer Toscanini. The hostess and waiters at L’Escargot were efficient for the most part but more like robots doing what they were supposed to do, lacking the charisma needed for such a restaurant.
Even though I wasn’t wowed, I still look forward to returning to L’Escargot to enjoy their ambience again. Randy looks forward to trying their French Onion Soup, while I look forward to trying their Bouillabaisse and Risotto with Escargots and Scallops.
Location: Main Street, Runaway Bay. St. Ann, Ocho Rios
Ph: 973-5652; 973-5589
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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Restaurants in the 3 cities were certainly buzzing with diners throughout Restaurant Week (RW) that was held November 13 – 21. Persons were excited to ‘Dig in’, the slogan used for this year’s RW.
Suga was happy to report that all, if not, most of her recommendations were excellent choices based on feedback from Suga bears a.k.a. Suga Lifestyle readers and friends.
Just to highlight a few,
One Love Cafeat Bob Marley’s Museum and Susie’s Bakery & Coffee Bar really satisfied diners for the Nyam and Scram category.
Lillian’s Restaurant Image: RWJ 2015 Index on go-jamaica.com
For the Tasty Category, the UTECH students from Lillian’s Restaurant who seemed to put a lot of effort into their menu, offering unique dishes at a low cost showed that there is a bright future ahead for Jamaica in the Culinary industry.
Lillian’s was delightful. They had a pleasant and attentive waitress, yet not overbearing, as well as helpful staff. Decor was simple yet appropriate and clean, with soft classical music. The Jerked Chicken Chowder and Salt Fish Tostones they served as Appetizers had lovely flavours and the Salad was fresh with a decent serving. Their Main course was enjoyed by all at the table. Generous servings as well. Their Peppercorn Crusted Beef was cooked exactly as ordered, the Cinnamon Braised Pineapple Pork was succulent and not overdone, the Seared Trout and Creamy Chicken Sauté dishes were tasty. Desserts were also very good. Their Rum and Raisin cake, Passion Trifle and Chocolate and Banana Bread Pudding were yummy. Well done Lillian’s!
Sea Deck Photo credit: Emile Pitt
Sea Deck had nice, big, tasty servings as usual with decent service.
C & C South Beach Restaurant in the Savoury category got two thumbs up. Their service, food and atmosphere were impressive. Kudos to them for a 10 minute waiting time during RW!
Christopher’s at Hermosa Cove, Ocho Rios was a winner for the Delectable category. No surprise there. Props to Executive Chef Conroy Arnold for sustaining a high standard of food quality and service. The ambience there is just an added plus.
Then of course, with a full review coming soon, Marguerites Seafood by the Sea in Montego Bay took the Epicurean category hands down. Excellent ambience, service and food topped off by a premium selection of wines.
Well done Restaurants, looking forward to next year!
Considering the excellent quality of food, service and a wonderful view while dining, Suga endorses Christopher’s at Hermosa Cove for the Delectable category that costs $3800JMD during Restaurant Week Jamaica, November 13-21.
*Price of each category includes a choice of appetizer, main course and dessert. Beverages, GCT and gratuity additional.
For Soup and Salad, the Cream of Pepperpot Soup with Callaloo and the Pimento Wood Smoked Marlin Salad with Thinly Sliced Marlin, Bamboo Farm Pulled Baby Cilantro, Chilled Escovitch Pickling Liquid, Shaved Scallion and Plum Tomatoes with Scotch Bonnet Drizzle sound like a treat to me! I have already had the Smoked Marlin salad. It is delightful.
Jerk Sausage and Mussels ‘Hot Pot’ for an Appetizer sounds interestingly good. There are other tasty sounding appetizers as well.
There are Vegetarian options for Entrees such as the Vegetarian Roti with Stewed Curried Lima Bean, Pumpkin, Carrots and Bammy. Otherwise, the Steamed Catch of the day “Fish En Papillote” and 5 Spice Dusted, Smoked “BBQ” Pork Spare Ribs with Red and White Cabbage Chilled Cole Slaw and BBQ Sauce sound delicious!
You can then top it off with Cinnamon and Vanilla Bread and Butter Pudding with Rum Spiced Chocolate Sauce for Dessert.
Chef Conroy Arnold sources his herbs, fruits and vegetables from the garden on property and the Catch of the Day from local fishermen. So his dishes aren’t only authentic and rich in flavour but fresh as well.
Pop-Up Gourmet can satisfy a variety of customers. Families, persons in the corporate sector that may have to buy lunch daily or host business lunch or dinner meetings, bar hoppers and ofcourse, the foodie that loves to dine at restaurants frequently throughout each month, all benefit from Pop-Up Gourmet.
Pop-Up Gourmet Advantage Card Holders can use their cards at over 70 locations in Kingston, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Port Antonio and the South Coast. Members can also enjoy special discounts and privileges at Food Lovers’ Experiences such as the annually held Simply Red ($500JMD off of ticket for 2014) and more.
It costs $6500JMD to sign up annually, where payment can be made online. They will also even come to you with a swipe card machine for payment! The card is valid for one (1) year and there is a referral programme for other benefits.
So how does it make sense? The average working person that buys a decent lunch including a beverage everyday for about $1000JMD and goes a little harder on the weekend can make back that fee in just over a month with 10-15% discounts at various restaurants and bars. Not to mention the family that eats out or gets take-out at least twice per week, that money is made back promptly.
Unfortunately, card holders cannot use Pop-Up Gourmet for Restaurant week menus but cards can still be presented for items otherwise. Also remember that Christmas is right around the corner with many outings, so the more you can save, the better.
Popular lunch locations include Toss & Roll, CPJ Market, China Express, Cuddy’z, Deli Works, New Leaf Vegetarian, JoJo’s Jerk Pit and More, Ocho Rios Jerk Centre, John Crow’s Tavern, Pier 1 and more.
Hot dinner spots include Caffe da Vince, Tamarind Indian Cuisine, Saffron, Fromage Gourmet Market, Evita’s, Opa, 689 by Brian Lumley, Mystic India and more.
When the end of the week comes and you are running up that bar bill, fret not if you hit up Macau, Bin 26, Cru, Margaritaville, The Deck and others.
I have enjoyed discounts of $500JMD and more from The Wine Shop, Christopher’s at Hermosa Cove and China Express to name a few. My Pop-Up Gourmet Card is so precious, I literally never leave home without it. One night I was hurrying to leave the house, switching from hand bag to clutch so carried just my cards and ‘get vex’ money, only to realise when I got to the restaurant that I left my debit card and only had my Driver’s License, Insurance card, Pop-Up Gourmet card and hardly any cash. Hilarious. But that Pop-Up Gourmet card popped me out of debt or having my friends pay when I was able to use my exact amount of cash as a result of getting over a $500JMD discount by presenting my Advantage card. Phew!
I have also found that when I have slightly overspent or was just within budget, the money from my discount can be used towards tips instead of having to find even more money to spend.
What are you waiting for? Check out http://www.popupgourmetjamaica.com/ for information on more participating locations, what’s hot in the culinary industry, benefits and to sign up now!
Also follow ‘popupgourmetjamaica or Pop-Up Gourmet Jamaica’ on Instagram and Facebook respectively, to keep updated on deals and when new Restaurants and Bars have signed on thus giving you more options to save!
Majestic, Red Bones and Whitebones need to step it up, not only during Restaurant Week, but all year round. All roads lead to the North Coast! Fresh menus and ambience galore!
All courses at Calypso at Seawind Beach Club (Montego Bay) look great. Pan Seared Tuna Medallions, 12 oz Black Angus Rib Eye, Chilean Seabass, Chocolate Lava Cake with Mint Gelato and more. Dinner at Calypso is usually a treat.
The House Boat Grill will provide another exciting option in Montego Bay with their infamous Caesar Salad, Thai Red Curry Mussels and more for Appetizers. Thai Red Curry Lobster amongst other scrumptious meats will be offered for the main course and the Chocolate Molten Cake looks like it will be divine.
Christopher’s at Hermosa Cove, the hidden gem in Ocho Rios will offer their delicious Smoked Marlin Salad as an appetizer with a variety of other options. They will have Seafood Linguine with Shrimp, Conch and Fish, Smoked Ribs, Beef Tenderloin and more.
After executing a successful Rotaract District 7020 Conference that started the day after my Birthday, there was no doubt in my mind that I would need rest and relaxation at the end of a week full of both work and pleasure. So mid-June, I decided to end my Birthday week in style and made my dinner reservation for two at Christopher’s, Hermosa Cove. Afterall, you do not need to be a guest at Hermosa Cove Villa Resort to enjoy the delightful offerings of Christopher’s. I was instantly impressed with their professionalism over the phone and exercising the initiative to ask if I was celebrating a special occasion, of which my response was ofcourse, my Birthday.
Christopher’s at Hermosa Cove recently won Best Kept Secret at the Table Talk Jamaica Observer Food Awards 2014 and the Executive Chef, Chef Conroy Arnold, was awarded for Chef on the Rise. So I knew I was in for a serene evening and treat.
I arrived on property at 6:20 in the evening and was joyously greeted by the host from the parking lot, who was clearly anticipating my arrival as he gave me Birthday wishes and escorted myself and my beau, Randy inside. We were seated on their cool, open-air verandah with a beautiful ocean view.
The waitress came soon after, issued our menus and informed us of the Soup and special Marlin Salad of the day. The menu was quite diverse and included local favourites such as Braised Oxtail and Curry Goat. There was mention of a lot of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables on the menu, but this was no surprise to me with my knowledge of the Chef sometimes taking guests into the garden and choosing what is going to be cooked. Perhaps Christopher’s will be considered for Best Ethical Restaurant next year, as they also support the local fishermen and serve a pimento wood smoked Catch of the day.
The waitress took our orders and I had a refreshing Mojito shortly after. Our appetizers arrived quickly. We had the fresh Marlin Salad and Chicken Quesadilla. The tasty Quesadilla had smoked chicken, mixed cheese, oven dried tomato, cilantro and seasoned plantain chips, with fresh salsa. The fresh Marlin Salad will make any child like greens. It included marlin, lettuce, shaved carrot, red onion, fresh salsa and Chef’s choice vinaigrette.
Soon after the satisfying appetizers, our entrée dishes came out. Randy had the Coconut Braised Chicken, which he enjoyed and I had the succulent 6oz spiced tenderloin Steak that I had medium rare with ratatouille style vegetables and steak sauce. I must point out that upon ordering the steak usually served with fries, that Chef Arnold was readily available in the dining area and unhesitatingly accommodated my request to have roasted potato wedges instead. That is not usually seen with the often robotic-like operations of other restaurants and staff.
Just when we thought our stomachs were filled to our heart’s content, we could not refuse the waitress’ invitation to try their Butter Bread Pudding served with Vanilla Ice Cream. It seemed as if Chef still had it baking in the oven though, because it took a bit long to be served. It was of no comparison to Fromage’s Bread Pudding but was savoury nonetheless.
The bill also took a little while, but we enjoyed spending that time to take pictures on the scenic grounds nearby. Then we were even happier with the fact that my Pop Up Gourmet Card reduced our $69.90USD bill by 10% to $62.91USD ($7,000.00JMD) inclusive of tax. Definitely more value for money spent.
From the hospitable security guard upon entrance to the property, to the vibrant host, cordial waitress and accommodating chef, I honestly had second thoughts about sharing and would have liked to keep Christopher’s a secret, but it certainly would not be fair to all concerned. I shall return quite soon and not only to the Restaurant but as a guest to the Villa Resort that received a Certificate of Excellence this year from Trip Advisor.