Fine Dining at Coconut Bay Resort
Never been to an all-inclusive resort, and frankly, wasn’t expecting much from the food. “Mon,”as they say on the island, was I surprised by Coconut Bay Resort in St. Lucia.
Arrivals are greeted with a glass of champagne. Nice touch.
First evening, I chose a roti from the buffet, something I always order at the Soggy Dollar Bar in the BVI’s.The folded wrap is traditional Caribbean food: curried chicken and potatoes, perhaps green pepper and carrots within a thin shell similar to a tortilla.The dish is usually served with chutney, a green salad and plantains.Yum, that roti, along with a pina colada, put me in a laid-back mood.
Next morning I found a lavish self-service breakfast.Who wouldn’t be happy with fresh fruit, ham, bacon, sausage, eggs any style, including a casserole similar to the one I make on Christmas morning? Pancakes, waffles, French toast, breads, Danish, bagels, croissants, hot and cold cereals, OJ and coffee or tea were also available.More than needed.
Later, my group went to one of the two onsite reservation necessary restaurants.Guests call to book a table, those with children must be finished by 7:30, or opt for the buffet.We chose Bellagio’s, the Italian Restaurant and I confess I feasted on insalata, mushroom ravioli, and tiramisu. La bella notte.
Sunrise brought a planned hike up the Gros Piton (2,619 feet to be exact).The resort packed goodies to eat enroute (you must start early due to the heat) and an apple saved me about half way up.I struggled to climb to the top—but once there–what a panorama.
Assured that I’d burned a couple thousand calories, I felt I’d earned the right to eat anything I wanted.So, I relaxed and reveled on the beauties and diversity of St. Lucia and then consumed a spectacular meal at SILK, another restaurant on the all-inclusive plan.
Honestly, I’ve never chopsticked my way through better Chinese- anywhere, and that includes Chinatown in San Francisco.I started with hot and sour soup, a bowl of joy: tangy, with a spicy kick, unlike watery Won-Ton. Threads of burnt umber laced the broth presented in a charcoal colored bowl with a small flower floating in the center. The soup was as luxurious as cashmere or the restaurant’s name– Silk.
Crispy chicken wings appeared next, exploding with heat but not fire.No way to eat these fried morsels except finger licking.
My entrée, a trio of sesame beef kabob, sweet and sour chicken and garlic shrimp, was artfully presented in a hollow bamboo container, accompanied by a mound of steaming rice. The shrimps were tender, succulent and garlicky.This dish alone would demand a return visit, if Coconut Bay were in my hometown
Dessert starred Chocolate Delight, a double-wide dark cocoa truffle, the consistency of ganache, which melted on my tongue with momentary bitterness, then burst into semi-sweetness.Just one bite was all that was needed to end an eventful day and our soiree.
Other meals included a cheeseburger at the outdoor poolside grill and a western themed supper around the moonlit deck. The hotel staff danced the two-step and boot scootin’ boogie like pros.Apparently GI’s stationed on St. Lucia during WWII introduced country music and the residents adopted the western sound into their culture.
My recommendations:Anyone going to St Lucia should dine at Silk.I’d also encourage a hike at least half way up the Gros Piton for the photo worthy view.If you can’t manage the difficult terrain, drive to the lighthouse at sunset.And if you are fortunate enough to stay at Coconut Bay during a full moon, you’ll bask in one of the most romantic places on the island.
West Indian Chicken Roti Recipe
As Adapted by Debi Lander from A Week at Sandcastle
- 2 pounds boneless chicken thigh meat
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 small green pepper
- 1 small red pepper
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 pounds peeled and cubed potatoes
- 2 Cups water
- 2 cans drained chickpeas
- Heat oil in saucepan and fry curry powder for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Cut up chicken and season with salt and pepper.
- Add chicken to curry powder and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more.
- Add all the other ingredients and continue to simmer. Stir frequently until potatoes are soft and sauce is thickened.
- Spoon into Roti skins and fold like an envelope.
- Serve with mango chutney.
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup oil
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Salt to taste
- Mix flour, baking powder and butter.
- Add water, turmeric, cumin and salt.
- Knead to form soft elastic but not sticky dough.
- Cut into 6 pieces.
- Roll dough out thinly, brush on oil and sprinkle on a pinch of flour.
- Fold in half, then a quarter, then roll into a ball.
- Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Roll dough out again and place on a hot griddle.
- Brush on oil as needed and turn frequently.
- Remove roti and clap with both hands until pliable.
- Fold and place on waxed paper.
- Stuff with roti filling and serve or reheat later.