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Video: Hilton's Bambo-steamed Salmon

A Grand Luncheon at Hilton Rose Hall

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa's invitation was clear and succint — Thursday Food was to come for lunch. Upon arrival at the resort (shout-out to the property's landscaper) the team was given a royal welcome with lemongrass-scented cool towelettes and tropical welcome drinks. The team was whisked to the Cricket Club bar that was converted into a private dining room by Charmaine Deane, area director of marketing, Hilton & Jewel Resorts.


Crisp white linen was offset with burlap runners, marine accents and good silverware. Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa Executive Chef Steve Sowa, sous-chef Pete Evans, Executive Sous-Chef Lij Heron, and pastry chef Vincent van Horne created a feast. Lunch started with a choice of two appetisers — tea and thyme smoked duck breast and pan-seared Atlantic scallops with pumpkin purée, oyster mushrooms, truffle oil and tomatoes. The delicious pineapple carpaccio (made with star anise, cinnamon and Blackwell Rum) was a choice accompaniment to the duck breast that was perfectly smoked and had nuanced notes of black tea, thyme and pimento. Delish! The pan-seared Atlantic scallops were plump, sweet and the earthy pumpkin and truffle oil were perfect accompaniments.

Entrée options included smoked pimento-marinated beef brisket, bamboo-steamed, salmon; pan-seared snapper, and the Blue Mountain coffee and pimento pork tenderloin. The brisket was slow-cooked for 12 hours and the cayenne and pimento really shone. The dish was finished with Blackwell Rum BBQ sauce and served alongside crumbly Scotch bonnet cornbread. Please note that bamboo and lemongrass are salmon's new best friends. Bamboo has a delicate flavour that is hard to describe, but in essence, it's like a mild cedar. The lemongrass was bamboo's heavenly match and shaved fennel, cho-cho and carrots were the salmon's co-stars. The pan-seared snapper and polenta were lovely. Hilton Rose Hall, please note: the candied tomatoes should be served with every dish! The flavour of the Blue Mountain coffee and pimento pork tenderloin was deep and complex and the yam risotto showcased the kitchen's innovativeness: yes, you read that correctly, yam risotto.

According to Executive Chef Steve Sowa, the Hilton Rose Hall kitchen has been experimenting with local flavours to make ice cream. For dessert, otaheiti apple and ginger sorbet were served atop chocolate crumble with candied ginger. It was very good. The Jamaican rum cake, made with yes, you guessed it, Blackwell Rum, was moist, springy and delicious. The cake was accompanied by a butterscotch black pepper ice cream (pastry chef Vincent van Horne clearly has a second career calling as a chemist!) which is the kind of flavour Häagen-Dazs would sell in a heartbeat. It was all sorts of delicious.

A walk was needed after lunch. And as the team explored the beautiful grounds and people-watched tourists enjoying splashing in the Caribbean Sea, it dawned on us that we are fortunate to live where others pay to escape for a week.