Tuesday, October 10, 2006

We were in Bermuda last week and had the great fortune to have dinner at a five star restaurant called the Newport Room. The Newport room is an homage to all the sailors who sailed in the Bermuda Race from Newport to Bermuda (my father did this race three times), however, my mother was agast that the place looked more like the interior of an ocean liner. I loved the warm rosewood and brass interior and felt as if I was on the Queen Mary or something, the effect was pretty cool. We arrived to be one of the only table of diners in the place, but by the time we left three hours later, the place was packed. Coat and tie was the norm, however there were some black tie clad tables.
There were six of us (my whole family) and we were presented with choices of: 1. a seven course meal with wine parings that would take somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 hours to eat ( my dad would never have the patience for that...though I know of a local couple of friends here in Belfast with whom I would love to share the experience); 2: a three course meal for $75 a person ; 4. a four course meal for $100.00 a person. People chose what they wanted, I ended up having the four course meal. The whole experience was very theatrical and the staff really relished the drama surrounding the food to the point that when our main course was served, everyone's arrived at the table covered with silver domes. When all were in place, the server said "ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served" and all the domes were wisked away to a golf clap round of applause on our part. I chose to order the butternut squash tortolini with parmesan foam that was good but nothing to write home about, the truffle and porcini powder mushroom soup which was just amazing, the seared lamb shoulder and the chocolate souflee...why not? My dad, who doesn't believe that food should cost so much and is really happy when the server is attentive to his drink needs and his steak is cooked properly had his usual salad with rocqufort, steak, and chocolate soufle. Greg had his lobster bisque flambeed at the table, and a monkfish napoleon that he said was out of this world. My sister Jennifer asked for wine parings with each course, speaking in Arabic to the Egyptian sommolier, who thought my blond haired sister a goddess because she spoke his language. Talk about drama, she made a big production of being a vegetarian that night.."I don't eat fish" she sniffed at one point and then pleaded with all of us not to order meat. (I'd be a bit more sympathetic if she hadn't ordered the beef tenderloin our last night out at dinner) My mother had the lobster hot and cold which consisted of a lobster salad and tempura lobster with olive oil and rosemary sorbet to start and then the Dover Sole which she said was quite excellent.
What was perfect about the place was the European portions. My tortolini dish had three pieces of pasta, not two dozen as in America. My lamb was also very small proportion wise. It was really nice to be taken care of by seven servers who made sure that the bread plates were full and the water flowed.
The bill was about $1000 by the time we had coffee and tea and dessert. Our chocoate souflees were decadent! Warm cream was poured into the top and a plate of white and dark chocolate shavings with candied orange peel went around the table as sprinklings.
The courses were spread apart by an amuse bouche of basil custard with an anchovie breadstick and a palate clearer of mango juice with a lemon foam. Just and incredible experience I wish everyone could have at least once in their lives. This is the way to eat!


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