The drive from the cliffs to the beach is something we do each day thanks to the free shuttle from Hide Awhile Cliffs to the Idle Awhile Beach property. I love checking out the restaurants, shops and scenery along the way.
Tensing Pen is a place we’ve always wondered about. It’s a resort property on the cliffs with thatched roof buildings that always looked interesting to us. As we were reading a Jamaica tourism magazine in our hotel, we realized Tensing Pen had a restaurant. Sad about the very recent demise of one of our favourite restaurants nearby The Hungry Lion, we decided to check out The Lodge.
The moment we walked in, we were quite charmed by the place. It has an intimate and homey vibe. The Lodge really is an appropriate name – very warm and inviting (much like Jamaica itself). The restaurant is primarily outdoors with a wonderful view of the cliffs, the ocean and the little thatched huts.
We started with crab backs (something that The Hungry Lion was exceptional at) and coconut shrimp. The crab backs had a nice delayed spice kick at the end and served with a delicious seafood sauce. It was definitely a more refined take on crab backs than we have had before (and that was a good thing)! The coconut shrimp were also delicious – a little light on the coconut flavour, but the breading was perfect, the aioli dip was interesting and the shrimp were large. The salad that came with each dish had a lovely fresh citrus taste and was a great balance.
I can’t seem to get enough callaloo, so I chose the chicken stuffed with cream cheese and callaloo for my entree. It was very clean and allowed the callaloo to be prominent (which I loved) and the BBQ sauce it came with gave it a great kick.
David chose the curried lobster and loved the warm Caribbean madras curry style and thought the lobster was perfectly cooked. He also noted that the vegetables that came with both our dishes displayed some great knife skills and overall everything was very well executed and showed some real skill!
As we relaxed to end our meal, we watched a lighted paper lantern float up into the sky and enjoyed our last drinks (a sea breeze for me and a zombie for David). A zombie is a strong drink, and the bartender made us laugh when he asked if “it is strong enough for you big boy!”
As we were considering whether this would be a good place to stay in the future… It became clear that it was entirely too much of a community for us. Everyone seemed to know everyone… And one older New Yawk lady in particular was holding court as the self appointed social director. She wanted limes, but yelled to he server “don’t BAWTHA… I know there aren’t any!” Of course she knew that. She was hard to ignore during dinner, but we did our best.
We ran into her at the front desk as we were calling our taxi driver to come get us. Of course. “I overheard you tonight. I know you are staying at Hide Awhile. How do you like our place?” Like she was the owner. She wasn’t. Then to top it all off, she whipped out her little flashlight to brighten her way home to her hut. Like all little old ladies do.
“Maybe you’ll come stay with us sometime.” Probably not. But we will come back to eat at The Lodge! That was exceptional!