The endless choice of fabulous restaurants with wonderful food is one of the reasons David and I keep coming back to Negril. While we have our favourites we can’t miss, we always want to try new places too.
We read about a new restaurant in Food and Wine magazine that is right beside our hotel (thanks to my sister for the magazine subscription). Zest at the Cliffs Resort came highly recommended in the magazine review, and was a 3 minute walk, so we made it our first dinner in Negril.
The property itself is gorgeous, especially at night. Beautiful flowers, pristine grounds and pool and great decor. As with most restaurants in Negril, Zest fills up the outdoor area first (dining al fresco here on the cliffs, listening to the sound of the surf, feeling the breeze off the ocean, and looking up to the twinkling stars is truly wonderful).
It was also Valentine’s Day, and each lady received a red rose. Nice touch!
There was a special Valentine’s Day menu of three courses, plus a bottle of wine, at a cost of $150 per couple. A pretty great deal for the beauty and quality. Our server Tamara was attentive and friendly throughout the meal, and provided top notch service all night.
I started my choice with a roasted beet salad with yellow and red beets, greens, cucumber and spicy cashews in a spiced ginger vinaigrette. The ginger was prominent but still subtle and the beets were fantastic. The cashews were a nice treat as well.
David’s choice of Shiraz braised short ribs may have been the best dish of the night. The short ribs were paired with truffle oil scented gnocchi with cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. The gnocchi was out of this world and added to the luxuriousness of the short ribs. David called this a “Umami bomb” of flavour – his highest review I think.
On to our entrees. I really loved my flame broiled lobster with coconut milk sauce and kaffir lime leaf scented jasmine rice. Caribbean lobster is different from what you find in North America – it has tentacles instead of claws and tastes a bit fisher (but is still delicious). I often stay away from whole lobster I have to pull out of the shell (because it is messy and embarrassing), but I am glad I went for it this time. The callaloo greens (something like kale) were a great bitter counter point to the buttery coconut flavoured lobster sauce.
David had the herb roasted chicken (a supreme cut) with creamy corn polenta and grilled okra with jus. He found the chicken a bit on the salty side, but raved about the okra (cooked perfectly so it wasn’t slimy at all – which over cooked okra can be).
Our desserts were heavenly. I am a sucker for a banana and ice cream dessert, and loved the flambé banana with almonds and vanilla and pistachio ice cream. David also really enjoyed his fudge heaven chocolate cake with white chocolate and maraschino cherry filling.
This was one Valentine’s Day we won’t forget, and a fantastic start to our time in Negril. We highly recommend Zest for a special night out!