Grace's Cottage Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos IslandsReviewed Summer 2015
The gingerbread cottage and enchanting gardens at the restaurant at Point Grace, Grace’s Cottage
A stroll through the grounds of Point Grace Resort is like taking a step back in time. Perhaps it’s the turn-of-the-century British Colonial architecture and ginger-bread trimmed cottages, or the gleaming white custom ’65 Rolls Royce, once owned by Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas, or the vintage London Taxi. Or could it be the romantic spirit of Grace Hutchings, that is rumored to still linger today? Utterly captivating and enchanting, she ultimately inspired the name of Grace Bay Beach over a century ago, after honeymooning on these heavenly shores. This upscale and luxurious boutique hotel is poised on the point of Grace Bay Beach; its signature restaurant, Grace’s Cottage, will simply take your breath away.
A rustic island-stone pathway meanders its way through the lush and enchanting torch-lit gardens to your idyllic Caribbean cottage milieu, where your magical evening begins. An impressive and exquisitely carved mahogany bar is the cottage’s focal point, and the warmth and character of dark wood continues with carved masks and furnishings. Palm fronds swaying in the evening breezes sound like gentle rain falling, while the din of contented diners blends with a contemporary music playlist – the only tip-off to the modern day! Dine on the cottage’s beautiful terrace, beneath a romantic gazebo, or under a canopy of stars. This is the ultimate al fresco dining experience, with teak tables and chairs meticulously arranged to maximize your privacy. Every detail has been considered, even miniature bamboo stands are offered, chairside, to place your handbag.
Warm breads and crusty rolls served with various butter spreads
Caribbean cooking styles with a contemporary flair and delivery are prepared by Chef Maximo Gonzales and feature fresh ingredients from the islands as well as carefully selected items from the region, that have set the culinary stage for centuries.
Our server Leslie sported a dazzling and genuine smile that could be spotted from a mile away. A smile so bright, he quite certainly could bring ships to safe harbour. Attentive and affable, Leslie was eager to make our Grace’s Cottage experience a memorable one.
Lavender marinated lamb rack topped with pineapple mint chutney
Adjudicating and allocating this evening’s unique offerings quickly evolved into a spirited game of rock, paper, scissors. Fortunately, a delicious diversion arrived in the way of a basket brimming with warm breads and rolls served with EVOO, balsamic, creamy butter, and a ‘they should bottle and sell that’ flavoured butter spread made with cheese, Italian sausage, peppers, onions, garlic, and tomato. This was an incredible condiment, as it oozed and melted into the luxuriously crusty rolls. An Amuse-bouche of chicken salad, pineapple, and black olives was light and delicate, yet full of flavour.
Appetisers began with Crab Cakes, with the operative word here being ‘crab.' Two delicious, crispy cakes were topped with a generous dollop of creamy la Rosa sauce and served with a sweet and tasty honey mustard sauce.
My Chicken Wontons were outrageously crispy. Four savoury packages stuffed with finely minced chicken were served with a scrumptious red curry sauce for dipping, and a refreshing seaweed salad with carrot ribbons.
Pistachio encrusted sea bass at Grace’s Cottage
Zesty, lemony nuances complemented the respectably engaging Caesar Salad, with plenty of shards of Parmesan cheese, crispy prosciutto, a long and lovely garlic crouton, and plenty of anchovies.
Across the table, a “marvellous” salad of Tomato, Beet Root, Cucumber, and Mozzarella was drenched in an intoxicating balsamic and honey mustard dressing. A delightful blend of flavours, who would have thought healthy could taste so decadent.
n intermezzo of “Wow, that’s nice!” Mint and Lime Sorbet refreshed and cleansed our palates, always a pleasurable and sophisticated touch to a memorable meal.
The wine list is very approachable and divided by grape variety. A 2012 Cuvaison Carneros Pinot Noir was an easy first choice, having appreciated the food-friendly and crowd-pleasing virtues of this bright wine on many occasions. We followed it up with a peppery, medium-bodied Belleruche Cote de Rhone. For your dining pleasure, Grace’s Cottage offers wine pairing suggestions right on the menu with all main dishes.
Grilled TCI Grouper with shrimp topping and pumpkin sauce
While Sea Bass on its own is simply divine, a Pistachio nut crust transforms it into an absolutely other-worldly dish. A lovely and bright citrus sauce is served on the side to add at your preference, and a side of roasted butternut pumpkin was an unexpected and delightful accompaniment, the ultimate comfort food.
When it comes to our local fish, it doesn’t get any better than Grilled Tuna. The essence of simplicity, tuna is best enjoyed with no more than a quick once over on the grill. This brief and fleeting contact with the hot grill gives it a great char-grill flavour that gives way to a moist and tender flesh that simply melts in your mouth. A pineapple and mint chutney adds a refreshing and tropical dimension, and that same lovely and bright citrus sauce is equally appealing with the tuna, as it was with the sea bass. A delicate curry couscous was the perfect grain to round out this superb dish.
When my favourite dining companion mused over the Steamed Alaskan King Crab Legs, her husband suggested she may wish to choose a less messy dish. A committed and candid crab aficionado, her response was, “I don’t care that they’re a mess to eat – they’re delicious.” Primed and prepared to endure a little culinary chaos for the sake of her crab, she let out a shriek of delight when they arrived ready to eat. No fuss, no muss, and absolutely fabulous. Muchas gracias for the finger bowl, a thoughtful and much appreciated gesture, but not even required!
It was a rare and exciting find to discover and experience the joy of culinary lavender’s wonderful aromas and subtle flavours in Chef Maximo’s Lavender Marinated Lamb Rack. While we all know of its aromatic and therapeutic properties, who hasn’t had a sachet of English lavender hanging in their closet . It’s an incredibly versatile herb in the kitchen. This dish was topped with that lovely pineapple and mint chutney and served with a fabulous slow-simmered ratatouille. The chutney had made several appearances this evening and was complementary each and every time. Lavender’s sweet-smelling, delicate fragrance, and understated flavour was a perfect complement and seasoned the lamb in a wonderful way. Kudos to the Chef! It’s time to get lavender out of the closet, and into more dishes!
Grace’s Cottage sinfully indulgent Chocolate Souffle
Perpetuate some of Chef Maximo’s food fantasies, including the ratatouille, at home, as he shares his Grilled TCI Grouper with shrimp topping and pumpkin sauce recipe on page 122 of the 2015 Dining Guide.
Sweet cravings include a sinfully indulgent Chocolate Soufflé, an Apple Tart a la Mode that was smothered in caramel and plenty of a la mode or, for the lighter appetites, choose from a selection of sorbets. Liquid libations were equally pleasurable with coffees, dessert martinis, liqueurs, and cordials. For the ultimate after dinner extravagance, try the Chocolate Martini with vanilla vodka, crème de cacao, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
If you have a love affair with fine cuisine, like I do, experience Grace’s Cottage. She will intoxicate, captivate, and enchant your soul, while the extraordinary gourmet Caribbean cuisine will intoxicate, captivate, and enchant your palate!
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