Parallel23 Restaurant Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos IslandsReviewed May / June 2015

A photograph of Parallel23 Restaurant at the Regent Palms Resort, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Parallel23 Restaurant at The Palms Resort

By Mandy Rostance-Wolf
Photography By

Few places evoke the incomparable grandeur and magnificent stateliness of The Palms Resort. A nostalgic and beguiling elegance makes you feel as if you have travelled back in time to the splendour of a by-gone era, to the glamorous days of the centuries-old Great Houses of the Caribbean. The viewing corridor from the entrance of the Manor House to the Mansion is simply breathtaking. Buildings are fashioned with Bahamian coral stone, and eye-catching, island-inspired accoutrements appear at every turn. Stroll along Palm Place, a shopping promenade of boutiques that are flanked by a lush, manicured courtyard with an infinity-edge fountain. Gaze overhead, and take in the beauty of the towering date palms, majestic Poinciana trees, and Bougainvillea vines with blossoms that cascade like waterfalls.

A photograph of Parallel23’s savoury truffle brioche and mulit-grain bread rolls at the Regent Palms Resort, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Parallel23’s savoury truffle brioche and mulit-grain bread rolls

The Mansion is the social hub of the resort and features Parallel23 and L’Attitude, their signature bar. With the aura of an old-world gentlemen’s club, L’Attitude is stylish and elegant with sumptuous sofas, lavish furnishings, an abundance of warm mahogany and gleaming black and white tile floors. Enjoy pre-dinner libations, and indulge in offerings of salty and savoury snacks served in miniature martini glasses. This particular evening was unseasonably cool, so a Hot Sun cocktail seemed perfectly apropos. The combination was quite compelling and utterly captivating, rosemary infused rum, fresh mango, lemon, island hot sauce, and jerk seasoning with a brown sugar rim.

A photograph of The Regent Caesar Salad.
at the Regent Palms Resort, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.The Regent Caesar Salad

At Parallel23, dine al fresco on the terrace beneath a blanket of glittering stars, or in the chic and stylish white-themed dining rooms that feature striking pieces of glass art and colourful art on canvas. For dinner and a show, take in the excitement and animation of the exhibition kitchen, an entertaining and engaging element of your Parallel23 experience. The service team is attentive and polished. This is elegant hospitality at its finest.

While the resort recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary in February 2015, it seems like it has been a natural part of the landscape forever.

Some chefs can boast of having better working conditions than others and Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage, Lauren Callighen doesn’t take her beautiful surroundings for granted. “I still have the same feeling when I walk on the beach, as I felt the first day I got here. Now working here [Regent Palms] I feel that way every day,” she confessed. “This is the most beautiful building, this is the most beautiful place. It looks like it’s always been here – it looks like it belongs here. There are not a lot of places, landmarks, or structures that can evoke that kind of gratitude.”

A photograph of Squid Ink Arborio, Caicos Lobster Tail with Puttanesca Sauce Risotto, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Squid Ink Arborio, Caicos Lobster Tail with Puttanesca Sauce Risotto

The menu is a carte du jour of flavour fused with fantasy, and it was clear that this evening was going to be an ethereal experience of the epicurean kind.

Bread Service included a savoury truffle brioche and a multigrain bread roll, followed by an amuse-bouche of chilled soup; it was refreshing, light, and clean-tasting, with pineapple, honeydew and ginger.

A generous portion of Angus Beef Tartare featured capers, shallots, Espelette aioli, a micro arugula salad, and a crispy fried egg yolk. The creamy and peppery aioli was the ideal accompaniment to the absolutely tender, diced beef, with a lovely richness, complements of the egg.

Hail to the Regent Caesar Salad! Spears of romaine hearts were bundled and served perpendicular, while a surge of tangy garlic, anchovy and lemon dressing flowed down the sides beneath a peak of thick shards of Parmesan. Shame to have to ruin such a unique and attractive presentation, “I have to fell it,” my husband declared. Timber...

A delicate cauliflower puree, and brown butter sauce seamlessly complemented my pan-seared Diver Scallops. Compressed cubes of Granny Smith apple that had been vacuum sealed with apple liqueur and fresh juice, proffered a sharp contrast, together with the delightful and sweet crunch of toasted, candied hazelnuts.

A photograph of Black Cod with Puy lentils at Parallel23, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Black Cod with Puy lentils at Parallel23

Across the table, a tangy goat cheese dressing was the ideal match to the Smoked Turkey Salad, together with chewy, dried cranberries, crunchy sweet potato chips, and a sweet and fragrant onion marmalade, all on a bed of lola rossa lettuce.

A palate cleansing Intermezzo of Lime Sorbet had great pucker power and actually made me wink.

First, my eyes spotted squid ink Arborio, then Caicos lobster tail, and then Puttanesca Sauce. Off the wall and completely ingenious, this cohesive culinary coupling was amazing on so many levels, I just wanted to toss my pen away and dive in. There were succulent morsels of lobster in the risotto, as well as butter poached chunks on top. As I gushed to Lauren she revealed, “You would think it would be too much, a rich salty Puttanesca, squid ink, and the fresh lobster brine. But somehow, it just all balances out. I love it. The thing that brought it together was the focaccia crumbs. That’s really the solidifying moment on the plate.”

When Lauren wanted to create a heartier fish dish for the winter menu, she enlisted the talents of black cod to give her the ‘oomph’ she was looking for and explained, “With the black cod I was able to go to another level. The parsnips add an earthy flavour. We make the sauce [roasted cod and red wine fume] like a classic demi-glace roasting the fish bones and head.” The smoked rainbow trout roe delightfully burst in your mouth, and the Puy lentils were delicately seasoned with a touch of cinnamon.

The Australian Lamb Loin is cooked sous-vide, a French technique of cooking in a vacuum sealed bag in a water bath at a precisely controlled temperature. This lovely loin was prepared flawlessly medium and was moist and full of flavour. A “really tasty” field mushroom and barley ragout offered a savoury element, while a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette added “a nice sweetness.”

A photograph of Parallel23’s Lemon Meringue Pie at the Regent Palms Resort, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Parallel23’s Lemon Meringue Pie

A duet of free-range organic Cornish hen featuring a confit of leg and a roasted breast, with a white wine and herb jus was a tantalising twosome and a match made in organic heaven. A sprinkling of delectable kale chips had my favourite dining companion momentarily distracted from the star of the dish, and the sage and apple polenta was deemed to be “divine.”

Compatible and companionable, with every plate and palate, Flowers Pinot Noir from California’s Sonoma Coast is my fellow diner’s preferred Pinot, “Delicate, but not thin, yet full of fruit, velvety, smooth and balanced. Feels good on the palate,” he crooned.

We headed South to Mendoza, Argentina to pair our entrée courses with a Renacer Punto Final Reserva Malbec, robust and full-bodied, with a creamy mouth feel. Gaining enormous popularity, Malbecs are typically dense, rich, substantial wines you can really sink your teeth into and offer remarkable value.

Sticky Toffee Pudding is Parallel23’s signature dessert. Having previously agreed to share, as the lone pudding was placed on the table Lauren smiled and said, “You’re going to wish you ordered three more in a minute.”

The Pistachio Trio was a trinity of taste, beginning with a delicate pistachio shortcake, topped with an outrageously smooth pistachio Bavarian cream, crowned with a silky and divine pistachio espuma, and set on a marvellous red wine reduction. To finish, a sprinkling of salted pistachio granola. Simply exquisite.

Lauren once told me she considers “recreating a feeling or memory through food” is her greatest accomplishment, and her Lemon Meringue Pie is a perfect example of that. The shortbread crust is Lauren’s grandmother’s shortbread cookie recipe. Then a fabulously creamy and tangy lemon curd is capped with toasted meringue and served with raspberry sorbet, fresh raspberries, and raspberry sauce.

A photograph of The divine desert -  Pistachio Trio, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.The divine desert - Pistachio Trio

Lauren refuses to take all the credit in the kitchen and speaks highly of her culinary team, including Chef de Cuisine, Andrea del Campo from Northern Italy, and Pastry Chef, Rajasekar Ravindran from India. “I can’t speak highly enough of these two gents, they really are extraordinary.”

As we strolled along Palm Place back to the entrance of the Manor House, we paused for a moment, compelled to turn around and indulge in one last glimpse of the past, and the enigmatic splendour and charismatic charm that is The Regent Palms.

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