1 This is the entrance to Jacala, my new favorite Caribbean restaurant. Located on Meads Bay, one of Anguilla's best beaches, this lovely eatery reminded me of of the airy decor in Morocco. The building itself is typical of Anguilla, with a view from the front to the back to the sea.
2 The name, Jacala, is a combination of the the two owners names, Jacques Borderon and Alain Laurent. Intuitive cuisine is the product of Chef Laurent's classical French training and years of cooking in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
3 The lunch menu is extensive and is quite clear in its description of each dish.
4 We were greeted by the owner/manager, Jacques Borderon, who is most willing to explain anything about the food, the service, and the restaurant in a pleasant, forthright, and gentle manner.
5 Our hostess for the weekend, Alice, is a regular at Jacala and made certain that we did not miss a fantastic meal there. This is Alice with the chef/owner, Alain Laurent.
6 Jacques and Alain worked together for years at Malliouhana, Anguilla's most luxurious hotel and spa from the 1980s-2000s. The two left the hotel to create their own establishment just down the beach. Jacala opened its doors in January of 2010.
7 It was Jacques' and Alain's desire to create a quiet and intimate space allowing them to provide personalized service. The restaurant seats just 35! Jacques is a most gracious host. The staff is small and amazingly courteous and energetic. I counted 2 waitresses, Jacques and Alain, 3 others in the kitchen, and 1 bartender.
8 This island, like Saint Croix, is home to many free-range chickens. This handsome cockerel very much resembles my Araucana roosters.
9 Artist/painter, Sheila Berger, one of the 5 women on the trip is a dear friend. She is a long-distance swimmer and she, Alice, and Deborah Berke swam a couple miles every day. I had a hard time keeping up!
10 This attractive contraption, very cleverly holds an ice bucket off the table top. I can't wait to find such a thing for my outdoor dining. In the tropics, condensation ruins many a tabletop and this helps to avoid that dilemma.
11 Marinated tuna carpaccio with wakame, olive oil, and soya sauce - a simple, delicious presentation, which started off our meal. Fresh wasabi, fresh pickled ginger, lemon, and lime were the condiments.
12 Grilled watermelon and goat cheese salad with balsamic dressing - I loved the taste of the grilled melon. This salad was colorful, crunchy, creamy, and delicious!
13 Conch ceviche with aromatic vegetables and lime juice - This is their take on a traditional conch salad. The conch was cut into strips instead of chopped, and was seasoned with red chili peppers and wakame and served with lightly dressed small lettuces.
14 This was the Bruschetta with fresh ratatouille Provençale and feta cheese. Jacques insisted we have this and he was right - utterly delectable!
15 Jacala steak tartar - It was coarsely hand-chopped and topped with a homemade Scotch bonnet pickle. It was one of the best I ever tasted, including Balthazar, one of my favorite eateries in New York City.
16 Another serving of Jacala steak tartar, coarsely hand chopped - made table side by Jacques. Step-by-step instructions to follow.
17 An elegant presentation of red snaper meunière - I asked Jacques for the recipe - The fish is salt & peppered on the inside, then well-chilled. Before cooking, it's floured and sauteed in a heavy skillet in melted butter. They use New Zealand unsalted butter, exclusively. While cooking, the butter is spooned over skin until lightly crackled and finished in the oven.
18 Grilled crayfish with lemon - These crayfish are really spotted lobsters. They're sliced in half lengthwise and grilled with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
19 Beurre blanc was brought to table to spoon over the crayfish. Pan roasted potatoes are made with salt, pepper, and sage. This was the best spotted lobster I've ever tasted - even better than what I ate in Brittany!
20 The desserts are as good as any restaurant I've been in. The crème brûlée was smooth with a crunchy top - not easy in a hot and humid environment.
21 The whipped cream rum baba was well-textured and the Meyer Rum syrup was delish!
22 The Chocolate Pot de Crème - sublime!
23 These are some of the ingredients for the Jacala steak tartar - Excellent quality beef, egg yolk, chopped capers, parsley, shallot, and cornichon.
24 The other ingredients
25 At table side, Jacques ground pepper into a mixing bowl.
26 He added some coarse salt and Dijon mustard.
27 Next, Heinz ketchup
28 Mix well
29 Worcestershire sauce
31 The condiments from the plate
32 Mix well
33 The egg yolk
34 The coarsely chopped beef
35 Blend all ingredients
36 Spoon onto serving plates