Warning: you’ll never want to leave Round Hill Villa Resort, Montego Bay, pt.2

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Eating well at Round Hill

One of the highlights of the trip was planning our day around the different meal options.
It went something like this: before bed each night, Sis would fill out the printed breakfast order for the following morning, with our requests.

Murmuring to herself, “Ackee (a tropical fruit) and Saltfish with Fried Dumplings? Delish. Calaloo with Seasonal Greens? Yup, we loved those. Hey, want to try the coconut pancakes tomorrow or do you prefer the yummy banana ones again?”

I’d respond delicately, “How about a small batch of each?”

In the morning, a soft knock on our door coupled with the aroma of freshly ground Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and hot banana bread, signaled the beginning of another glorious day. After our eye-opener, we’d mosey out for a real breakfast beautifully arranged on the patio table, and engaged in a heated conversation about our dinner options.

Under debate were: Eat in and have one of the chefs cook for us, dress up a tad and try Chef Martin Maginley’s tasty creations at The Restaurant, or check the calendar to see if there was a Beach BBQ Party or a full-blown Jamaican Food and Reggae bash on the schedule.

Unique Rum-pairing Banquet:

Such lucky girls. One memorable evening, we were invited to join a VIP group of locals for an incredible Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum pairing dinner, where each course would be accompanied by a rum cocktail. The evening began with an amazing walk-around cocktail party showcasing the best local street food vendors. Colorful carts were set up on the terrace, where guests nibbled (or wolfed down) the various appetizers. Chef Kevin, proprietor of Pushcart Grill, enthusiastically ureged us to try his succulent jerk pork in a variety of international guises: in pizza, ravioli, on roti, even a spicy jerk pork tempura.

After an hour of tasty treats it was time to get serious, wipe off the road dust and head indoors for the main event. Although I’ve been to many a wine pairing dinner, I was curious to see what masterminds, Chef Martin and the equally imaginative Director of Food and Beverage, Bill Moore ( a talented chef in his own right) would create using a variety of Appleton’s premium aged rums (in production since 1749.)

All I can say is read it and weep (or book a flight now.)

Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum Menu:

Oxtail Consomme served with a slightly sweet orange biscotti kicked-wine-to-the-curb when paired with Green Tea and Pimento Martini.

Oven Roasted Ocean Grouper with seasoned Bammy Chips over local greens rocked when coupled with a spectacular fig-infused Appleton Estate Reserve Rum cocktail gilded with shaved aged Parmesan.

Next up, an Orange Zest Rubbed Pork Loin with Cane Molasses and Angostura joined effortlessly with Masterblender, fresh Ortanique orange juice and bitters.

The pièce de résistance was a dramatic rendition of Molten Chocolate Cake ladled with a flaming rum sauce and served with a glass of silken 21 Year Old Appleton. This rare, elegant libation was comparable to sipping a fine cognac.

Combining incomparable views, stellar service, exquisite food paired with outstanding rums, M & M (Maginley and Moore) managed to orchestrate an evening I’ll never forget.

Visionary Executive Chef

Round Hill’s Executive Chef, Martin Maginley, has a clear eye focused on the future of Caribbean cuisine. Named “Chef of the Caribbean” two years running, and the recipient of rave reviews for his recent guest stint at Manhattan’s James Beard House, Chef Martin is a gentle bear of a fellow, who tirelessly promotes L.C.C.C : Light, Clean, Caribbean Cuisine.

This talented, enthusiastic, young chef is passionate about taking “fresh, local ingredients to a higher level.” During his jerk cooking demonstration (where he passed on a great recipe for making “Liquid Sunshine” which was simply to infuse a bottle of vodka with a sliced Scotch Bonnet pepper and store in the freezer) he shared his philosophy which is to simply “refine the roots a little.” Chef Martin, who clearly thrives on minimal sleep, is also busy working on a cookbook as well as a line of gourmet products beginning with “Fingerling Greens by Chef Martin”.

The resort’s motto “Grow what you eat and eat what you grow” is clearly supported by their burgeoning organic garden which supplies much of the restaurant’s needs. Chef Martin and his engaging staff kick it up a notch further by ensuring that this healthier way of eating is also mighty tasty.

During our stay Sis and I both noticed we felt completely refreshed and full of vitality. Maybe there’s something to that green coconut juice after all.

Posted by Janice Nieder on December 04, 2009 in Travel

Comments (1)

  1. Helena
    Helena says:

    I’m down. I’m gonna ask my four bridesmaids to make my Bachlorette party happen there.
    We just have a long week-end, but it sounds close enough to New York and New Jersey
    to make if A-OK. Thanks for an “inspiring” story.

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