When you think of a true Caribbean dining experience, what comes to mind? To me, it's not a fancy night out in an AC-controlled environment and $50 plates but rather, no shoes, an ocean breeze, awesome company and some pretty amazing dishes. Grand Cayman is the culinary capital of the Caribbean, after all. Luna Del Mar at Kaibo, Grand Cayman is a delightful 3-course sharing feast that takes place under the full moon and stars with your toes in the sand, relaxing music and sky lanterns. It's a fun and interactive evening that occurs every Friday nearest the full moon on this beautiful island that I am lucky to call home.
One of my favorite ways to dine is tapas- or sharing-style. Why? Because they're non-committal and you get to try a bit of everything without regrets. If you know me at all, I am one of the most indecisive diners. I look at menus long before I actually go out to eat (doesn't matter how far in advance the reservation is made, I have seen the menu), narrow down my choices and arrive knowing what I am going to order. The problem is that once I sit down, I make the mistake of looking at the menu all over again and inevitably question all of my choices.
Luna Del Mar is the perfect type of event for someone like me. You don't have to make any decisions other than which cocktails you want to try! Dining is always an experience for me, but it's made better when a trusted chef can create and execute a menu that covers all of my bases. A little bit o' everything – that's my style.
If you've followed any type of Cayman Islands social media, you're bound to have seen the hashtag #WorthGoingFurtherFor. That's Kaibo's coined phrase and it speaks true to how we island dwellers feel about our beloved North side restaurant! Located right down the street from Rum Point beach in the Cayman Kai neighborhood, the restaurant is one of few options up on the north portion of the island, making it a popular spot for residents and visitors venturing to the “countryside.” However, it's not popular purely for lack of options in that neck of the woods. Islanders make regular trips for the sole purpose of eating at Kaibo prior to or following a nice lounge at starfish point or a swim with the stingrays. It's a quintessential element of an islander's weekend.
If you aren't staying on the North side, Kaibo is a bit more of a ride, especially for an evening event. However, they've got the most accommodating option for you: the Camana Bay ferries. The ferries will you take you to and from Kaibo, and when I say to and from, I mean they will literally drop you off at the Kaibo docks, just steps away from the restaurant! The convenience is so hard to contend with that even if you didn't mind the hour drive to and from the restaurant, you'd more than likely prefer the boat ride which takes half the time (and frankly, is part of the experience).
Last year, the restaurant got a bit (a huge bit) of a face lift with the arrival of new General Manager Kevin Gratton and Head Chef Jamie Guy, both hailing from the U.K., and both with the goal of breathing new life into this island favorite. The duo has paid the restaurant a lot of TLC in recent months, with major renovations to the restaurant's interior and kitchen as well as a new and improved menu. Seriously, the design alone is enough to make me want to spend more time there (take a peak at their promo video below)!
But the menu and design upgrades aren't the only things that are different. Though Luna Del Mar has been a regular event held at Kaibo since 2007, they have since enhanced the experience to create more of an interactive and enjoyable evening for their guests. The sharing menu isn't just a way to let you try a variety of dishes but also a strategy employed to design a more relaxed atmosphere. There's something about sitting at a family-style meal that gets you talking and engaging with your neighbors even more, don't you think? Just chat and be fed!
Escape to Kaibo for a day everybody will remember. #paradise #worthgoingfurtherfor . . #kaibo #caymanislands #grandcayman #rumpoint #kaibobeach #cayman #caymanlife #caymankind #brightsideofcayman . . #escapetrip #escape #slowliving #relax #livesimply #goodforthesoul #relaxing #livelovelaugh #beautifullife #pause #sittingatthedockofthebay . . . @vagabondmediagroup
I have been on island for close to four years and regret to say that this was my first time attending Luna Del Mar. My guest and I arrived by boat which honestly is a total must at least once in your time here if you are staying in the Seven Mile Beach area. We left the Camana Bay docks at 6PM sharp and arrived just in time for our 6:30PM ocean-side reservation. We enjoyed a smooth ride and the wind in our hair which was super refreshing in the summer months.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the always pleasant staff who escorted us to our table beneath the palm trees, overlooking the water and surrounded by tiki torches. With a fire burning and twinkle lights lighting up the palm trees, I could tell that this was going to be a memorable evening. Kaibo has a really nice homey feel to it. It's the kind of place that you can dress super casually downstairs (I'm talking no shoes, a bikini top and salt-ridden hair), or dress up in business/cocktail-casual for a dining experience at Kaibo Upstairs. It's the best of both worlds. However, this night was a more comfortably elegant affair.
After being seated we enjoyed some of the night's cocktail specials while reading the menu: myself, a Hibiscus Fizz which is a refreshing combination of Hendricks gin, hibiscus syrup, lemon and Prosecco, and Mary, a Strawberry Smash, which consisted of Tito's vodka, smashed strawberry, lemon and thyme. When I saw the menu I was so psyched! Nine different dishes in one evening. Nine dishes! You mean, I get to try everything?! This was the perfect moment for my obsessive foodie genes to live in their glory.
Luna Del Mar 11th Anniversary Menu
Burrata with roasted red peppers, pumpkin seed pesto and toasted ciabatta
Globe artichoke, zuccini and pea salad with lemon dressing
Tuna tartare and breadfruit tostada with avocado and lime
Roast strip loin of Angus beef, smoked eggplant and roast tomato
Cumin and honey roast pumpkin with tahini yoghurt and arugula
Grilled red snapper with a quinoa, chick pea and green onion salad
Dark chocolate mousse with raspberries and almond dukkah
Salted caramel fondue with cinnamon sugared doughnuts
Bowls of pineapple, mango and watermelon
Each course was presented in family style dishes that were truly generous portions for two people. But listen, we were there to eat, and eat we did!
In between courses we laughed, shared stories, met some wonderful travelers dining at the tables around us and simply enjoyed the night and atmosphere.
What I loved most about this menu and experience was that it was so different from the normal Kaibo cuisine. The typical menu is great, of course, otherwise it wouldn't be such a popular spot! However, Chef Guy truly took it to the next level with the Luna Del Mar menu, proving that Kaibo is capable of so much more than your standard beach fare. You could tell that a lot of thought and love was put into each dish, both in the flavors and the presentation. It's truly hard to pick a favorite dish, but if I absolutely had to, I would say that the burrata with roasted red peppers, pumpkin seed pesto and toasted ciabatta was my number one appetizer, and the roast strip loin of Angus beef, smoked eggplant and roast tomato for the entree.
What about dessert?
Salted caramel fondue with cinnamon sugared doughnuts WITHOUT QUESTION.
OK, full disclosure… Imma get excessive here but rightly so. Guys, I don't even know if I can put into words how I felt about those doughnuts. I took one bite and barely got through my first chew before my eyes rolled to the back of my head and my mouth filled without half a gallon of drool. WHAT IN THE WORLD, CHEF GUY?! These doughnuts… THESE DOUGHNUTS… were life. You see, doughnuts are a total hit or miss for me. They're usually either too much or too little, too dense, too sweet, too bland, too something. You get the idea. The texture of these bad boys – expert: crispy on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside. Sugared in the most perfect way and coupled with a mouthwatering caramel fondue that was almost enough to make me consider leaving my husband for a decadent pastry. If these were part of every course, I wouldn't be mad. My only complaint is that I had to share them with Mary. My only question is if these can be added to the regular menu and if deliveries can be made to my house…?
Light Up The Sky
Once all of the food has been served and the bellies have been filled, it's time to light up the sky. One of the most exciting and anticipated parts of Luna Del Mar is the lighting of the Chinese lanterns. This is both a romantic and sweet experience, regardless of who you choose to do it with. Lighting and releasing sky lanterns is symbolic of hope and wishes for a bright future, typical of celebratory events and weddings.
I was lucky enough to experience this event with my good friend, Mary (founder of Evrything She Loves), who has made such a positive impact on my life in recent months, so it was only appropriate that we sent one off together. Lots of love and hope went up with that lantern!
Whether you are visiting Grand Cayman on vacation or are a resident of the island, Luna Del Mar at Kaibo is not an event to be missed. It is truly a unique dining experience unlike any other that I have attended here which is hard to do, honestly, considering the number of options we have to choose from! The next event takes place on Friday, July 27th!
Thank you so much to General Manager Kevin Gratton, Head Chef Jamie Guy and the rest of the Kaibo staff for having us! We had such a wonderful time.
Reservations are essential. Water Taxi with Cayman Ferries departs Camana Bay dock 6pm sharp. Reserve early to avoid disappointment. Indicate if you prefer dinner only or the full package. Also indicate if you require a low table with cushions or a regular table with chairs.
Dinner – 3 courses, nine sharing dishes –$55
Luna Del Mar Package – water taxi and 3 course sharing feast – $75
15% Gratuities will be added to all food and beverage.
Luna Del Mar is every Friday nearest the Full Moon. 6pm until late.
- July 27th 2018
- August 24th 2018
- September 21st 2018
- October 26th 2018
- November 23rd 2018
- December 21st 2018 (Christmas party)
This was a sponsored post but as always, opinions are 100% my own.