For years, thousands of residents of New Providence’s eastern district piled into cars and trucks to trek west as more and more restaurants opened miles away from the oldest established residential district in New Providence.
That’s about to change.
During the first quarter of this year, two experienced restaurateurs are opening Billfish Grill at Palm Cay, bringing a convenient feast in the east to the area’s close-to-home, dine out-deprived populations.
For chef Lise Watson-Russell and Peter Rounce, of Graycliff Bahamas, Billfish Grill is an opportunity to do what they both label as novel – create a casual dining experience with exceptional food inside a residential community known for its active social calendar, lifestyle and marina.
“We are creating a restaurant inside a residential enclave with a large (194-slip) marina. It’s a far cry from designing a restaurant that caters to corporate clients, business lunches or dinner meetings,” says Mr. Rounce.
“This has to be family-oriented, light-hearted and casual, a place with a lot of familiar faces, but the food has to stand out. Overall, our vision is to deliver a high-end out island experience for guests without their ever leaving the island.”
Mrs. Russell and Mr. Rounce agree all the elements are in place.
Taking a break to talk about their vision, menu and plans this week as construction crews behind them worked to complete the makeover of Palm Cay’s three-story clubhouse into a full-fledged restaurant, they started with location.
Both are excited about being the creators of the first new high-end restaurant east of the Paradise Island Bridge in recent history and what they believe to be the first ever on the southeast coast.
They are not worried about going where gourmet never dared to go before. They have a vision inspired by the near-perfect setting – endless waterfront views.
With a degree in Hospitality, Mr. Rounce’s specialties are finance and marketing. He points to the 280 degree view – 1,200 feet of white, soft sandy beach on one side, the swimming pool and kiddy pool straight ahead, the long pier and Atlantic Ocean beyond. Off to the other side, the marina, harbourmaster’s office and eventually cottages and more.
For Mrs. Watson-Russell, who earned her Culinary Arts degree from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and gained her reputation at Goodfellow Farms before opening Chives at the New Providence Community Centre on Blake Road, it’s all about the food.
“It really comes down to the freshness and healthiness of ingredients, the blending of flavours and the presentation, but of all three components, it’s the freshness that creates the finest taste,” she says.
While a beachfront bistro and café to be called Chives Dockside at Palm Cay will satisfy the quick grab and go appetite for a light breakfast and coffee or salads and sandwiches for residents driving kids to school or boaters heading out for the day, the more upscale Billfish Grill will feature a menu that ranges from freshly caught fish cooked to order to thick rib eye steaks, from a new twist on pulled pork prepared in a wood-fired grill that’s great for pizza, too, to a variety of conch and crawfish dishes in season.
The restaurant will seat 126 between inside dining and al fresco (outdoor eating) on several patios.
Billfish Grill is expected to open in the first quarter of 2014.