Monday, February 22, 2010

Jacala, A New Boy on Meads Bay, Anguilla

Meads Bay, the fantastic beach near the west end of Anguilla, has a new restaurant, one to add to the list of ‘must visits’ when on the island. Jacala. You’ll find it at the eastern end of the beach (not far from Blanchards and Malliouhana), set in an open-sided dining room giving right onto the sand.

The restaurant may be new (it opened in mid January), but the two men behind it - Jacques Borderon and Alain Laurent - have extreme ‘form’ on Anguilla. You may recognize their names from Malliouhana, where they worked for 25 years. The name of the restaurant comes from their working partnership, too. Jacala is a melding of Jacques and Alain.

They call their cuisine ‘intuitive’, an intellectual mouthful that might seem to have too much French philosophy behind it. But, put simply, they will work with the ingredients – a good slab of local fish or lobster or beef - do the work, rather than smothering them with rich sauces. Intentionally simple then, but also French at base of course, so you know that what you get will be extremely well put together.

Jacala, which is decorated almost entirely white, with just a few splashes of colour in some cushions, is less formal than you will have come to expect of Jacques and Alain to date. Jacques now wears an open-necked collarless shirt and an easy manner, though he still runs a tight ship of course. They have quite a short menu (relatively), which they will test run over the coming months - and a short wine list (mostly French, but with some concessions to the States. It has already been getting a good rap. Their clientele is as much residents as it is visitors (a good sign as people living in Anguilla really are spoilt for choice).

Also new for the season at Blanchards is a prix-fixe menu, a three course meal with three or more choices at each course, for US$45, which has helped a few regulars through the recession. And they have also brought in some less expensive wines for this winter. Otherwise all still going strong on Meads Bay.

Have a look at our Definitive Caribbean Guide to Anguilla for more information about bars, restaurants and, well anything really...

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