Calypso Grill is known for its desserts such as the sticky toffee pudding.
Locale: Morgan’s Harbour, West Bay
The chef: Co-owner and executive chef George Fowler drives the kitchen at this Cayman Islands institution. Born and raised in Darlington, England, Fowler trained under many European chefs before moving to the Caribbean 27 years ago. Fowler island-hopped his way through several kitchens on seven different islands in the Caribbean, and spent a short stint in Russia, before moving to the Caymans and helping to create the Calypso Grill.
The story: Fowler, Teresa Grimes and James Mason opened the Calypso Grill 10 years ago when they bought an old, run-down bar on the harbor in West Bay and renovated it. In 2004, after Hurricane Ivan destroyed Calypso Grill, it was rebuilt to look exactly the same.
The scene: Dining seaside, you are immediately immersed in the island culture. French doors open to an outdoor deck with views of local fishing boats docked just beyond your table, inspiring a connection to your dish caught just hours before.
The food: Fowler’s Caribbean kitchen credentials helped him master the art of cooking fresh from the sea. His knowledge of the indigenous fish and the abundance of produce available from the surrounding islands have shaped his philosophy: “Keep it simple and don’t mess around with too many ingredients.” The menu’s mainstays, such as wahoo escoveitch, Calypso crab cakes and grilled gingered tuna, keep the natives happy (Ripert says the fresh catch of the day is his go-to item). But Fowler says that much to his dismay, “People here don’t like us to change the menu. I would love to try new things, but our diners are resistant.” One dish that will surely never change is the revered Sticky Toffee Pudding, which puts Ripert over the moon. The dessert is so famous that a nearby road is named after it.