Orient Beach Recipes

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Orient Beach

Sign There are many reasons to visit Orient Beach, but it is Club Orient, the nudist resort, that brings out the socks and sandals set for a daily tour of the southeastern end of the beach. I'll confess that my first visit to Orient in 1993 was for this same reason, but as a steady diet of rum punch and piña coladas is lacking in certain essential vitamins and minerals, it becomes necessary to seek sustenance. Back then, there were a few choices, including dining au naturel at Club Orient.

Just two years earlier Kontiki Restaurant had opened a bit north Club Orient, just down the hill from Plantation Hotel, owners of the property. Coco followed by the end of the year at the far north and Bikini Beach, Waikiki, and Kakao Beach opened in early 1992 between these two. These restaurants call themselves the Five Stars of Orient, although La Playa, located amongst these five on grounds owned by Le Hoste Hotel, is just as nice. Newcomer Palm Beach Restaurant (photo below), even further north, is certainly the newest, and possibly the brightest star. They all have full kitchens turning out food that rivals the better restaurants on the island. Most have an oriental section on the menu, with either Thai or sushi available at almost all. These establishments generally have beach chairs and umbrellas, boutiques, snack bars, spas, and massage therapists. Some even have small swimming pools and second story dining with better views that include the neighboring islands of Pinel, Green Cay, and Tintamarre.

I've been told that Pedro's existed in a rather rudimentary format in the early days and by high season in 94/95 there were several simpler establishments filling the space between Kontiki and Club Orient.

September of 1995 brought Hurricane Luis and Hurricane Luis brought many changes to Orient Beach as it approached the island from the east. Most of these smaller restaurants were severely damaged and the lush plantings around the larger establishments were gone with the wind. The palm tree at Pirate Beach Bar, one of our favorites, was the only one that survived in this area, although it has succumbed in recent years. Indeed, the Pirate closed in the summer of 2009 and to be replaced by ZEN Cafe Concept which has been replaced yet again by 2011. Pirate's conch salad is gone, Zen Cafe's mussels and crepes are gone, but someone always tries again on Orient Beach. At this time, all the small establishments have been rebuilt and this section of the beach is a solid mass of beach chairs, boutiques, and restaurants. One of the better newcomers is Paradise View Restaurant. It's not on the beach, but on Hope Hill overlooking the beach. In the middle of this, Andy and Cheryl have recreated the Jersey shore experience at Baywatch, only to have recreated Baywatch a bit further south as Andy and Cheryl's.
Paradise View Restaurant
Koko and Marina from Palm Beach

Another notable establishment is Boo Boo Jam, so far to the north that there is a separate road leading to it. The Beauperthuy family runs the show and after Luis, they were the only place on Orient Beach that could get their generator working. They decided to cook everything they had before it spoiled and sell it all at a very low price. D.J. Ruby played some music and the turnout was fantastic. People suggested they keep doing this and today, Sunday at Boo Boo Jam is one of the biggest parties on the island.

Recently there has been a building boom on the land between Plantation Hotel and the beach bar/restaurants. For the most part, it has been residential, but Orient Village has become a lively square surrounded by restaurants and shops that really come alive after dark.

Orient and Green Key
Boatload of sushi We have chosen four recipes from four of our favorite restaurants in the area to make up an eclectic dinner. We started at Tai Chi in Orient Village. We went over on a Friday night, when the square is filled with vendors and a band, choosing a table just inside the door close to the music. Our appetizer was shrimp dumpling soup featuring shrimp dumplings in a tasty broth and moved on to a boatload of sushi. Really. The sushi arrives in a small wooden boat. We got the recipe for the shrimp dumpling soup and offer it to you as a rather easy approach to bring some new flavors to your table.


Shrimp Dumpling Soup

Goat Cheese salad We asked Sylvain Pereira at Select Wine Cellar for wine recommendations and they are at the end of each of the recipies. Some of the smaller establishments between Kontiki and Club Orient are upgrading their menus, moving beyond the usual hamburgers, ribs, and chicken done on a grill. There is no doubt that these add up to a great lunch but there are more interesting things out there. Orange Fever opened in 2009 to good reviews and given that two of the owners came from fine French restaurants, it's no surprise that there are some interesting items on the specials board. Kokomarina, however, arrived earlier and as Marina is the daughter of Zuzu and Alain previous owners of California Restaurant in Grand Case, she brought along many of our favorite dishes from there. She and husband Koko (hence the name Kokomarina) run the front of the house delivering some very interesting salads. The Sky salad substitutes chicken for tuna in the classic Salad Niçoise and while the goat cheese and honey salad may not have the Weight Watchers seal of approval, they both go rather nicely with chilled rosé. The bad news is that Koko and Marina have sold the restaurant. The good news is that the chef (Marina's cousin) bought the restaurant and while the name has changed to Aloha, the food should remain just as good. We offer up his recipe for the goat cheese salad which should be fairly easy to prepare here on the island or back home. More good news is that Koko and Marina are the ones who have rebuilt and reopened the derelict restaurant between Coco and Boo Boo Jam, now called Palm Beach Restaurant.

The Five Stars (plus La Playa and Palm Beach) are represented here by Kakao Beach, located just north of Kontiki. Long, lingering lunches are a Sunday tradition on the island, especially at beachfront restaurants. Many of the patrons are restaurant owners or staff having a great time on their day off. If you are going to join in, either arrive early (before 1 PM) or make a reservation.

Kakao has been run by Hervé and Doumé for as long as we have been on the island. The wait staff is also fairly constant and even the menu is laminated. It does mean that prices don't change and if you liked something one year, it will be there again on your next visit. Frequent visitors appreciate the specials on the chalk board. We've had mixed grills that were fantastic and fish so fresh you'll slap it. The crowning glory was a Beef Wellington. One story has it that this dish was a favorite of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, the very gentleman who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Though there is not much basis for this claim, it does make it a rather strange dish for a French restaurant on a beach in the Caribbean.

Beef Wellington
Nevertheless, with the addition of a fine red wine, our lunch was yet another great meal at Kakao. Their recipe is not too difficult and could be the centerpiece for a fabulous dinner party back home.

View from Rancho

Our final course comes from Rancho del Sol, high above Orient beach with glorious views of Pinel, Green Cay, Tintamarre, and St Barts. We frequently have a pizza and some salad here, but one day Johann offered a coconut flan for dessert. Flan is pretty good, but the addition of shredded coconut adds a new taste and texture. When it's topped with local fruits, it's a wonderful ending to a meal and not too hard to make at home. Admittedly, it will be difficult to get tropical fruit back home, but peaches and berries are a suitable substitute.

For some of the best meals you'll ever have in your bathing suit (or not), you can't beat Orient Beach. Some of smaller places between Club Orient and Kontiki are certainly inexpensive and a few are priced in dollars. The larger places in the middle of the beach offer fine food and a lot more. All places have beachfront chairs and umbrellas. You can hardly go wrong here and it is regularly voted one of the prettiest beaches in the world.


Recipes Restaurants
Shrimp Dumpling Soup Tai Chi
Goat Cheese Salad Palm Beach Restaurant
Beef Wellington Kakao Beach
Coconut Flan Rancho del Sol

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