Last weekend I had the most heavenly lunch in downtown Nassau! Eschewing the cruise ship crowds at the more touristy restaurants by the water, we opted for the Halcyon. My husband had eaten there before and knew that the building would appeal to my love of historic architectural charm. You could tell that the old home was quite something in its day and it was apparent that the current owner is working hard to bring that grandeur back to life inside those old walls.
At first glance I fell in love with the place with its old world terraces and balconies. It was tempting to choose a table outside, but my temperament that day took us inside where we were greeted warmly by the bartender and Stafford, our waiter. The dining room is simple, but cozy, and the walls are adorned with gorgeous paintings by local artists (for sale to those with big wallets!). There are plenty of tables without being crowded and a dining room and lounge on the second floor is available as well. The music from the bar was lively but the sound was just perfect to be able to enjoy it while still having a conversation with your dinner partner (a fact that informs most of our dining decisions more and more these days).
But the real highlight was, of course, the food. The everyday menu is short, but sweet, and my husband recommends the Alfredo pasta. But this time we chose to order off menu, and go with the specials listed off for us by Stafford. I chose the snapper with pineapple salsa, rice and coleslaw, while my significant other chose the beef ribs with mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies.
My husband also ordered the mac and cheese topped with pulled pork as an appetizer. My thought? Have fun with that. I hate mac and cheese – even your mom’s “gourmet” mac and cheese. So I put it out of my mind and went on one of my photo expeditions around the restaurant. When I got back my husband insisted I try it and I grudgingly agreed. After the first bite, I found myself braving burns from the container to shovel as much of it as I could onto my plate. OMG! I have never tasted such divine mac and cheese in my life. I’m planning to return just for beer and mac and cheese sometime in the near future.
Then our main dishes arrived… My snapper was expertly cooked with a little bit of kick from the spices coating the filet and all melded nicely with the pineapple salsa on top. The coleslaw was a nice cool and creamy accompaniment to the slightly spicy fish. Still on a rather spiritual high from my mac and cheese experience I dug in to my dish, focusing on each and every bite as mindfully as I could – my concentration broken only by my husband’s prompting to try his braised beef ribs. And those did not disappoint either! Everything was amazing from the ribs to the sides. At the end of the meal, we agreed that our meal was one of the few we’ve had in recent years that was well worth every penny.
And of course the care, kindness, and professionalism of our waiter, Stafford, added to our enjoyment of the afternoon, ensuring that the Halcyon is now on our list of restaurants to return to and to recommend to all our friends and colleagues. So please if you live in Nassau, or visit from abroad – choose the Halcyon for lunch or dinner!
The Halcyon is located on Charlotte Street – not too many steps from the main drag of East Bay Street. Look for Blanc de Noel (the seaside clothing store for skinny Europeans – you can’t miss it. Every item of clothing is sheer and white), and head up the hill towards the Halcyon instead of down towards the water to the Hard Rock!
“Halcyon is a ‘stage’ where Bahamian life plays out; a stage where art, food and music will ultimately merge to create the ideal environment, a ‘home away from home’ according to Bradley Watson Jr, operator of the newest entrant to Nassau’s food and dining scene.”
For your convenience, and for further information here is Halcyon’s Facebook Page.
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