Bonaire Culinair Dining Event begins today!
Those on Bonaire over the next two weeks will get to enjoy a special (and much-needed diversion) dining event called Bonaire Culinair when many of the island’s most popular restaurants offer a special three-course meal for only $33.00 per person.
Bonaire Culinair at Oscar Lighthouse.
This past weekend, I had a hankering to head out and enjoy a nice meal out, since Bonaire’s restaurants had just reopened after soft lockdown. Although there are still precautionary measures in place, my dining companion and I headed to Oscar Lighthouse, where we were welcomed by hostess Sophia and server Jonathan.
Many visitors are not yet acquainted with Oscar Lighthouse, as it just opened in late December 2019, and was only open for a few months before Bonaire needed to close its borders. Since that time, the new restaurant stayed open whenever allowed, and Bonaire’s residents have enjoyed its new cuisine.
Enjoy an authentic Caribbean Cocktail, highlighting Bonaire’s famous Cadushy.
We decided to begin our dining experience with a toast to another day in paradise that came to a close. As we watched the dusk sky darken into a deep cobalt blue, we sipped our Caribbean Cocktails, a delightful mix of Bonaire’s Cadushy, Curacao Liqueur, Malibu Rum, dark rum, and a splash of pineapple, served with mint and lemon.
Chef Brandt then arrived tableside to inform us that he was putting the final touches on the restaurant’s Bonaire Culinair three-course meal, and, if we wished, we could taste-test it while getting a sneak peek at Oscar Lighthouse’s menu. We jumped at the opportunity!
Then fresh (still warm) home-made focaccia bread appeared with a trio of dipping sauces: Basil Pesto (from the chef’s own garden), Paprika Pesto (Sweet Bell Pepper), and Garlic Mayonnaise.
The Bonaire Culinair three-course menu at Oscar Lighthouse.
The adventure began with the daily complimentary l’amuse, a light “bite” intended to whet the appetite. On the evening we visited, we enjoyed artfully decorated home-made bitterballen.
We then placed our orders for the Bonaire Culinair menu. Since two options are available for all three courses, we decided to get one of each, and then share, so both of us could taste all the offerings. However, that plan did elicit some later “discussions” when plates were simply too good to share!
The appetizer course.
The “sharing” discussions began immediately upon the first plates being placed in front of us. A Japanese-inspired Salmon Tataki had melt-in-your-mouth sesame-crusted salmon served with fresh locally sourced vegetables.
A fun take on Mexican Chicken Mole with cherries was next. Chef Brandt appeared tableside again to dust the plate with some pure dark chocolate, ensuring just the right flavors.
Although neither of us initially wanted to give up half of our starters, in the end, we were glad we did, as both options were quite delicious!
The main course.
Kabritu Stoba, or goat stew, is always a Bonairean favorite. Most locals insist that you cannot make it properly unless you learn at your mother’s knee. Well, Chef Brandt’s interpretation of the popular goat stew received epic ovations as we both ooohed and ahhed over the light coconut flavoring of the boneless goat meat, served with pickled vegetables and rice.
The catch-of-the-day was Red Snapper with mango chutney, served over mashed potatoes, with a Cadushy-white-wine sauce in a tiny pitcher so you could add as much as you wish. A locally sourced sweet bell pepper with a Beef Wellington filling was served on the side and the bite-sized bits of fried funchi (cornmeal) were a treat. Fries were added to the already laden plate.
After the very substantial portions already enjoyed, we came to the dessert course. Those who prefer something lighter can enjoy three scoops of various ice creams.
However, for those with a bit more room saved for dessert, partake in the Bastogne Cheesecake, served with jello of Cadushy, orange, honey, crispy bits, and ice cream.
About Oscar Lighthouse.
The restaurant’s three-course menu for Bonaire Culinair is $33.00 per person and includes the daily l’amuse, fresh home-made bread, a starter course, the main course, and a dessert course.
Oscar Lighthouse is located at the Harbour Village Marina. Chef Brandt is the mastermind behind the offerings, and he might just be the next rising star in the Bonaire fine-dining constellation. If you haven’t already enjoyed their hospitality, do put it on your next trip’s to-do list.
Oscar Lighthouse is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
Bulevar Gobernador 67
About Bonaire Culinair.
Bonaire Culinair is a 15-day culinary event that takes place around the island, beginning today and continuing through November 19th. This November’s dining event is the first of what will be semi-annual celebrations of Bonaire’s best dining, showcasing the island’s culinary wealth.
During this time, 20 of Bonaire’s most popular restaurants will create various menus highlighting their own diversity; all menus are only $33.00 per person.
Learn more at the event’s website or on their Facebook page. Remember that restaurants are still operating at 50% capacity and must close by 10:00 PM. Make your reservations in advance to avoid disappointment.
Note Update November 6th: As of November 6th, 2020, restaurants and other catering establishments may remain open until midnight.
(Source: Bonaire Insider Reporter)