In our last post we went behind the scenes with Chef Michael of the Rainforest Hideaway on how to prepare Lionfish – an invasive species that conveniently tastes delicious! So in this post, we’re going to share our “experience” review of the Rainforest Hideaway, since coming here is about so much more than just the food.
The restaurant is located on the north side of Marigot Bay, so unless you’re staying at our Vacation Club Villas on the north side, you’ll have to take the ferry across to get there.
But the ferry really adds to the charm of the whole experience. Here we are on the south side docks watching the boat meander its way across to us, intermittently blocking out the sunset through the palms of the Marigot Bay beach.
After practicing some patience, the ferry arrives. It’s clearly labeled with the Rainforest Hideaway lizard logo across its sign.
Ready? Let’s go!
As you move across the bay, you’ll notice a stout building and dock tucked into the mangroves with the characteristic glowing lizard sign.
Someone will always be there to greet you and give you a hand exiting the ferry.
Right away, and even on our third time here, there is a sense of awe at the magic and beauty of the place. They did a great job of integrating the restaurant into the natural surroundings. The mangroves and other natural growth come up between the docks and walkways, so it always feels like you’re walking through a little romantic jungle path even when you’re just walking to the bathroom.
There is a little cocktail lounge on the main dock that overlooks the bay, which is where we suggest you head to first before later making your way over to the dining area.
I mean, how can anyone not want to come sit here for a few drinks after a long day in the Caribbean sun?!
Most people would be content enough to just sit there and take it all in, but add a couple delicious cocktails to that experience and you’re really in some sort of Caribbean dream.
Like this freshly made mango mojito – now my “usual” whenever I go to the Rainforest Hideaway.
With the bay views in front, good drinks in our hands, and the sparkling lights in the mangroves behind us, it’s not just romantic, but wondrous.
Most travelers to St. Lucia come for romance, since after all St. Lucia has been hailed one of the top 10 Honeymoon Destinations multiple times, so a restaurant like this is really a must.
Another really cool feature is in between the two docks just in front of the cocktail lounge, there are underwater lights that create a mystical eerie glow from the depths, but also attract a lot of fish!
So on top of everything we just mentioned, imagine being on your third or fourth cocktail and watching these giant tarpon and other tropical fish, swimming up and periodically blocking out the light.
But speaking of entertainment, just every other night of the week they feature a different type of live music entertainment. While we were there, which if I remember correctly was a Thursday, they were featuring a live performance by this guitar player and singer.
It was a beautiful background to a beautiful evening, and her singing was soft and melodic and very different from anything I’d heard before.
It’s at this point, when the sun has completely set that makes it a nice time to head over to the dining room.
The tables are lit with oil lanterns, so you’ll need to position your menus to catch the light so you can actually read it! But the dimness is essential, because it let’s you enjoy all the twinkling lights and reflections coming from all across the bay.
Their menu features a fusion of local Lucian cuisine with modern twists, mainly local ingredients but also some fine imported products (like steak). In fact, the Rainforest Hideaway is one of only two restaurants in St. Lucia to have been named one of the Top Ten Restaurants in all of the Caribbean! It’s also won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence the past 6 years in a row. That’s all pretty amazing.
Hmm… choices, choices.
To start, I had the Chicken Samosas, with homemade goat ricotta, parma ham & chicken, christophine gratin (a local vegetable), and tomato coconut sauce.
How’s that for a Caribbean fusion?
My partner had the Lump Crab Cake & Scallops, with banana chutney.
They were both impeccable dishes.
The most painful part is waiting to take photos before we can eat them though! It’s a good thing we do though, because admittedly it doesn’t take long for things to disappear.
Then it was time for the main course. What’s really cool about their menu is that you have a choice of two side dishes with your main course, which gives you the ability to put together an entrée exactly as you wish.
After giving preparing Lionfish myself in the kitchen just a couple days earlier, I of course had to try the finished product.
So here I have the Coconut-Crusted Lionfish, with my two sides being the sweet potato salad and vegetable roti.
The Lionfish flesh works perfectly for a coconut crust. It’s a soft, tender, white fish that flakes apart like cod. The battered coconut adds the perfect amount of saltiness and crunch to make it absolutely delicious. The sides were delicious as well, my favorite being – if I had to choose – the vegetable roti.
My partner had the Jerk Chicken Breast with the potato gratin and mixed market greens as sides.
The chicken was juicy, tender, and with just the right amount of kick. Sides were delicious, but he surprisingly devoured the mixed greens first…
We were surprisingly full after the main course. The plates are presented so elegantly and “fine dining” style that your eyes want to believe it’s not enough – but trust us, it is. My partner is not a dainty eater and even he was needing a little break before dessert!
During which, we couldn’t help but notice some of the other couples and little families dining around us. They seemed to be enjoying the experience just as much as we were.
But, dessert is my favorite course, so the “break” didn’t last that long.
We decided to split a dessert of Red Velvet Chocolate Tart & Ice Cream.
Mmmm. Beautiful presentation delights the eyes almost as much as the taste buds!
That about concluded our meal – or rather, experience as it truly is, at the Rainforest Hideaway. We already can’t wait to come back, for every time we do, we’re as memorized as the first time.
And as we take the ferry back in the dark, the lights and the shimmering reflections cast one last memorable farewell.
At least they’ll have my mango mojito waiting for me next time I pop by.
-Lauren, Oasis Team