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Shoreside Review

Charlies Resaurant Serves a Big Lunch at the Moorings  –  Why have I never lunched at Charlie’s before? I ask myself as I savour a bite of grilled Portobello mushroom topped with fresh spinach and shaved parmesan. They’ve been open since late last year, but I didn’t even know they served lunch. In fact, I thought they were a fancy, pretentious dinner spot. I was completely wrong.

The lunch menu at Charlie’s is vast, and I had a difficult time deciding between salads, pizzas, entrees, pastas and paninis. BVI Yacht Guide editor Owen Waters quickly chooses the duck salad ($16) before I even have time to read through all the selections. The vegetarian plate ($17) is the first thing to catch my eye, so I order that as we sip spring water and admire the boats docked at The Moorings in Wickham’s Cay II. Kim Mason, Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at The Moorings, joins us and orders an arugula de gambas salad ($16).

At neighbouring tables overlooking the water, the owners of a very popular BVI dinner spot sip large glasses of white wine, a family celebrates a birthday, a group of thirtysomethings sample colourful cocktails from the specialty drinks menu, and other patrons happily munch away. Though it is quite possibly the hottest day of the summer, and the pizza oven is blazing behind the bar, the breeze blows from all directions at this open-air restaurant, and no one looks the least bit warm. The sleek furnishings, light fixtures, cathedral ceilings, fans and flooring add to the cool factor, in both senses of the word.

Since we’ve now ordered, I have time to glance over the rest of the menu. My mouth waters as I read over the different pizza toppings—aubergines, goat cheese, carmelized onions, pineapple. Charlie’s also offers several meat and seafood pizzas and a four-cheese pie that makes me want to change my order. Especially when I see the chefs slide the pizza peel deep into the open fire.

Just as I’m about to try to sneak a slice from the table beside us, our friendly server sets our plates before us, and I’m impressed with the meal-sized salads that Kim and Owen ordered. My veggie plate is colourful and balanced. With tempura zucchini strips, grilled Portobello with spinach and cheese, and the melon/papaya salad, I unknowingly ordered an appetizer, entree and dessert all in one course. I polish off the fried zucchini before I even notice that they would’ve benefited from a sauce like mango chutney—something spicy and sweet. The Portobello tastes right off the barbeque. I can almost taste the flames. The crisp spinach leaves and shaved parmesan compose their own gourmet salad atop the mushroom, but the flavours and textures blend perfectly with each forkful I consume. After the mushroom, I spike the tines of my fork into the salad of mango and papaya, dressed in salt, white vinegar and fresh parsley. The vinegar adds a crisp bite to the sweet fruits. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every bit of my meal. My compliments to Chef Imran Ashton.

 

Owen loves the arugula in his salad, calling it “peppery.” The cranberry dressing compliment the duck, greens and orange slices, but it’s not overpowering. “Subtle,” he says. Kim’s salad comes topped with a swirl of six large, glazed prawns and a roasted bell pepper dressing.

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The fact that we don’t have time for tiramisu saddens me. Charlie’s also offers a lemon tart and a gelato trio for those with a sweet tooth. All that means, though, is that I’ll have to come back, and next time I must try the pizzas.

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