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Shoreside Review

Brisani's: From Breakfast to Bedtime

After hobbling on my crutches across Prospect Reef Resort's gravel parking lot, I entered the dining room of Brisani’s at the Reef, and a smile lit upon my lips. I felt lighter, like the way Wendy must’ve felt when she stepped off the nursery window ledge in Peter Pan. I hadn’t been close to the sea since I'd left the BVI for the holidays two weeks before, but that changed when I sat down at a table beside the blue waters of Prospect Reef. I was happy to be lunching outside, away from PG's chilly, air-conditioned office that conjured the winter weather I’d left behind. Even though I'd never been to Brisani's, my arrival felt like a homecoming. It's for those moments that I moved to the BVI.

 

After ordering our drinks, my colleague Owen and I sat at the glass-topped, wrought iron table, and I observed all the Caribbean and contemporary components that had synthesized to make my first impression so dramatic—terra cotta tile floors, stone trim, synthetic rattan barstools, a mirror-tiled bar with a hardwood countertop, carved accent pieces, potted plants and fresh-cut flowers, orange and yellow painted beams, high ceilings and the open-air atmosphere. All that before I had even tried the food.

Brisani’s menu is extensive. The choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner are almost overwhelming. Breakfast options include omelettes, waffles, pancakes, English breakfast, Eggs Benedict and more. I daydreamed about suggesting a breakfast meeting for one of my next assignments but then concentrated on the lunch menu. Lunch selections range from pizzas, paninis, rotis, salads and burgers to full-on entrees such as fresh fish, ribs, chicken and pasta. Since we'd both overindulged a bit during the holidays, Owen and I each ordered a salad. While waiting for our food, I perused the dinner menu where I was pleased to discover inventive combinations I have not seen on any other menu in the BVI—salmon with leek and fennel fondue, grilled swordfish atop parsnip and cassava mash, pan-roasted duck breast with saffron truffle polenta and beef tenderloin with coquillette pasta. I learned that Brisani’s chefs, Jerome Vanterpool and Jamaicie Myers, learned their craft while heading some of the finest kitchens in the Caribbean, including resorts in the BVI, Anguilla, St Kitts, St John and Jamaica.

When our salads arrived, Owen and I were certain we’d made the right choice. His warm fisherman’s salad consisted of fresh fish, lobster, scallops, shrimp and cherry tomatoes tossed with spinach and red chili peppers and a garlic white wine dressing. The spiciness pleased Owen who noted that not many places mix red peppers and seafood. Hmmm…maybe not where he’s from, but I can’t imagine shrimp, crabs or crayfish without cayenne. My house salad consisted of lettuce, roasted beets, bell peppers, red onions, cucumbers and tomatoes accompanied by encrusted goat cheese and tossed in a sweet vinaigrette. In his book Freakin’ Fabulous, Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear opines that salads should never require a knife, and I agree. I prefer a chopped salad with bite-sized morsels. Both of the salads that we ordered at Brisani’s would have passed Clinton's test. Owen and I enjoyed the fresh flavours in every bite.

 

I will return to Brisani’s, not just to sample the vast breakfast and dinner menus but also to try some of their homemade juices—pineapple ginger, pumpkin punch and fresh lemonade, which we were told can also be made into refreshing cocktails. Considering that the restaurant is only a short walk from our offices in Road Reef Plaza, and the fact that the bar area, with stools overlooking the water, can accommodate a comfortable crowd, I’m sure we’ll be trying many of Brisani’s fresh libations.  

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