If you’re eating in Nassau, it’s odds-on that you’ve arrived on a cruise ship. There were three in port, including ours, disgorging around 6000 tourists into the town. Few of them were having lunch at Bahamian Cookin’. It’s tucked away in a side street away from tourists who seem to stick to the area immediately around Bay Street – step away a couple of streets and you’re in a different town. So, there’s only us and one other table occupied for lunch, although it is on an organised “food tour” route and was visited by two of their groups while we were there.
OK, we didn’t have great expectations of the place, in spite of its name. Well, in a country of less than 400,000 people, you don’t really expect a specific different cuisine. But, if that’s what’s what, then we’re up for trying it. And, as far as the internet could tell me, this was the most likely place for, erm Bahamian cooking.
Conch (pronounced conk) is the big thing here – much as it seems to be in Southern Florida. It’s a first for us and, not sure if we’ll like it, decide to order two different starters. Fried conch is prepared much as squid often is – a light batter and quickly cooked. It has the slightly rubbery texture of squid, but not the flavour. The other plate was, apparently, the common order – conch fritters. Here the conch is processed into a dumpling mix which is then deep fried. Frankly, it’s greasy and tasteless and not improved much by a “prawn cocktail sauce” dip.
For main courses, there’s a lobster salad. Finely diced lobster, mixed with tomato, cucumber and mayo. It sits on lettuce and slices of cucumber and is OK in the way that this sort of plate is always going to be OK, but it’s nowt special. Steamed mutton doesn’t sound at all appetising nd it was in the hope of it being better than it sounded that it was ordered. Thankfully it was. A long cooked casserole of mutton, on the bone, with tomato, peppers and onion. A simple dish but one well put together. It comes with peas and rice and your choice of two sides. I took the server’s advice and order plantain (which worked well) and a “mac & cheese” (which didn’t).
This is certainly somewhere to come if you’re in Nassau from a cruise and it’ll be a more interesting lunch than the Burger King near the port building, but it won’t be the gastro experience of your life or, even, of that month.