Abacus in Camana Bay: Indulge your palate

It was a light and breezy Thursday evening when my friends Carol Rouse, Lynne Firth and I headed to Abacus for a much needed dinner. To be honest, it had been a lousy week of trying to get my passport back from the UK where it had been delayed for weeks, so I was really looking forward to a night out with the gals.

Abacus is located in the heart of Camana Bay, with a large patio offering a great view of passerby and live entertainment on certain days. It also boasts a nice long bar, and air-conditioned seating for those hot or rainy summer nights.

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The moment we got there, we headed straight for the bar where we took a corner for pre-dinner drinks. One of my favorite tipples at Abacus has always been the Abacus Bellini, with fresh peach purée and bubbles. We ordered one each, and the celebration of an evening together began.

Before we even moved to a table, we decided to share one of the newest items on the menu – an Artisinal Board with assorted cheeses, cured meats, melon, candied pecans, Kalamata olives, chicken liver pâté and fresh, sliced bread. This can be ordered in two different sizes, depending on how many want a taste. Naturally we opted for the “Grande” platter.

Everything on the board was excellent. From the olives to the Gorgonzola and that fantastic pâté. Even if you’re not staying for an entire meal, I can highly recommend it for a group of friends just getting together for wine and nibbles after work.
 

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As we were indeed staying for the whole shebang, we moved to a table where we were presented with menus and the server’s recommendations of some new dishes that perhaps we hadn’t tried before. I confess that my go-to at Abacus is the sea bass. I always order it because I can never resist. Maybe it was time for me to expand my horizons a bit.

We got the ceviche, octopus and pork belly to start. No one was allowed to keep their own plate to themselves, so there were forks flying across the table in search of samples. The octopus dish, with tomatoes, cannellini beans, chorizo and herbs was earthy and warming; the ceviche was a generous portion of fresh fish accompanied by avocado, mango, key lime and cilantro; and the flavor of the pork belly was just divine. If you’re a fan of crisp pork skin, you have to order this appetizer.

Beyond the delicious food and great conversation, we had a visit from none other than Markus “The Maestro” Mueri, co-owner of Abacus and entertainer extraordinaire.  A chat with Markus is always interesting and exhilarating – I recommend it as much as the cuisine.

We sipped our wine and drank in the atmosphere as our entrees arrived. Carol had the seafood risotto, Lynne got the snapper and I had settled on the prime rib.

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I don’t know where Abacus got that cut of meat, but it was so tender, I could cut it with a butter knife. Accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes, asparagus and hollandaise sauce, I was in love.
Carol’s seafood risotto was also a big hit. With shrimp, lobster, octopus and PEI mussels in the mix, we were all getting our spoonfuls in.

Lynne’s blackened red snapper came with a heavenly sweet potato mash, beans, carrots and a passionfruit vinaigrette. The fish was excellent, but the sweet potato was a revelation to those of us who are not usually keen on this particular carb. It really was delicious.

Honestly, all of these dishes are worth ordering. One of the nice things about Abacus’ menu is that you’ll find a wide range of options to suit all tastes.

For dessert, we managed to make room. After all, we didn’t wish to appear rude, ahem. There was sticky toffee cake up for grabs, along with a cinnamon-dusted banana spring roll. The latter came with vanilla ice cream, seasonal berries, caramel and Swiss chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. Absolutely no calories or fat whatsoever.

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It had been a fantastic evening, and it was with reluctance that we pulled our chairs away from the table. Speaking of chairs, Carol has a bad back, yet found her seat at Abacus really comfortable. The last I heard, she was trying to convice Markus to sell a few of them to her…

We really enjoyed our dinner. You should go.
 

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Abacus is located in Camana Bay. For reservations or information, call 623-8282, email abacuscayman@candw.ky, or visit the Facebook page for Abacus Cayman Islands.

 

 

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