Im pleased that I am finally able to write about the most celebrated fine dining restaurant in Anguilla, a place I hold close to my heart with the nostalgia of my childhood and the growth of my pallate. Veya is an effortlessly elegant restaurant with powerful food and diligent staff. It is a place that upholds the value of experience through food by giving its eager customers an experience enraptured by culinary excellence.
The drive into Veya takes you down to Sandy Ground, and into a jungle of bushes that dead ends at a quiet and romantic oasis. You wouldn’t be surprised to hear live music and and smell the sweet rush of fresh Johnny cakes and local ingredients floating out of the kitchen to the dining room floor. I could and most certainly have spent all night here at this unforgettable restaurant.
The first floor of Veya offers drinks and tapas and is appropriately called “Meze”, it is a fun moroccan decor with dishes that span from local saltfish and marinated sea grapes to mastered Eastern dishes such as tzatziki, hummus, baba ghanoush and fresh pita. For a night out in Anguilla with a lavash start, Meze is the only place that will provide your pre-outing food and drink buzz.
Upstairs you’ll find that the dim lighting and outside seating is an atmosphere set for some serious dining. Local, local, local. For a small island, the owners of Veya do the best job of tracking down local ingredients for their menu, and trust me when I say it sets them apart from other restaurants on the island. The chef’s craft comes into play right away as they seat you with a fresh basket of zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, and fresh Johnny cakes. For all that have dined here and all that have yet to, this basket is a wake up call to pay close attention to what’s coming next.
Because it is one of the best starters, the compliments of the chef is traditionally a conk fritter served over a lime and chili aioli, and it’s tender, crunchy and moist. Naturally, the appetizer to follow is the shrimp cigars with roasted tomato charmoula and spicy apricot sauce. The layers of filo dough around the seasoned shrimp gives it a smooth and robust flavor.
My personal favorite entree is the butter poached lobster with spinach risotto and crispy parsnips. The lobster is grilled and then bathed in butter for several hours before it is served with cheesy risotto and thin crunchy parsnips. This dish is layered in flavors from the grill to the butter and sharp cheese.
For a bigger meal, the jerk rubbed tuna steak is ideal. I am never to keen on purely sweet dishes; however, the coffee glaze, caramelized pineapple, and crispy plantains bring out the spices in the jerk rub and the heartiness of the tuna filet. In my mind, this is considered the filet mignon of island living.
Key lime pie served in a jar could never be so tart and creamy and the the crispy baked crust on top sunk down into every bite. Sharing this with the table is the perfect way to end the night.
•Johnny Cake• Conk Fritter• Lobster Risotto• Jerk Tuna Steak• Key Lime Pie•