Asian-inspired dishes can be savored beachside at The Ocean Club (Fairmont Southampton, 101 South Shore Rd., tel. 441/238-8000, www.fairmont.com/southampton, dinner only 6–10 p.m. daily, high season only). Located in the Fairmont Beach Club (accessible by hotel trolley), the seasonal restaurant overlooks the hotel’s private beach and South Shore breakers, its patio a perfect alfresco venue. The menu features a tantalizing fusion, including hand-picked oysters ($34 for a dozen), bok choy ($28), crispy fried tofu and shiitake broth ($26), roasted chicken curry with roasted Japanese eggplant ($26), and South African lobster with beef tenderloin and chili oil ($59).
Henry VIII Pub & Restaurant (69 South Shore Rd., tel. 441/238-1977, henrys [at] ibl [dot] bm, www.henrys.bm, lunch noon–2:30 p.m., dinner 6–10 p.m., bar noon–1 a.m. daily) looks as if it might date back to Tudor times, though it’s been a Southampton roadside fixture only since 1970. Permeated with the aroma of prime rib and spilled draught beer, the low-ceilinged eatery is Bermuda’s best example of an English-style pub. A strong local following keeps the place lively even in the off-season, especially on Sunday nights when a raucous crowd enjoys dinner and live entertainment until 3 a.m. The kitsch plays to serious Anglophiles, but if you don’t delight in the sight of strolling minstrels in the dining room, the menu is heartily enjoyable. Highlights are the Bermuda rockfish ($29.50), rack of lamb ($32), steak and kidney pie ($23.50), and 14 different ales. There is a minimum food charge of $20 per person. Wednesdays through Sundays feature live entertainment after 9:45 p.m., including local calypso kings Stan Seymour and Duke Joel, and Canadian keyboardist Dave Bootle, who keeps the crowd lively with rock ’n’ roll favorites.
Right next door to Henry VIII Pub is Henry’s Pantry (69 South Shore Rd., tel. 441/238-1509, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat.), which sells cold drinks, chocolate bars, snacks, batteries, and a few deli items like chicken legs, hot pies, beef patties, fish chowder, and sandwiches.
Coconuts (The Reefs, 56 South Shore Rd., tel. 441/238-0222, www.thereefs.com, lunch noon–3 p.m. daily Apr.–Nov., dinner 7–10 p.m. daily May–Nov.) wins the hearts of alfresco diners and numerous awards for the island’s best lunch venue, most romantic restaurant, and best table with a view. Set on a tree-house-style covered deck below tumbling cliffs overlooking the surf, it has managed to be consistently competitive for more than a decade. Lunch offers light but creative dishes like corn-crusted calamari ($8.95), oak leaf and roasted pumpkin salad ($8.95), and burgers ($10.95), while a typical four-course dinner menu might include tortilla soup, sea bass, rack of lamb, or pan-fried wahoo, and tangerine crème brûlée ($64, plus 15 percent service charge). No matter how scrumptious the food, it will always be eclipsed by the spectacular thunder of the surf and the glittering turquoise reef line just a few feet away.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition