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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Barbados: Beaches, Bajan Fishcakes and BLISS....

I was first introduced to Barbados in 2007 by great friends who own an apartment there. I've since returned three further times as it simply captures your heart and I now can't imagine a year or two going by without a trip there! When December arrives and the Daily Mail Showbiz site is covered with celebrities donning revealing Melissa Odabash swimwear on Sandy Lane beach, I can't help but be totally consumed with jealousy!

I have only ever stayed on the West coast in a lovely little village called Speightstown, but from what I've seen of the island, it's pretty much the place to be! Barbados itself isn't huge, only 166 square miles, which makes it perfect for exploring. A car is a necessity and All Inclusive is definitely NOT - you need to get out and about, see the island and visit as many of the incredible restaurants the island has to offer!

First things first, the basics...

* The locals are known as Bajans and will totally make you feel welcome. Always happy to help and very friendly, some would say too friendly (!) but it's their nature to chat, flirt and be inquisitive; I find this endearing and all part of the Barbados charm. 

* Currency - Bajan dollars and US dollars can be used.

* Local beer - Banks, you can't beat a Banks beer on the jetty at sunset. 

* Good car hire company - we always use Stouts and have never been disappointed!

* Best time to visit is between December to May, you should then be pretty safe in terms of hurricane season.

Our perfect Barbados holidays mainly consist of sleep, sunbathing, food, drink, relaxing and laughing! You can definitely go there and do much more, but my 3BM whistle-stop tour will be totally based around those 6 necessities!!


Crane - cited as one of the top 10 beaches in the world, we all love a spot of Crane, Bajan fishcakes and a few lunchtime glasses of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc! I won't go into detail on this one as Natalie has blogged on this one already, see all the details here!

Gibbes Beach - I would say one of my everyday favourites on the west coast - a long stretch of golden white sand, peaceful and quiet with only a few locals and villa renters to be seen. No toilets or food/drink amenities however that's perfect for us, a cool box packed to the brim with Pimm's supplies and snacks - done! Top fact - Michael Flatley's house is on this beach - we call it the yellow and green house (simply because that's the colour of the outside...!) and when he's there it looks like the perfect beach house EVER! Right on the beach, treadmill on the terrace along with a hot tub, huge sofa with millions of cushions and big balls that light up at night! 

Reeds Bay - a very similar beach to Gibbes, but minus Flatley! A beach that we have called 'The Deserted' for years as we didn't know the real name! You can often go and be the only ones there for a whole day...bliss! Top Tip...Only one tree for shade so bring your cream and don't stand under it when it rains as it's poisonous!

Mullins - trot on down here if you fancy a more 'people friendly' beach! Mullins  is just opposite Royal West Moorland's and has places to get food, drink and sun beds. The beach is not nearly as pretty as others but the people watching's good, the Mullin's restaurant does killer cocktails at all hours and you can even get a massage on your sunbed!

Paynes Bay - very similar to Mullins but on a much bigger scale - lots of restaurants, lots of people and if water sports are your thing head down here for some fun!

Others to try that are still on my to-do list....

Enterprise Beach
Accra Brach


One of my favourite categories of all time, especially in Barbados as firstly there are so many different places to try and more importantly, the food is second to none - I honestly have had the BEST meals of my life on holiday here! My top picks that absolutely must feature in your schedule are...

Groots - a cute Bajan shack on Trents road, you will recognise it by the white and turquoise painted wooden shutters and the 'feel happy' palm tree sign! This is by no means fancy food or surroundings, it has a kick back and relax atmosphere (to the point where you are offered a sharpie to scrawl a message on the walls of the shack, they are literally covered from floor to ceiling with pictures and notes) and get served up the best freshly caught Bajan fish and chips with divine minted peas, all topped off with a freezing cold Banks! It will set you back little more then £10 a person!

Fishpot - one of Michael Winner's favourites, this is a gorgeous little restaurant attached to a boutique hotel, Little Good Harbour. You will find it down a long, windy road glinting in the distance. It has an idyllic setting right on the water so you can hear the waves running up and down the beach as you eat! Dress up a bit more for this one, and if they're on the menu definitely opt for the scallops on crushed pea puree! Approx £40 pp.

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Mews - I am a great lover of Mews - they used to have a gorgeous courtyard with sweet wrought iron tables round the back of the restaurant which sadly has been roofed in now but the food is still amazing! Incredible International cuisine,  with a dimly lit cosy interior and on Friday nights there is live jazz. My favourite is the seared yellow fin tuna, cooked to perfection. Last year we even bumped into Coleen Rooney having cocktails with her friends....if it's good enough for Coleen...

The Cliff - every visit we have saved this one until the last night because it is simply AMAZING! The setting, the food and the service are all impeccable. We always dress up to the nines (no shorts, sportswear or flip flops) and have a pre-dinner glass of champagne on our balcony! Book your table in advance of your trip as you won't be able to walk in and get a reservation, we book a few months before to secure an ocean front table and it's well worth it! As you walk in you are lead down to the restaurant area set in a cliff (hence the name) overlooking the sea, the only light is the flares set along the edge of the restaurant and the candles on the tables and it's all open air (don't worry if it rains there is a very slick awning system and you are covered in a jiffy!) You pay a set amount (either BDS $285 for 3 courses or BDS $245 for 2 courses) and can then pick anything from the menu. Believe me, although pricey, it is well worth it and the whole evening is one you will always remember. 

My highlight dishes over the years have been scallops, beef carpaccio and beef tenderloin with a roquefort sauce WOW! The last 2 years, Paul the chef (and part owner) has come out and had a drink (or seven) with us, lots of fun but the flight home the next day, not so much!

Cariba - this is hidden just a little past the Cliff on the left hand side of the road. From the outside it's just a Bajan restaurant/shack, the interior is relaxed and comfy but the chef is ex-Sandy Lane, which means that the food is very special. You get the top culinary creations minus the ponce and 'try hards'! Glen and his wife run the restaurant which makes it all the more relaxed and enjoyable - you get a real sense of love and pride. My favourites have to be the prawn curry with a yum mango chutney and to top it all off....the banana spring rolls with homemade peanut butter ice cream - you have to try it to believe it!

Tides - this is another that we always leave until the end of the holiday because it is one of our favourites! It is not only set over the water so the waves can be heard at your table, but when the restaurant was built they didn't want to cut down several huge trees slap bang in the middle of their plot of land, so instead they built the restaurant around them - amazing! It is part art gallery, part restaurant so on the walk in you can look at lots of gorgeous paintings before the culinary works of art arrive! Dress up for this one, the interior and atmosphere is gorgeous. If you visit Tides you HAVE to get the lobster and mushroom risotto with white truffle oil and lobster bisque, it is by far the BEST starter I have ever tasted ever, ever, ever, EVER!!!

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Coral reef BBQ - this was a new entry from our last visit and it didn't disappoint. Head down to Coral Reef Hotel on a Thursday night and join the incredible Bajan BBQ. The restaurant is set right on the beach and is open air, lit by flickering candles and has that real 'I'm on holiday' feel to it. You pay a set amount and then can eat whatever you like. The starters come in the form of a buffet, but don't let that word scare you...It is a buffet like no other, platters piled high with huge king prawns, lobster and thick slices of amazing smoked salmon, bowls of fresh salads, rices and much more! Then for the main course...the BBQ! Go up, pick your raw meat and/or fish and see it BBQ'ed to perfection before your eyes, then stock up on sauces, salad and sides. I had an incredible steak with homemade Bearnaise sauce and a seafood kebab (salmon, king prawns, maui maui, tuna and scallop) DELISH! While we ate  someone was playing the bajan steel drums in the background and as the night went on the entertainment ramped up to fire eating and bajan dancers! 

Sandy lane - if you want to pretend you're famous for the night, head down to Sandy Lane and dine in one of their four restaurants. It's quite an experience! Just to see inside the celeb-famous hotel is exciting enough but the people watching is second to none! Rich families, bratty kids and the outfits!! We ate at Bajan Blue without realising it was a buffet night - ring before you book and they can inform you what's on each night. It was incredible and really tasty but for about double the price of Coral Reef and I'd actually rate Coral Reef over this one. Totally worth it though to see inside the world of Simon Cowell's favourite hotel in Barbados!

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Raggamuffins - there is no explaining this one - however I describe it I will just not do it justice! A restaurant with three transvestites who dress up in the best outfits, shoes, wigs and make-up and perform for you whilst you eat! The best bit, they don't just do this as a job, this is how they live their lives, one works at Tiffany's in Bridgetown as a woman! Safely the funnest night out in Barbados! 

Others you should try...

The Lone star


If you can fit any more food in then you obviously need to consider lunch! We don't have to worry much about this as our routine is...wake up, put our bikinis on, pack the cool box up with alcohol and lunch and off we go! However my number one lunchtime spot to hit up has to be...

The Roti shack - you can pretty much visit the majority of restaurants above for lunch - Lone Star is a fab one for this. However if you fancy opting for something a little more local why not go to the Roti Shack! Flat bread pancakes filled with chicken, potatoes, even goat if you like, in a delish bajan sauce! This will not disappoint but beware rotis make me very full and sleepy for the afternoon sun - suncream at the ready!


I won't pretend to be an expert on Barbados bars, firstly we go more for post-dinner cocktails in the restaurants that we're in as we're always so full and they're so amazing! And secondly most of the going out is on the East coast in St.Lawerence's Gap which I haven't visited too many times. But here are a few pointers...

Lexi's is practically next door to Raggamuffins and is a piano bar (and karaoke some nights apparently!). Laid back, chilled out fun...beware though it's not the  location for dresses and heels...flip flops for sure!

If you visit Raggamuffins / Lexi's / Mews on a Sunday then you will find a party takes places in the square of streets here. Everybody is out on the pavement with a Banks, having fun, singing, dancing and chatting! You definitely have to head down and pretend to be a local dancing well into the night!!

Oistins is a must when you visit Barbados. Every Friday over on the South Coast, you'll find the Oistins Fish Fry. It's a big square of food shacks, bars, a stage, dancing (older couple with traditional dancing and young locals break dancing) with yet again copious amounts of Banks drinking (a theme here!) The food is seriously good - esp Mo's for Tuna steak, salad, mac pie and homemade slaw, and the atmosphere is so much fun. Simply an easy night out where you get a real insight into Bajan life...keep your eyes peeled for Rihanna!

Colony Club Hotel pool bar does a great happy hour every evening between 5-7pm. Grab a table on the ocean front and drink your way through the half price cocktail list whilst watching an amazing Bajan Sunset!

As mentioned previously St Lawrence's gap is where all the young, rowdy nightlife is - lots of bars, clubs and late nights to be had. One widely mentioned is Harbour Lights - a club on the beach. I've never been but might be worth a try if the hype is to be believed.


Bridgetown is your daytime destination if you fancy a spot is shopping. The capital of Barbados (where the airport is located), Bridgetown is full to the brim with shops - from food markets, to stalls selling clothes, jewellery and even fake watches and sunglasses right up to the real deal with the likes of Tiffany's and Cartier!

So there's my Mini Round-up of the most magical, beautiful paradise you can visit...make sure you go to the West coast and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. There is so much more to tell you about, but the beauty of Barbados is exploring and finding all the hidden gems before everyone else finds out! However seeing as I've shared the majority of mine it would only be fair to trade me some Bajan secrets too, I await your tips and promise not to share (well only to our loyal blog readers of course.).......


  1. The best ever beach has to be Foul bay, a short distance away from Crane. No bars, often empty during the week.

    1. Sounds amazing - adding it to our must-try list! Thanks for the tip!

  2. Bathsheba is my favorite! It is an easy trip to do in 3 hours from Bridgetown. The east coast has a rugged beauty, a very interesting rock formation and is a very quiet peaceful location. A spectacular reminder of the silent power of the Atlantic. Highly recommend!