Where to eat on the Caribbean’s Emerald Isle
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
You haven’t been to Montserrat if you haven’t been to Ziggys. Just ask Britain’s Princess Anne and Hollywood star Danny Glover, two of the celebrities who have dined at this classic restaurant.
Constructed of little more than a cluster of white marquee tents under a wooden roof, and sparely decorated with candles, wooden statues and broad-leafed tropical plants, John and Marcia Punter’s eatery has a simple sophistication that belies the complexity of fare it has been serving for the past quarter century.
The English couple serves a classic British dinner menu that’s embellished with Caribbean touches, presenting pigeon in a red onion confit alongside red pea soup, and offering roast venison as a foil to butterflied island shrimp. Enjoy your meal at a candlelit table accompanied by a selection from the 200-bottle wine room (temperature controlled, of course) and it becomes immediately apparent why Ziggys is an island icon.
What isn’t immediately apparent, however, is who Ziggys (no apostrophe) is named for. “We chose Ziggys because it seemed like a catchy restaurant name to us!” says Marcia, her eyes crinkling with a smile. “There is no Ziggy but people call me that all the time – and I answer to it!”
Marcia tells me that when the couple was forced to move their home and restaurant from the volcano-ravaged capital of Plymouth to Woodlands, they bunked for months in a makeshift treehouse on the property. Now they’ve moved to permanent quarters and spend June through September, when business on the emerald island is slow, in the UK.
She tells me all this while placing in front of me the restaurant’s piece de resistance: caramelized ginger and honey ice cream made with organic honey from the island’s only hive. It’s heaven by the spoonful, the heat of local ginger root tempered by the exquisite sweetness of the honey, which forms a glossy golden pool in the bottom of the bowl. It’s the perfect finale to my first visit to this unique Caribbean outpost. And presents yet another reason to return.
Ziggys is open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner only, and reservations are required. 664-491-8282