Golden Spoons Review: Grand Old House

| 10/04/2016 | 29 Comments

CNS Business(CNS Foodie): Before I get going on the review for Grand Old House, I have a confession to make. I’ve neglected even considering GOH as a dinner option for years. After looking at their dinner menu online, I remember thinking how boring and mundane it was. Here we are three years later, and my partner and I decided to give it a go. We were pleasantly surprised at how amazing the food was.

The options for appetizers and mains were vast and creative, so much so, it took quite some time to decide on what to have. We started with the Parma Ham wrapped Diver Scallops ($14) and the Tuna Nikkey Timbale appetizer special ($14). Both starters were fabulous! The crispy tempura and quinoa mixed within the tuna was a nice touch, and the thinly sliced cucumber on the bottom was a great addition. The Parma ham was actually crisp and the baked apple and citrus sauces added the perfect balance to the dish.

Since we started with seafood, we both opted for the land main courses. The C.A.B. Tenderloin was served with a truffle potato croquet, grilled asparagus and root vegetables. Aside from it being just slightly over cooked (I asked for medium rare), it was very tasty, and for CI$39, the portion was generous enough to leave me a lunch for the next day.

We also tried the Pork Belly, served with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted root vegetables. If there was one thing to take away from both dishes, I think it was the root vegetables. Call me crazy, but I don’t like it when main courses come out with the same sides. Granted, it’s not nearly as cheeky as Calypso Grill, but we both had the root veggies (carrots, beets and a grilled mushroom) as part of our sides. I feel this takes away from the uniqueness of their dishes, almost like it’s an afterthought or “just toss a few more veggies on their plates”.

Overall, their plating was nice (more so for the appetizers than the mains) and the flavors were well balanced. GOH has a pretty extensive wine list, but it’s not overbearing and the staff is very accommodating if you have questions. We ended up with a decent Italian red blend for $40, which went perfectly with our meal.  Our server, Alex, was very attentive but not over the top. He had great knowledge of the menu, was professional, courteous and was very helpful in the wine decision process.

Of course, we were pretty stuffed at this point, but still had half the bottle of wine left and needed some chocolate to go with that — Chocolate Dome please! A very decadent, chocolate mousse, loaded with Grenache and pecans. It was delicious, but we ran out of the raspberry puree sauce that was gently decorated on the plate. I think if they had a bit more of that or maybe another strawberry or something fruity, it would have been perfect.

I don’t ever like admitting I was wrong but tonight’s experience at GOH has turned me into a fan. We will be back before three more years; that is certain. There are only a few things I found to be quite cheesy: the fact that GOH is plastered on everything — every dish says it, the wine glasses, even the shot glasses! We all know where we’re dining; we don’t need to be reminded of it with every sip we take or course we get. I know, it’s been around since 1908. That’s a long time and a huge accomplishment, but do you really need to have GOH carved on your wine glasses too?

And the lighting. I’m one of those “light Nazi” people, always turning off lights, dimming lights, changing the lights. Lighting places a huge factor on ambience and should not be overlooked. This deck is absolutely massive, and it has tons of lamp-post style lights around the perimeter as well as around the tented area of the outside deck. The lights are too bright along the water’s edge, which takes away from the atmosphere. The lights underneath the tent are those awful energy-efficient surgical style white lights. Change those to the soft white, or better yet, turn them almost completely off if the tented area isn’t being used.

Our GOH experience was delightful, with the exception of the bright lights. Reasonably priced and great service. Thank you GOH. We will be back!

Grand Old House website

Readers’ rating for Grand Old House:

Category: Golden Spoons Review, Good Food. Bad Food.

Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry but at these prices when you include comments that the sides are not matched to the mains and they overcook a tenderloin (even if ‘just slightly’.. you pay this amount in a ‘high end’ restaurant for it to be cooked exactly right every time) and you give it 5 spoons for value for money you are simply making this whole review thing look dumb!

  2. Ed says:

    The total bill for two would be helpful information. Is a gratuity discretionary or, if it is mandatory, what is the rate asked?

    CNS: These are good questions. I’ll see if I can find out for this and future reviews.

    • Anonymous says:

      The total bill would also help the restaurant figure out who the reviewers are and it would definitely identify any staff members mentioned. Not so sure about that.

  3. Marvin Von Boddenkirk says:

    “I’m one of those “light Nazi” people,”

    Keep eating out, and you’ll be a heavy Nazi before long. I had no idea the Third Reich was sensitive to interior decor, and was even less certain that fascism deserved humorous mention in a restaurant review.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just wondering, and it’s not meant to be an attack on the reviewer, but could we know something of your background that makes you a worthy food expert please?
    Are you from the trade or an enthusiastic amateur?

    CNS: We are deliberately not providing any details of the reviewers’ backgrounds or anything about their personal life because we would like them to remain anonymous for as long as possible so that they are treated just like all the other customers at the restaurants they go to. Eventually, I suspect, they will be rumbled, which they are all prepared for.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the reviewers were from the trade they would be known to the restaurants they eat at because that’s how the industry is. Moreover, it’s obvious from the vocabulary used that the reviewers are not only not from the trade, but have nothing in the way of culinary experience – professional or otherwise – to make them worthy of the privilege of having their opinions on dining establishments published. CNS missed a big opportunity here to select their reviewers from amongst the group of passionate amateur cooks, producers, competition winners and others who have the knowledge to write more detailed, and more interesting, reviews and who could easily move around the restaurant scene with no secret identity suspected.

      As any chef will tell you, ideas are great, but the result is all in the ingredients and the execution. Here CNS has got both wrong and it’s a real shame. I would be happy to volunteer my services, but, alas, I have not been asked. Perhaps I will send a review of my own to show CNS the difference and see if that gets me – and CNS – anywhere.

      CNS: Can you email me ?

  5. Priest says:

    “…the fact that GOH is plastered on everything — every dish says it, the wine glasses, even the shot glasses! We all know where we’re dining; we don’t need to be reminded of it with every sip we take or course we get. I know, it’s been around since 1908. That’s a long time and a huge accomplishment, but do you really need to have GOH carved on your wine glasses too?”

    This is so you won’t steal them! GOH will however sell them to you when stock is available. They have the beautiful wine glasses, I tried ‘walking’ out with one once, once. Dale sent me a bill. ?

  6. Anonymous says:

    GOB reasonably priced you say? Are you kidding me.

    • Anonymous says:

      It isn’t if you are cheap. But if you are cheap you probably lack the palate or sophistication needed to appreciate the place anyway. Wendy’s might be your gig.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not true I have a very sophisticated palate… restaurants in Cayman are so over priced. The food is average. Nothing fabulous you are paying for the view.

  7. roger Davies says:

    Grand Old House used to be famous for it’s delicious banana daiquiris using fresh bananas.Shame on management as you can’t get them now – the reason? – the bar does not have a blender!!.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have found their servers to be rude over the years. I remember about ten years ago I went to dinner with a person of different ethnicity from me and the server asked him what I would be having instead of asking me. It’s like she did not want to look at me. Well he put her in her place, he said ” she can talk- why don’t you ask her. That was so funny. I watched her just stand there and wilted.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well if Grand Old House gets 2 Spoons, just wondering if Burger King might gets 3

    • Anonymous says:

      they didn’t give it two spoons in any category… lowest rating was 3 for ambience.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This makes Golden Spoons “2 for 2” in that I have agreed with both of their reviews thus far. Their observations seem to be dead-on.

    GOH is a great dining experience. I wouldn’t say that it is the best high-end food on the island, but the location combined with the levels of service and the menu make it a very special place to have dinner. It’s always high on my list.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Pictures would have been nice. Not a bad first review at all. I am trying to figure out “crispy tempura with quinoa and tuna”. That does not sound like a combination that would work. Also the baked apple & citrus sauces? Are they sure they got that right?, otherwise not a bad start for a couple of amateurs. I have not been to GOH in quite some time but I do recall that it is one of the better restaurants on Island. Well done.

    • Anonymous says:

      The dish description said tempura crisps, not crispy tempura. This reviewer must have had all the wine the previous one didn’t and doesn’t appreciate the difference between the two. You are right to be confused. I would not want my tempura mixed with tuna and quinoa. Heaven forbid that it be ‘mixed within’ the tuna. To write about food you have to know about food, not just enjoy eating it and have a thesaurus.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The inside room at Grand Old House is a pleasant place for lunch.

    The giant event area that when not in use doubles as the outdoor seating area is really not very special.

  13. Anonymous says:

    My recent visit and review on Tripadvisor tells a different story. I experienced the worst service ever:

    1. Rude and arrogant bar staff – serving people they know first ignoring others who had been standing longer
    2. Indifferent table service bordering on rudeness – a rush for the servers to get home if you sit down for dinner later in the evening’s service?

    Whilst the food is always good here, the hefty price tag should guarantee better service. The waiter who served us brought our check to us (at 10pm on the dot) before we had finished eating our entrees and gave us no option for further drinks or dessert. He also stood over us until we each had paid (following one of our party to the bar as he had left his card behind there for drinks earlier).

    Having eaten at this restaurant numerous and each time service was poor, this experience from 4 April 16 really took the biscuit and certainly will not be returning. There are many more restaurants on this island that treat their guests with respect and courtesy. This is not one of them.

  14. Gordon Ramsay says:

    I don’t think this is going to work, CNS. If you want to make it relevant to the average person, find a couple of middle-income Caymanians who understand restaurantese to do the surveys. Definitely do not use Americans.

    GOH is vastly overpriced, serves small portions of food combinations which simply do not go together, and the staff are less than interested.
    The only thing the place has going for it is the outside deck and proximity to the water, but The Wharf has a similar arrangement, is cheaper, serves better food and the staff are good.

    • Jotnar says:

      The Wharf serves better food? Perhaps you should offer your highly attuned palate to CNS so we can get the benefit of your clearly unique palette or culinary preferences.

    • Just Driftwood says:

      Americans don’t say cheeky like that, generally, so I think you’ve missed the mark there. I know you did in reference to the Wharf having better food. I’m not a fan of the service at GOH, and I’d rather hang out at The Wharf, but come on…the food at GOH is miles better.

    • Think of all possibilities says:

      The Wharf has been a consistent disappointment…. I can’t believe you think it’s better.

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not really care what Mr Average thinks. Mr Average wants large portions. Mr Average wants non-challenging food. Mr Average likes it too sweet.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Did the server introduce themselves, given the last review this seems to be a make it or break it part of the review and here it isn’t even mentioned.

  16. Anonymous says:

    “The crispy tempura and quinoa mixed within the tuna was a nice touch, and the thinly sliced cucumber on the bottom was a great addition. The Parma ham was actually crisp and the baked apple and citrus sauces added the perfect balance to the dish.”

    ‘Nice touch’ and ‘great addition’ are not valid ways to describe the roles played by components of a dish. What did they actually do for the dish? I cannot even imagine what those dishes looked like on your plates much less how they tasted from your description.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a friggin poncy snob you and some of these other precious commentators are on here, 9:42. The sort that roll the wine in the glass, “breathe it in” and rabbit on about it having a slight soupcon of blackberries and elderberries blushed with a delicate dash of citrus from the old sherry casks they have been lovingly rested in blah blah. And half (or more) of you couldn’t differentiate a high quality wine from a cheap one. You’re sickening. There is nothing wrong in having an ordinary paying customer say what their views on a restaurant are without forcing them to declare which School of Snobbery and Phoniness they went to.

  17. Anonymous says:

    More claptrap. This is not a restaurant review. This is one person’s reflection on a meal. Changed my mind, I’m not going to read these.

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