Golden Spoons Review: Karoo

| 09/05/2016 | 17 Comments

CNS Business(CNS Foodie): When it comes to brunch in Cayman, Karoo might not be the first place you think of. And in a place where brunch ranks high in the top 3 things to do on a Sunday, you might be looking for somewhere fancy, with a grand buffet laced with carved watermelons and petite pastries.  If so, then head elsewhere.  But if you’re looking for a casual place to have an all you can eat Sunday BBQ lunch, then Karoo fits the bill.  Brunch technically stands for breakfast + lunch, right?  Well this brunch should maybe just be called lunch, because there aren’t any breakfast items, unless you count the rolls.

For CI$25, it’s one of the cheapest options out there – sans bubbles of course. But it simply would not be brunch without the bubbles, so add bottomless sparkling for another $20 and you’re in business. Kids 12 and under are half price.

One thing I really like about this brunch is the atmosphere. I like Camana Bay. It’s open, clean, breezy and quiet. Of course, if the weather is bad, it’s probably not so great since most of the seating is outdoors and cover is minimal.

Another cool thing is that this is a BBQ brunch, so there’s a real barrel BBQ outside, flaring and smoking away to cook up some hot and fresh food.

The standard brunch menu includes local fish, ribs, burgers, sausage, hot dogs, chicken, a roast, a curry, salad bar and dessert — not bad for a casual lunch. Our menu that day included jerk pork, jerk chicken, a prime rib roast and a ham, in addition to the other mainstays.

The chicken was a little dry but the ribs and roast were succulent and delicious. We also tried the burger, which was again, simple but everything a burger should be, a juicy savoury patty with fresh condiments on a soft bun.

I didn’t try the jerk pork but others said is was pretty good. The coconut chicken curry was very good and the salad bar was simple, offering various prepared salads like potato, quinoa, seafood and mixed fruit, alongside peeled shrimp and crab claws.

These were ok, but the best item of the day was by far the mac and cheese.  It was killer. I mean, really fantastic — al dente pasta, in a creamy, cheesy sauce, not too heavy, not too runny, which, of course, is the perfect accompaniment to BBQ. Dessert selections were simple: an orange cheesecake and a layered strawberry cream cake but you could also order off the regular menu or an à la carte pizza special.

In lieu of bubbles, I decided to try out the cocktail menu. First up was a “beachy keen”, which is grey goose, passion fruit, mint, cranberry and soda. It’s a little on the sweet side for me but still tasty and peppy.

available are four beers on tap, including Guinness and Stella, plus another 15 by bottle, including some specialties like Magic Hat and Blue Moon, and the Caybrew crew.

The wine selection is also fairly comprehensive. My apéritif, on recommendation from our server, was the black cherry citrus cocktail. I never would have ordered this on my own but since she said it was her favorite, I went for it. Again, it was a bit on the sweet side for me, but still flavorful and refreshing.

Speaking of our server, she was awesome. Karoo is not one of those places known for service. Several times I’ve sat down waiting to be acknowledged for more than ten minutes, and I know many other people with the same story.  This girl worked our large party across two tables like we were her day off.  Granted, we were getting our own food, but she really knew how to make sure we had what we needed, kept us chatting and our glasses filled.  She also did not bat an eye when we asked for separate checks and kept a perfect tally of everyone’s varying orders. For once, we were happy to tip over the auto-grat.

Overall, the Karoo Sunday BBQ is nice alternative to the traditional, fancy pants brunch – which I also love – but sometimes you just want to go for lunch and hang out without worrying about if you’re eating and drinking enough to justify the price.

So even though there aren’t any breakfast options, and the bubbles are sparkling, not brut, the experience of relaxing around trees, water and breeze with good food and friends makes Sunday in Cayman just as it should be.

Karoo website

Readers’ rating of Karoo:

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

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think many people care what the food is like at Karoo. Its a drinking spot. Why not work your way through the restaurants first.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Karoo gets very low marks from me all around. Service is usually pretty bad, drinks and food are overpriced (even for Cayman, IMO), and I don’t understand why people give Camana Bay such high marks for ambience. I mean, Camana Bay is OK, but why on Earth would anyone come to the Caribbean to spend happy hour sitting around in a glorified strip mall when the world’s best beach is a few hundred yards away? It drives me nuts.

    As for the Sunday BBQ, it’s not that bad for what it is, but when you only have to spend a few bucks more to get a much better spread in a nicer location with loud drunk twenty-something expats it doesn’t make sense to hit up Karoo. If they did this on a weeknight I might be down for that.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Karoo does not offer brunch. That is a lunch buffet. Call it what it is. The service is absolutely horrible. Not on a one off but consistently all the time. The servers are rude and this place should not be classified on the same level as anything else that has been reviewed. This place is known for being a bar and on Sunday’s just happens to actually have some food to go with your over priced drinks.

    What I don’t understand is why this review was so forgiving when the others were extraordinarily harsh. It appears there is a personal bias which has nothing to do with the actual establishment.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Rubbish brunch.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oohh mmmyyy goooodnness people!!! We all have so much to complain about, for crying out loud– at least we have options, money to spend, friends to hang out with, homes to go to afterwards & a job to make our social lives possible! If you think $25 is too expensive for an all you can eat brunch than I assume you are better off never going out to eat in Cayman… ever! I bet if you’re in a group of people you’re the asshole who splits your portion of the bill to the exact penny instead of just splitting it equally amongst everyone for the sheer “experience” of dining out… Get a grip!

  6. Rootin tootin says:

    Cns. I like this new segment, it’s good and well written. Please though – and its a small thing, link directly to the review from the homepage… Don’t make me click one link, take me to Cns business, make me scroll to the article and click again. Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Karoo is an employee run restaurant like Calico Jacks, Rackham’s, Bacadere, Paradise Bar & Grill etc……. good food, crappie service.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sorry but I couldn’t help but think that you already had your mind made up before you even went there. Reading this compared to your other reviews, it seems that you were much much harder and more critical of the other establishments you reviewed.

    It baffles me that you would give them that high of a rating when you admit in your opening statement that his really wasn’t a “brunch”.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe each has been done with different people. The verbiage and attitude of each one is slightly different.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Brunch here just sucks!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The service is always terrible and the prices are not worth it.

    However if the service would improve, the prices are worth it.

    I’m not paying a premium for crappy service.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “Brunch menus are an open invitation to the cost-conscious chef, a dumping ground for the odd bits left over from Friday and Saturday nights.” – Anthony Bourdain

    • Just Sayin' says:

      Unimportant, assuming the chick with the short skirt and bottle of bubbly comes around frequently enough.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You got lucky with your server, for the price you are paying at Karoo the service normally sucks. The girls are too busy inside chatting to each other or messing around, they don’t seem to care much at all. And when they do come they don’t seem friendly at all, such a shame because it is a nice place.

  13. Anonymous says:

    When it comes to brunch in Cayman, what comes to mind is why would anyone want to spend the day eating heated buffet food with loud drunk twenty-something expats? Brunch is what is offered in restaurants that do not offer a dignified Sunday lunchtime option.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I have repeatedly eaten at Karoo great food, great ambiance, great food…but the service has always been lacking.

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