“IT makes you feel tiny, doesn’t it?”, I ask my sister as we walk through an enormous, open hallway, between stucco walls painted in pink – the perfect backdrop for eye-catching, memorable photographs that do justice to a trip to colourful Nassau’s The Cove, the high-end sister to iconic The Royal at Atlantis.
Ocean Suite, The Cove at Atlantis
Only a couple of hours ago we were sunbathing at The Cove Pool – the resort’s exclusive pool for adults designed by Lulu deKwiatkowski, who’s used mesmerizing deep blue hues that play off of the sand and ocean, to create a poolscape of hypnotizing orthogonal geometries. With a rum punch at hand from chef Julie Lightborne’s restaurant, Sip Sip, we look over to the tip of The Cove’s peninsula, and see Sacred Space, a sculptural installation by Bahamian artist Antonius Roberts composed of seven, female ‘dancing figures’ made of wood—an ode to the conservation, preservation and transformation of the 700 islands that make up The Bahamas – before it’s time for a facial treatment at award-winning Mandara Spa. I never understood what the big fuss about spas were, but Mandara’s made me a believer, I believe.
The hotel’s swimming pools The Cove, Atlantis
Now, it’s sunset, and we twist and turn with the pink hallway, promenading between columns, foliage, ponds and the last rays of sunlight, making our way from our ocean-view suite, from atop the nineteenth floor, to The Cove’s newest restaurant, Fish by José Andrés.
Fish assorts at The Cove’s restaurant, Atlantis
When a two-Michelin star chefs opens a restaurant on tropical island’s five-star resort you anticipate it being unlike anything you’ve seen before. Fish doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it blows you out of the water – or, actually, inside it.
As we open the doors into Fish, I feel like we’ve somehow found ourselves at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, in a non-literal way. The hostess, impeccably dressed, shows us to our table, and it’s there that, sitting on a deep aquamarine velvet chair quilted in hexagonal patterns, I look up: an enormous sculpture of a lion fish created from thin strips of wood floats above us, majestically.
Lion fish sculpture at The Cove, Atlantis
It’s 7:15 pm and the summer light is impeccable. To my right, the entire restaurant opens to the exterior through glass walls, though we only get a hint of the landscape through sexy silhouettes projected onto shades blocking the sunset’s rays, while, in the process, creating a milky glow inside the sepia, caramel-toned restaurant.
The exterior of The Cove, Atlantis
Fish chandelier at The Cove, Atlantis
Fish dish prepared by José Andrés at The Cove, Atlantis
In front of this glass wall, I notice an upside-down canoe floating atop one of the longer tables, while netlike sculptures – chandeliers – hang from the ceiling. Fish is telling me a story: that of a fisherman whose boat topples over, and he slowly descends into the ocean, meeting creatures, interacting with new textures, perceiving light qualities warped by the water’s surface.
It might all be in my imagination, but I see the story continuing throughout the menu in unexpected, creative approaches by Chef José Andrés. As our waiter explains what’s in store for us –a tasting of various items, curated to assure the best possible experience – we’re served a heart of palm salad with a dash of, “lemon air” – a combination of lemon and salt, prepared á la José Andrés. A puff of salty citrus inspired by waves crashing, lemon air looks like you’re being served sea foam from the nearby beach, and it tastes divine.
In this way, Fish, isn’t solely about the impressive variety of fresh seafood it has, but also about Bahamian seascapes and being connected to island life. To me, this is perfectly reflected in the unexpectedly varied choices on the menu, even for those who can’t eat seafood. Vermicelli Mac’n’Cheese with prosciutto and broccoli, along with Corn Chowder, Jerk Chicken and Hush Puppies with honey butter, for so many reasons feel familiar and friendly—like an afternoon at a Bahamian get-together I never want to leave.
The Cove, Atlantis
by Regner Ramos