Christopher's at Hermosa Cove
Countdown To The 16th Annual Table Talk Food Awards
Joined by guest judges, Digicel sponsorship manager Tahnida Nunes and visiting Trinidadian Leslie-Ann St John, head of business development of Genetics Pharmaceuticals and restaurant consultant, the culinary-curious band of Jamaica Observer Food Awards judges journeyed to St Ann last Monday. The destination: Christopher's Restaurant at Hermosa Cove Villas.
(the restaurant's chef was introduced to Thursday Life by Food Awards judge Emma Sharp Dalton-Brown earlier this year), our merry band of 10 was warmly received by advertising executive Peter Lindo and his affable wife Shawn — friends of Hermosa Cove's principals Clayton and Deb Korver — who offered a tour of the 12-acre property's quaint accommodations; its beachfront bar Broken Rudder, and finally, the utterly charming restaurant Christopher's whose name was inspired by 15th-century explorer Christopher Columbus.
For Clayton Korver, Hermosa Cove's self-titled "builder and designer", the eco-friendly resort property is a manifestation of his decades-old love affair with Jamaica. The Texas-born hotelier first came to Jamaica in 1976 for a two-week vacation, and was immediately hooked. "My first impression was that the island was so naturally beautiful it reminded me of Hawaii where I had lived while playing football," Korver informed. "But the people made the biggest impression... everywhere I went I met so many friendly and helpful people willing to share their time and life stories. That first trip was a life-enriching experience for me and the beginning of a love affair with Jamaica."
As he and wife Deb registered too-frequent flier mileage in their Rock visits, they decided to invest in property in Ocho Rios. "In 1998, we first toured the property that would eventually become Hermosa Cove, and made an offer in 1999, and in 2000 the purchase was complete and we were the owners of 12 overgrown but beautiful seaside acres."
Korver, an artist who is also an ardent fan of intuitive Jamaican artists, took on creating the design aesthetic of the property — an ode to island contemporary chic — which he explained also incorporated flourishes of the aged structures he came upon on his excursions around Jamaica.
The design for Christopher's Restaurant, which features an imposing, high watchtower, he said, was informed by the Spanish architectural heritage of Ocho Rios, particularly the old-stone Spanish bridge on the White River. "As I began to sketch a design for the restaurant, the Spanish influence began to take over...I didn't fight it all..I just let it flow."
The restaurant's accompanying bar is named Isabella's, fittingly so, for the Queen who dispatched Columbus on his sea voyages to the New World.
Our impressive Monday night dinner at Christopher's was hosted on the multi-tiered structure's second landing dining room and prepared by the property's dynamic executive chef Conroy Arnold, whose impressive resumé includes stints at Nobu in New York, Tikaye Village in St Lucia, and Goldeneye locally.
The five-course dining affair, which was preceded by the amuse-bouche — mackerel rundown, crispy pumpkin chips and shoe string fries, won plaudits from the table, which was later joined by yet another guest judge, Ocho Rios-based restaurateur and Jamaica Observer Food Awards winner Anna Kay Tomlinson. Join Thursday Life around the table for dinner at Christopher's.
— Omar Tomlinson
Christopher's at Hermosa Cove Villa Resort and Suites
Hermosa Street, Pineapple, Ocho Rios
PO Box 421