Auld Lang GoldenEye

Sunday, January 06, 2019

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Along a quiet stretch of the Oracabessa main road, a black hand-painted sign with white, all-cap letters spelling the word “PARTY” seemed to jut out of nowhere.

Obeying the sign, we turned and passed two men dressed in all-white who, if it were not for the glare of their smartphones, could have been misconstrued for duppies. Continuing down an almond tree-lined dirt road brought us to another party sign with a smiling face that said: “Welcome to GoldenEye.”

Each year Chris Blackwell and his team host one of the most exclusive New Year's Eve parties on The Rock at the flippie-chic GoldenEye. Guests never know who they'll spot in the buffet line or say “cheers” to at midnight. This is not your typical shutterbug crowd, and as a result SO2 had its work cut out in order to get amazing shots.

It was resident chef Tim Kensett's second New Year's at GoldenEye — however, it was the first that he conceptualised. From the mind of chef Kensett came an ode to Jamaica that was not diluted or whitewashed to appeal to anglicised sensibilities. The décor was a mash-up of Faith's Pen and a dancehall session. Each food station was themed and outfitted with corrugated zinc, bamboo and hand-painted signs and menus. The open-flame grill was wrapped with dancehall posters, and Pantrepant — the farm that supplies Island Outpost properties with most of their produce — presented guests with a robust offering of side dishes ensconced in a Saturday morning market vignette.

Along with good food at the heart of 'NYE at GE' was great music and this was provided by not one but four deejays. Music video choreographer/director Fatima Robinson, who choreographed the videos for Rihanna's Pon De Replay and Michael Jackson's Remember The Time, spun along with band Wild Belle which comprised brother and sister Elliot and Natalie Bergman and Adrian “DJ Dubz” Wiltshire.

A few minutes before midnight actress/singer Grace Jones joined the party. Surprise! Guests danced up a sweat on the dance floor quenching their thirst with libations that included Blackwell Rum. When the clock struck midnight guests hugged, kissed and raised Champagne toasts. SO2 can't wait for December 31, 2019!

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