Written by Sasha James
We toil the year through working and meeting our obligations for
the promise of an annual respite by the sea – a week or two spent
frolicking in the hypnotic blue waters of the Caribbean. Carefree days spent
exploring ‘desert islands’, beachcombing, and cannon balling off the
stern of a yacht and into the sea are punctuated by tranquil moments at
sunset. Cocktail in hand, visitors linger at days end; gazing peacefully across the
vast vista of the sea as the big orange sun inches down over the horizon.
Patience is often rewarded by a glimpse of the legendary green flash. In the
Grenadine islands of St. Vincent, generation after generation of such fun
seekers have found themselves at the world famous Basil’s Bar.
A typical For more than 35 years, holiday makers, sailors and the rich and
famous have made their way to Mustique – and to Basil’s Bar. Once
just a wee rum shop, it was transformed by personality – the
personality of Basil Charles himself. Just in his late twenties, a young
Vincentian had charmed and befriended a small but impressive
group of the elite pioneer adventurers who had begun to build
homes on Mustique. Opportunity knocked in 1976 when Colin Tenant
bought the Raft Restaurant in Britannia Bay creating a partnership
that would change Basil’s life. With Basil as manager and co-owner, the
little ramshackle rum shop on the rocks evolved into a rambling beach bar and the social centre of Mustique.
Delicious food – from fresh local lobster and fish, to delicate steaks and even
unforgettable burgers, lured hungry yacht captains. Cocktails were created
for fastidious regulars like the Egas and even one named after an especially
bad hurricane that hit the bar in the 1980s – Hurricane David.
Basil’s Bar in Mustique has distinguished itself not just by the
clientele and its unique location over the waters of the Caribbean sea, but
for its cuisine. Basil created each dish drawing on local ingredients, inspired
by dishes he has enjoyed in his world wide travels. The Caribbean lobster
(langoustine) is his signature dish and is served in a variety of delicious ways.
Lobsters are caught by local fishermen, sold to Basil and kept in his giant
seaside hexagonal lobster tank. A staple of his weekly BBQ buffet is his
roast suckling pig, cooked slowly on a hand turned spit. There are side dishes
of callaloo, coconut dumpling, pastas or Rasta rice and peas. Dinner ends
with a variety of sinfully sweet and delicious desserts. A visit to Basil’s Bar in
Mustique has been on the ‘to do’ list of thousands and it is included in many
books. Certainly one of the things you should do while in the Caribbean is ‘get
on down to Basil’s Bar’.