ShellonaShellona is a gorgeous, sexy restaurant on Shell Beach right on the edge of Gustavia. It is a fairly new restaurant but one that was quickly acclaimed and became popular shortly after it opened. We knew the location from the predecessor of Shellona, it is really one of the most beautiful spots on the entire island and were eager to experience the atmosphere and try the food.
Post card sceneryWhile I don’t think it is a good form to repeat what I said previously in the same article, in this case I feel just compelled to do that – the setting is absolutely gorgeous! The moment you walk onto the edge of the beach from the street that dead-ends there, you will undoubtably stop for a moment to take in the post card perfect scene of the azure sea, the beach composed of tiny shells, the rocky cliff clad in greenery at the end of the beach and the white umbrellas of Shellona tucked in on the left. And all of that under the cloudless sky of blue three shades lighter than the sea. If that isn’t a great mood generator, than you’re probably not breathing:). The restaurant is nestled at the base of a cliff overlooking the beach and its white umbrellas with pastel, sea motived cushions totally complement the scenery. Once before in one of my blog posts I remarked how wonderful it is to feel sand under your feet while you’re sitting at lunch, and the feeling never gets old, it cools you down and you feel gratitude and love all around.
The foodSo we got the scenery and the atmosphere – now the food. One would think that with location as phenomenal as this one, perhaps the food can take second place. Well, I am glad to report that it is absolutely not so. The Mediterranean cuisine of Chef Yiannis Kioroglou at Shellona is second to nothing, including the scenery. It is fresh, innovative and of course, interwoven with the local Caribbean flair, which really works well with the Mediterranean cuisine. Chef’s culinary philosophy is influenced by his Greek heritage and travels around the Mediterranean to such gastronomic capitals as San Sebastian in Spain. At Shellona he developed a clever menu which differentiates his restaurant and is perfect for the beach setting. While waiting for your table, walk up the steps to the bar and enjoy a cocktail while overlooking the restaurant, the scene (people watching in St. Barts is truly remarkable) and the sea from a different vantage point. The bartender will create a custom cocktail for you with fresh ingredients, like watermelon or pineapple juice, that will blow you away and will get you in the mood! Fresh home-baked breads are delectable especially when dipped into Shellona’s house olive oil and balsamic vinegar sprinkled with fleur de sel found on every table. Lunch of appetizers- wahoo carpaccio, lightly fried seafood and tuna salad. I had this incredibly satisfying appetizer of fried mixed fish with Moroccan sauce and spicy mayo every time we had lunch at Shellona during our stay! Bright orange mussels, calamari rings and bite size pieces of fish are fried quickly to perfection and are very light and flaky. Thin slices of fresh red jalapeño add moderate heat while basil leaves- freshness. Brighten up this appetizer with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice and enjoy! I never thought that I would enjoy so much something that is fried! It is absolutely delectable and easily the best dish on the menu for me:) My lunch staple, especially in the Caribbean, is any form of raw local fish. This wahoo carpaccio was caught right there, in the azure waters of the sea, and later sliced to thin perfection by the Chef. Served with passion fruit and carrot juice marinade. The flesh is superbly buttery, delicate and slightly tangy from passion fruit juice. Served with masculine greens, tiny croutons and jalapeño slices. I am sorry, Chef, but I will be attempting to copy your burrata plater with grilled zucchini ribbons and mint pesto all summer long! Our lunches are never without burrata, the creamiest, sexiest of cheeses! Amazingly, zucchini, a watery vegetable, becomes full flavored when charred on the grill. A perfect compliment to rich, fatty cheese. Big chunks of incredibly fresh tuna, that was brought by boats to the Gustavia fish market that same morning, mixed with crispy celery and tiny crunchy croutons, black sesame seeds and paper-thin hot jalapeño slices served with tortillas – super enjoyable. Grilled Mahi Mahi, coconut milk sauce & fresh curcuma (turmeric as you might know it) with freshly shaved fennel salad. The complexity is in the simplicity of this dish.
At Shellona the mahi is grilled to perfection. This fish is easy to overcook but Chef Yiannis is alway on point and this mahi was moist and full of flavor.