Years ago, when I first set foot in the BVI, my boyfriend at the time took me straight from the airport to the Dove (like literally straight there – still in my comfy, travel athleisure gear and without so much as 5-minutes to run a brush through my hair).
More than a few espresso martinis and a touch of jet lag means that I don’t remember much of that night, but I’ve been a loyal fan ever since.
A little wooden building right in the heart of Road Town, the Dove has long been a hugely popular restaurant and bar – an institution on the fine dining scene for the last 12 years. But after the original owners moved on to other projects, she has changed hands a couple of times and been out of commission for the last 12 months.
Now she’s back – the new version, managed ably by the team behind CocoMaya, and a second kitchen for Head Chef Lee Cowie – the latest incarnation of the Dove restaurant opened on Friday.
Extensive renovations have taken place, but the changes are subtle. Die-hard Dove fans can be reassured that the same familiar charm has been retained with this sympathetic restoration. A lick of paint, new concrete floors, a brickwork bar and a gorgeous polished concrete bar top have been added. They have screened off the outside patio area with the twisted vines, in a nod to their sister restaurant on Virgin Gorda, and the Mango tree is looking better than ever.
But enough about the decor – you want to hear about the food and you won’t be disappointed.
They are currently running on a smallish menu (three choices each for starter, main and dessert) – but that just meant that we got to try (almost) everything!
We started with a bottle of prosecco (and a ginger, grapefruit, thyme cocktail, because why not?) along with a portion of calamari (from the bar snacks menu) to nibble on while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive. Crispy little morsels of tender squid paired beautifully with the perfectly chilled fizz.
Once our table was ready we happily got carried away with our ordering.
The burrata cheese salad was a hit with everyone. Melting mozzarella with the bright, fresh tomatoes and the salty olive paint – the perfect counterbalance to the creamy cheese. Edible flowers, the crunch of fried basil leaves and the paper thin garlic crostini.
Delicate tuna sashimi with its soy mirin dressing and salty ikura pearls.
Korean rice cakes with kimchi and mixed vegetables.
Flaky miso-glazed red snapper with the rich scallops and warm shiitake mushrooms was a real winner.
The deconstructed cheesecake could have done with a bit more of the biscuit base, but all those that tried it declared it to be delicious nevertheless.
Sinful chocolate plate combining chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream and chocolate cake on that glossy, decadent chocolate paint.
The Dove was always known for her fine wines and extensive wine list and you’ll be pleased to hear that the new management wants to continue that legacy. The wine list still comprises 250+ wines and we sampled a couple of the excellent Sancerres (all in the name of research, you understand).
Even more good news is that the old champagne happy hours may also be coming back, boys and girls.
The Dove Restaurant is definitely one to watch – and I’ll be sneaking in for another cheese salad very soon! I suggest that you do the same…
Open from Tuesday through Saturday, reservations are essential – +1 (284) 494 0313.
Don’t forget to check out my full BVI restaurant guide here – for a bite-sized review of where to eat and what to eat.
Looks like I’ll need to be adding these guys to the list! 🙂
EDIT: Unfortunately the Dove restaurant suffered significant damage during Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The restaurant is closed until further notice and no re-opening date has been announced as yet. We look forward to welcoming the Dove restaurant back onto the BVI culinary scene at some point and will update you once we know more.