When you take over a local institution such as Panama House, the last thing you want to do is piss off your regulars by starting a revolution. Geraint Coles (Cafe del Mar) was careful to tread lightly when he took over in 2016, and while he took the cafe and bar further into the Gulf of Mexico, traces of its southern Creole roots remain.
Each tweak has been carefully considered. The wine list is minimal intervention and rotates regularly with bottles from Australia and South America. Coffee is by Mecca and tea is by Ovio Organics.
The menu takes you from morning to night with dishes such as the breakfast bBowl (avocado, soft egg, haloumi, kale, quinoa, feta, hazelnut and black sesame dukka). Then there a Southern-style fried chicken burger; the Langostino salad (tiger prawns, green tea soba, smoked paprika dressing); and tostadas packed with lobster, crisp polenta, avocado, lime aioli, pico de gallo and a drizzle of jalapeno dressing.
A lot of care and skill has gone into creating the cocktail menu. Don’t leave without trying the Bloody Mary with a chorizo-washed vodka, and the Margarita containing a house-made, hibiscus-clove curaçao-infused triple sec lending it a light pink hue. There’s also 50 bottles of mezcal or tequila to try.