By Nadia Hall
Nobody forgets their first time. Mine was when I was twelve years old on a balcony on Front Street. My mother introduced me, and with unabashed/flagrant/unmitigated/unadulterated enthusiasm she showed me what to do. It was a truly memorable experience, and only partly due to that first hit of wasabi to my virgin palate. The flavours were like nothing I’d experienced before and at 12 years old, overlooking the harbour on that sunny balcony, I felt I’d arrived. It was truly the beginning of a lifelong love affair with sushi.
Fast forward 20 years and that experience remains the same. Harbourfront’s current location, waterside at the Ocean discovery Centre at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) is beautiful and still fronted by now owner (then maître d) Pierangelo Lafranchi. In all this time his creativity and spirit hasn’t changed.
Pierangelo relays a story. Pierangelo and Florian were dining in New York at Nougatine & The Terrace at Jean Georges when Pierangelo saw a man pick something up from the floor. “I immediately pointed to him and said to Florian, “That is Jean Georges!” ” Pierangelo recalls. “ “How do you know?” Florian asked me, “You’ve met him before?” “No,” I say, but I do know that a chef or a manager would never pick up garbage from the floor.”
“Only an owner would do it himself before instructing someone else to do it,” he adds with conviction. He knows it because he is it. It is an attitude he shares. An accomplished photographer, his prints hang throughout the restaurant, Pierangelo travels and gathers inspiration and ideas from other countries, chefs and restaurants. Now that this Japanese-style cuisine has become a mainstay in restaurants worldwide, especially ocean-rich Bermuda, I don’t have to walk you through the basics. For the sushi-fluent, the menu remains classic, with a few inspirations picked up on his travels. You could call them tributes. Some dishes are borrowed from world-renowned chefs; the Nobu inspired Miso Black Cod or the Jean-Georges Vongerichten inspired Tuna Tartare; and each signature roll is named after a chef on the Harbourfront team.
For the first time ever they are including the signature rolls in their Happy Hour menu for the entire month of September. Where the discount was previously only available to the purists out there, a humble selection of the freshest sashimi and nigiri, you can now sample their specialty rolls with wild abandon. Similarly the drinks are offered at rather attractive prices as well.
Happy Hour is from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. whether you arrive by land or by sea.