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Marcus’ open for business

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The bar at the new Marcus Samuelsson restaurant at the Hamilton Princess will opens tonight. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)

Marcus’ at The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club opens this evening.

The spacious restaurant is located in the former Gazebo Room, and while the old event room is gone, the stunning views over Hamilton Harbour are better than ever.

It is named after celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, the owner of Red Rooster Harlem and the youngest chef to receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times.

The hotel itself is undergoing more than $90 million in renovations, and Marcus’ formed part of phase two in the project.

It is bright and light with an open kitchen, decorated in a vintage industrial style shot through with flashes of colour and is unmistakably Bermudian.

There are artefacts from the collection of the late diver and explorer Teddy Tucker, and extraordinary art from the Green family collection, who own the hotel. Among the pieces, which the family chose themselves for this restaurant, are a series of four portraits of Mick Jagger signed by the musician, by Andy Warhol, and a deeply moving series of handprints by the South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela. The fixtures and fittings are pieces of art in their own right — and the lighting fixtures in particular were created especially for the restaurant.

Allan Federer, the general manager at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club said: “The restaurant is designed with a vintage and colourful theme that combines an Island feel with a twist of Marcus Samuelsson’s urban style,” and added that as well as Andy Warhol and Nelson Mandela, there are works by Shepard Fairey, Speedy Graphito, Zevs and Wang Guangyi.

The menu, conceived by Mr Samuelsson and executed by executive chef Leonardo Marino, was inspired by Bermudian culture, explained the hotel’s general manager.

Mr Marino is from the Red Rooster Harlem in New York City and Samuelsson at HP, the group’s pop-up at the hotel last year which inspired rave reviews from diners.

He explained: “This restaurant has been two years in the making. We were approached by the Greens who said: ‘Would you like to come and look at the Island?’ I was here for half a day and got on the phone with Marcus Samuelsson, and said: ‘You’ve got to come over here as well!’”

When he was offered the job as executive chef, he said it took him “about 36 seconds” to sign the contract.

The menu at Marcus’ includes grilled options from the wood-burning grill as well as a raw menu and eclectic dishes such as fish chowder bites; fried chicken and waffles; and lobster cocktail with warm cheese puffs.

Desserts include sweet potato doughnuts, and warm chocolate cake with grilled pineapple and ginger ice cream.

The general manager said: “Local ingredients will be sourced where possible, including vegetables from Wadson’s Farm and fresh-caught local fish,” he said, and Mr Marin added: “For us, it is very important to be in and part of the community.

“I’ve picked up a great relationship with the fishermen — I personally went to the dock and picked up two big wahoos.”

He added it is easier to get produce for the restaurant in real time from local sources than to wait several days for imported produce. He added that it also tastes better.

The menu was created to reflect Bermuda’s range of cultures, and Mr Samuelsson has developed new dishes such as tomato and watermelon salad and coconut ceviche with grapefruit and avocado. His idea was to mix local culture and the “amazing beauty” of the harbour with a “fun and vibrant” culinary experience, the general manager explained.

Marcus’ is 3,000 square foot, and seats 180 people, including 30 seats at and around the bar in addition to a private dining area.

The kitchen is on two floors and the main dining room features an open kitchen so guests can see the entire cook line and its indoor wood-burning grill, which, said the general manager, is the only one of its kind in Bermuda.

“The open layout is intended to impart the energy of the kitchen throughout the restaurant,” he said.

There is also seating on the terrace that wraps around the restaurant, which sits two and a half feet below the floor of the restaurant to ensure that all diners have unobstructed views of the harbour. Mr Federer added: “Central to the restaurant is a floor-to-ceiling bar that features a wide array of wine, beer and cocktails. Signature cocktails include the Darker and Stormier; M’s Margarita; iced spiced tea with cognac, cinnamon, earl of harlem, pineapple and chilli; and the Kir Kir, a champagne drink with watermelon and sweet pickled rind.

“The central bar area sets the tone of the restaurant as a fun, happening social destination to give the restaurant a more intimate feel. Around the bar are high top chairs and tables, and a banquette for lounging.”

There is also a private dining room, which is designed to offer private diners stunning views that give the feeling that they could reach out and touch the water, which can also be booked as meeting space.

• There are two entrances to Marcus’. An outdoor entrance is located off the courtyard for guests, including those travelling by boat. There is also an entrance past the new Crown & Anchor restaurant in the hotel lobby. This entrance is ADA wheelchair accessible.

• The restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 5:30 to 10pm and from Thursday through Saturday dinner will be served until 11pm. From June 11, Marcus’ will also open daily for lunch from 11:30am to 3pm Monday through Friday and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 3pm starting June 13.

• For more information visit www.marcusbermuda.com. Call 295-3000 for reservations.

Executive chef Leonardo Marino (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Inside the new Marcus Samuelsson restaurant at the Hamilton Princess, whichis opening tonight (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
The terrace at the new Marcus Samuelsson restaurant at the Hamilton Princess which opens tonight. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Works of art by Nelson Mandela at the new Marcus Samuelsson restaurant which opens tonight. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
A Nelson Mandela work of art which hangs in the new Marcus Samuelsson restaurant at the Hamilton Princess. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
On the terrace at the new Marcus Samuelsson restaurant. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
The terrace at the new Marcus Samuelsson restaurant. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
One of the dishes on the menu at Marcus'.
The floor to ceiling bar, that sits in the centre of the new Marcus Samuelsson restauran. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
A dish that is on the menu at Marcus'.
The new Marcus Samuelson restaurant at the Hamilton Princess will be opening tomorrow for the first time. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Grand opening: The floor-to-ceiling bar at Marcus’ (above), which will be bustling with diners tonight. (Below left) executive chef Leonardo Marino and (below right) an example of what’s in store for customers
Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol, hanging on the wall of the private dining room at Marcus'. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
A cocktail from the bar at Marcus'.