Bar, restaurant opening cook up excitement

Man cutting meat
Michele Lai and the staff at The Tasting Room Wine Bar are ready to serve you right in the hear of the Paseo. Photo by: Rob Tyler

Foodies and wine lovers, rejoice — a pair of restaurant openings in Town Centre mean you'll have plenty of new options to check out this month.

When you first meet Markus Mueri, you might be forgiven for thinking he’s a little loco — the guy has jumping bean energy for days. But anyone familiar with the shrewd and successful restaurateur — along with his longtime business partner, Neil Bryington — will tell you that he’s loco like a fox.

The savvy pair’s ownership résumé reads like a Who’s Who of popular eateries, from Smuggler’s Cove and Decker’s to Abacus and KARoo. Now, with partners Chris Collins and Charith Heman, they are preparing to add another knife to their diverse block with Loco, a Mexican cocina and tequila bar opening in Camana Bay on the Paseo this month.

This welcome addition to the landscape promises a mariachi symphony of flavours and colours, with dishes that are as much works of art as they are a feast for the tastebuds. Traditional spices, maize tortillas and mouthwatering handmade guacamole will be married with enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, steaks and fresh local fish. These are dishes that just beg to be shared. Imagine an evening spent with friends around the table, sampling myriad creations courtesy of Loco’s professional Mexican chef.

“We want this to be a dining experience savoured by our guests,” said Mueri. “They will be surrounded by the colours and textures of Mexico — a world of natural stone, rich mahogany and beautiful hand-painted tiles.”

Of course, you can’t really say you’ve truly tried Loco unless you pull up a chair to its tequila bar and indulge in a flight of aged mezcals and 100% agave tequilas. Whether you like it neat, or as the shining star in a top-shelf margarita, you can’t beat a quality tequila.

The countdown has officially begun to when the doors open on Camana Bay’s newest restaurant.

Man smiles at camera
Markus Mueri and his partners welcome guests to enjoy the colours and textures of Mexico at Loco, along with some aged mezcals and 100% agave tequilas. Photo by: Rob Tyler

The Tasting Room Wine Bar
Anyone who appreciates fine wine, decadent chocolates, extraordinary spirits and touches of luxury will already be familiar with The Tasting Room Wine Cellar.

Launched by Mario Iacoviello — the man that everyone knows as just "Mario" — in 2014, this independent wine merchant has been making waves in Cayman ever since it came into being. Clearly, business is booming, as Iacoviello has now opened a second location in the heart of Camana Bay on Market Street (The Tasting Room Wine Bar), much to the delight of his loyal clientele.

He was born and raised in Tuscany, Italy, and his family owned some grapevines – so no wonder that he developed a passion for food and wine at a very early age. After working in the restaurant industry for many years, Iacoviello set out on his own to create The Tasting Room. He and his staff offer the personalised, one-on-one service that you might expect to find in an old-world family winery, yet the selection of labels that they carefully curate is so extensive, you could easily get lost here for hours. It is like a library of vintages.

The Tasting Room Wine Cellar stocks everything from Sauternes to sauvignon blanc and Champagne to chardonnay, with speciality gins and other delights gracing the shelves. At The Tasting Room Wine Bar, the main focus is wine and Champagne, where people can sit and sip a glass or two, then buy a bottle (or two) to take home.

“We have tapas on the menu for them to enjoy with one of our exceptional wines,” Iacoviello said. “And, just as in our other location, they can purchase the fresh caviar, Italian chocolates and other luxury items for which we have become known.”

The timing couldn’t be better, as Christmas is just around the corner. Iacoviello knows it all too well, as his Tasting Room gift boxes crammed with goodies are what everyone wants to receive in the festive season.

“What nicer way to celebrate than with great wine, amazing food and the ones you love?” he said.

We couldn’t put it better ourselves.

This article was featured in the November 2023 issue of Camana Bay Times.

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