Iguana Café, Portsmouth, Dominica

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We’re in the middle of a coup here. Dominicans are rising up against the corruption of the prime minister who’s accused of breaching the Iranian oil embargo and selling it on to China, and dishing out fake passports. And who thought it was all about Pina Coladas? We skirted past a demonstration in Roseau, broken up by the loyal local police. We’re ready to be airlifted out now that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice has woken up.

However, before the emergency evacuation we have a little local colour to experience. We head into Portsmouth, on the north west coast just a few minutes from Secret Bay. We could go to The Champs, which promises fine dining but experience suggests that description is a little inappropriate for Caribbean cuisine. Instead, we opt for real local food at Iguana Cafe. We’ve watched an iguana climb a tree right outside our balcony and they’re protected, so we’re not anticipating them being on tonight’s menu. Incidentally a friend bought us a guinea pig cooker a few years ago, on which we cooked steaks, salmon and the like. In South America they cook…guinea pigs.

We’re up early the following morning and into Portsmouth for the Saturday market, a couple of streets of locally grown fruit and vegetables. We buy fresh coconut, watching the top sliced off with machete before drinking the milk straight out of the top. Passion fruit and bananas get added to the bag, ready for breakfast.

Dinner on Friday night is at the Iguana Cafe on Michael Douglas Boulevard, right on the seafront.

Try not to be put off by the heroically dishevelled appearance of this local seafood restaurant shack set on the waterfront

Basic and deserted – we think they only opened for us – on a Friday night in early February (high season). Bread, gooseberry jam and garlic and coconut butter, tuna carpaccio and then king fish in coconut curry sauce, with plantain, christophine and couscous. No wine or cocktails, but plenty of local Kubuli beer. USD$80 all in. Mind you, it also cost us USD$33 to get there and back – must have been all of two miles. Taxis are expensive. Getting from Roseau to Portsmouth by public bus is about USD$4, or USD$70 by taxi…

Definitely local café Iguana Café

Fresh coconut, trimmed down with a machete...

Fresh coconut, trimmed down with a machete…

Portsmouth market...

Portsmouth market…

Portsmouth market...

Portsmouth market…yellow plantain and green bananas

Building plots still available...

Building plots still available…

Gentle fading elegance...and shelter from the rain

Gentle fading elegance…and shelter from the rain

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