Hidden Forest Cafe: A Hidden Culinary Secret
Tucked away on the mountain and hidden in some of the last remaining rainforests of St. Martin is a local culinary secret rightfully named Hidden Forest Cafe. Located in Loterie farms, famous for its zip-lining and hiking, Hidden Forest Cafe is both for nature-lovers and foodies. The food is wonderfully eclectic and fresh. Some of the vegetables are even picked directly from the farm itself!
My friends and I went to eat here after a fun day of ziplining, zig-zagging down the two sides of the valley. It was a refreshing to be able not just to eat, but have a really good meal. My friends and I come from cultures all over the world: Italian, Ghanaian, Mexican, Taiwanese… and likewise the food served at Hidden Forest Cafe is a celebration of diversity and fusion. I tried the cashew lamb curry, served with rice, raita, sweet potatoes, and beignets. The lamb was very tender and really good, and especially good with the raita. The beignets, which are fried French-style donuts with sugar, were a treat.
One of my friends ordered the five-spice baby-back ribs. Being a spice-lover, he was expecting the ribs to be very hot and spicy, and was quite surprised when they were not. When I tried it, I suddenly realized why. The “five spices” were a Chinese spice concoction called wuxiangfen (五香粉) which translates to “five-spice powder” in Chinese. The five spices in this concoction are star anise, cinnamon, cloves, sichuan pepper, and fennel. While my friend was a little confused why his ribs didn’t taste like the spices he thought they were, I thought it was quite ingenious fusing the authentic Chinese five-spice flavor with the otherwise typical American baby-back ribs. Like most dishes on the menu, the chefs express the fusion of cultures in their food.
Overall, I had a good time at Hidden Forest Cafe. The restaurant is outside, under a roof, and surrounded by the natural beauty of the forest and the farm. The food is elegant and eclectic, and not to mention, has been featured on several travel and food magazines.
As it is located on the French side of the island where everything is in euros, expect to pay a little more than usual for meals.
Hidden Forest Cafe is all about being eco-friendly. Expect outdoor seating (under a roof), but also expect flying bugs and an outhouse to wash your hands. Other than this, the forest surroundings are beautiful and the food is presented nicely.
Service was good when we were there.
The food was delicious, and garnished beautifully with vegetables, herbs, and flowers grown on the farm. The taste is eclectic and represent a fusion of culinary traditions from around the world.
To get to Hidden Forest Cafe, located in Loterie Farms, drive past Marigot if you are coming from AUC. Somewhere between Marigot and Grand Case, you will see a sign on the right pointing towards Pic Paradis. Take a right here, and the road will go up steeply, passing houses and lots of kids playing outside. You’ll see Loterie Farms on the right. Turn into Loterie farms, and the Cafe will be right there.
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