Suga Taster, Craig Fleming’s Ratings for AC Hotel Kingston
Date and time of visit: Friday, June 21, 2019 at 1pm
No. of diners: 2 adults
NB. Ratings fill 5 stars maximum
(Should improve with the completion of the multi-level parking garage)
Food quality: ★★★☆☆
Serving amount: ★★★★☆
Value for $: ★★★☆☆
Suga Taster, Craig Fleming’s Breakdown!
The new kid on the Kingston hospitality block, AC Hotel had its official opening two weeks ago. From the Laura Facey and Andre Woolery commissioned Art installations displayed throughout the lobby to the open air interior design, the AC Hotel (a collaboration between local hoteliers Sandals/ATL Group and the international hotel conglomerate, Marriott Bonvoy) is a beauty in contemporary design and aesthetics.
It’s located on the same compound as the BMW/MINI showroom. The open air feeling makes guests feel welcomed with outdoor/indoor music. Guests can look forward to Starbucks, a multilevel parking garage and potential establishments along the mini boardwalk in the near future too.
I decided to check out the AC Lounge last Friday for a quick lunch. It consists of a HUGE wraparound bar, outdoor pool bar and a cozy, but intimate dining area. If you are like me and have lodged at any other AC Hotel location, you would know what to expect from the millennial targeted brand: simple tapas, basic, but tasty libations, all wrapped in an affordable package. The newest Kingston location does not disappoint in that aspect.
Upon entering the lobby, the hotel staff will direct you to the quaint dining area located directly beside the open bar and you will have a choice to either sit alongside the sound padded cushioned walls or adjacent to the breakfast buffet area separated by a sliding glass casement.
My friend and I started with a simple request of Club soda and lime alongside bottled water, which was promptly sent to our table. We perused the limited menu and being a quintessential foodie, decided to start with Appetizers.
We got the mini Potato bites with sea salt, scallions and garlic+paprika aioli and the Arugula Salad with shaved parmesan, prosciutto and salami. The Potato was fried perfectly, but my only vice is that the aioli be served on the side rather than beneath the mound of fried Potatoes.
The Arugula Salad had the perfect amount of prosciutto and parmesan. They did not have the salami as advertised, which normally would be problematic, but it truly was not necessary for this salad. I also loved that the dressing was not drizzled on it beforehand, as my personal preference is to pour it myself. The server promptly apologized for the unavailability of salami and we continued to order our next lunch course.
I found the Garden Salad to be more basic than usual, but the Panko Snapper was really tasty. The Fish was flaky, NOT overcooked like a lot of establishments and the panko crust was golden and crispy as it should be. It went well with the butter sautéed root vegetables and garlic remoulade. This was surely the highlight of the meal. The so called parmesan fries on the other hand, were tasteless, limp and one of the worst I have ever had. Pathetic.
The Dessert choice was no better. The Molten Chocolate Lava cake tasted like a Betty Crocker cake mix topped with cheap chocolate sauce, far from the expectations of what an actual molten lava cake is supposed to be – decadent and yummy.
Advice: order the Macarons or the Cheesecake.
We ended our meal with Coffee which appeased my disappointment with the fries & Lava cake.
The AC Lounge is a great locale for Drinks and quick bites after work. Hopefully they will follow suit with the other global locations and have discounted Happy Hour drinks and appetizers. There are a few quirks to iron out from the first few days of opening, but the customer service from the get go has raised the bar positively, which is in line with the expectations of the AC Marriott mantra.
AC Hotel Kingston
Location: 38-42 Lady Musgrave Road. Kingston 5. JA. W.I
Kingston Kitchen had Hope Gardens buzzing with activity last Saturday. It was a great event for family, friends and foodies to unite for the love of food.
The event was well supported, probably the biggest staging I’ve ever seen. The logistics and execution of the event was quite commendable.
Just a few drawbacks for me. One bar was not enough for the event and amount of patrons. It was overcrowded to say the least.
I also believe that our Gastronomy network via the Tourism Industry should have been involved with the event to incorporate tourists from various hotels on the north coast of the island. Kingston Kitchen’s Night Market would have been an eye-opening experience for them to see so much of our culture in one area and in one night. The event would also expose them to Kingston, as many tourists are unaware of the many cultural activities, beauty and places to go that exist in Kingston. For the next Kingston Kitchen, I would like to see them in bus loads!
There were so many vendors to pick, choose and refuse from, Suga and husband went with a hit list.
Here is a reminder of what Kingston Kitchen had to offer in addition to entertainment for adults and kids:
I am proud to say my husband, Randy and I succeeded. We definitely took note of places to try in the near future as well.
MUST-STOPS AND GLAD BAG BUSS
● Stush in the Bush– A variety of unique Sauces, Spreads and Preserves made with love. Always a crowd pleaser.
● Lucky Strike Seafood Bar and Grill – Their Seafood bowl is always a hit. My husband approves!
● Street Food Saturdays – Fresh mint Lemonade, Street corn and more. They kept patrons coming all night!
● Fish Pot – Flavourful, peppery Fish soup. Great gas buster to prep for food galore.
●Simo’s Bread and Catering – Pastries, Soursop Popsicles, Dessert, Sauces, Seasonings. Excellent spread as usual from the main hands of it all, Christina Simonitsch.
● I Love Paella – Rich, flavourful Tapas! From Valencia with love. Bravas, Croquetas and Empañadas cooked right in front of you.
● Scott van Bonnet – New kid on the block from Blue Diamond Shopping Centre, Montego Bay. They had tasty Turkey and Lamb Wraps. Loved the infused flavours.
Coming soon to Kingston, Ocho Rios and Negril. Can’t wait!
● Topp In Designz Limited – Foodie Gear galore!
Suga had to cop this shirt!
● Gypsy House Tapas!
I have never thrown away food at Kingston Kitchen, but there is always a first. Trust me, I tried my best to eat their Seafood and Meat stacked Paella, but I just couldn’t get past the dry rice that nearly choked me and lack of flavour. It was horrible. Chef Enric’s, I Love Paella still stands as the place to go for authentic Valencian Paella.
● Soup King
They didn’t have any Soup for over an hour after the start time of the event. They seemed to have gotten things going later on in the night though.
SATISFYING STOPS #SugaSnaps
● Lyming at Walkerswood – Mannish water, Curried Goat and more. Jamaican cooked food that goes right to the heart and makes you feel at home.
● NCR Sheep Limited – Tasty Lamb sausage.
● Rolly Polly – Ice cream for adults and kids. I enjoyed my topping of Bailey’s rum cream on my Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream. Delish!
Patrons enjoyed their small giveaways, boomerang photo booth and money machine! Fun addition to the event.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES #SugaSpieswithHer4Eyes
> Fromage Bistro and Brasserie, Cafe Dolce, Pita Grill, Deaf Can! Coffee, Chocolate Dreams, Until We Eat Again, Cannonball Cafe, Pink Apron Jamaica, Tea Tree Créperie and Sip ‘n’ Go Juice Bar.
Suga didn’t get to stop by the usual crowd faves mentioned above, but I could see that they continued to please!
PLACES TO EXPERIENCE IN THE NEAR FUTURE #SugasRadar
> Eatopia Jamaica, WTF Burgers and 25 Wafflerie
Kudos to Director Leisha Wong, Melanie Miller and their team for their hard work, efforts and a well executed Foodie affair. #SugaEndorsed
Until the next one!
By: Gabrielle Burgess
If you liked this article, follow Suga Lifestyle or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.
Date and time of visit: Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 8:15pm
No. of diners: 3
NB. Ratings fill 5 stars maximum
Food quality: ★★☆☆☆
Serving amount: ★★★★☆
Value for $: ★★☆☆☆
SuGa Endorsement: ★★☆☆☆
New restaurant with modern décor and comfortable indoor and outdoor seating by a faux garden. It was an expected full house on a Saturday night, 3 weeks after opening. I think the full house affected the attentiveness of the staff and the speed of the kitchen. The quality of the food was fair, borderline poor and at the end of the night I felt like I made a bad gamble in Vegas and lost. A Wine and Spirits list is currently available. A Bar with Blended drinks and Cocktails are in future plans. The Restaurant has potential and I will probably return, but I am in no rush to do so.
We started off with the Spicy Rosemary Mussels and Duck Bruschetta. The Mussels were flavourful, succulent and indeed spicy. The Duck was tasty, but the bread was over toasted. It was deeply charred instead of golden brown. We could not bite into it. The use of tomatoes, which are traditionally added to Bruschettas was absent.
The Oxtail Bolognese only had a trace of Oxtail and was predominantly minced Beef. When two of us ordered the Oxtail Bolognese, we were told it would have some minced Beef in it. We said no problem, but when it arrived, although it was savoury, it was predominantly minced Beef with a trace of Oxtail. I told our waiter, Chris that they need to rename the dish on the menu. Maybe they ran out of Oxtail too, but if so, we should have been advised.
Thankfully our friend who was just returning from Cabo and tasted authentic, richly flavoured Tacos enjoyed her Seafood Tacos even though she said the shrimp was a bit salty.
The Maple Glazed Bacon Cookie Sandwich and Crispy Duffle Sandwich for dessert was tough as rocks. No wonder it was served with a kitchen knife. Note that we made that choice for dessert because the Fruit Parfait looked like a mixture of yogurt and canned fruit. But we still didn’t win. Tough cookies. Literally.
I could see that with the full house, they tried and probably did their best, but the full house affected how attentive they were. Appetizers took too long to come out as well as our bottle of wine. The Wine we wanted was not chilled, so we told Chris that he could bring it out with the main. He seemed to have forgotten, so by the time we got his attention, we were almost through and just asked for a glass.
Suggestions from Suga
★ Hire additional staff for the Opening rush.
★Revise the Dessert menu.
★ Have the supervisor or manager take a walk around the restaurant now and then to get honest feedback from diners.
Good Luck to Broken Plate because I understand the concept and vision. We need more Restaurants that think outside the box, breaking away from the traditional menu in Kingston!
Location: 14 Canberra Crescent off Munroe Road. Kgn. 6. Ja.
Opening Hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 11am to 10pm
Facebook & Instagram: @brokenplateja
By: Gabrielle Burgess
If you liked this Review, follow Suga Lifestyle or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.
Comments: Parking is far too tight for the entire Plaza. Definitely not a place for Wine with a limited selection, so I see why they seem to now go by Debut Brick Oven Pizzeria instead of Debut Fine Wine and Grill – Brick Oven Pizza. Good Service and filling, tasty Pizzas. Love the incorporation of spice. Affordable prices. Simple, cosy spot for lunch.
Suga visited Debut Brick Oven Pizzeria two Saturdays ago at about 3:45 pm.
Even though they are known mainly for Pizza and that is what I went there for, I browsed their menu and it had a variety of items other than Pizza at affordable prices. Appetizers such as Buffalo Wings, Spicy Nachos, Mozzarella sticks, Calamari and more are available in the range of $648 – $1298JMD.
There are Paninis for $998 – $1198JMD, Salads for $698 – $798JMD and Pastas for $1698 – $1998JMD.
Jamaican Specialties such as Jerked Chicken, Escoveitched and Steamed Fish, Pepper Shrimp and more are available for under $3000JMD.
Vegetarians are not left out. There are Veggie Cheese Kebabs, Veggie Pizza options and more. The Pizza Siciliana (Grilled Eggplant, capers, tomato sauce, mozzarella) and Pizza Manchurian (Veggie balls, tomato sauce, mozzarella) look like a treat, whether you are Vegetarian or not.
Most importantly, quite a variety of Pizzas are available in the range of $1398 – $1898JMD. You can pick, choose and refuse from the traditional Pepperoni, Hawaiian, Margherita and Jerk Chicken Pizzas or you can go with Pizzas that have more divine toppings such as the Pacifica (Smoked Pacific Salmon, capers, sour cream, tomato sauce) and Pizza Marinara (Shrimp, Calamari, Fish, tomato sauce and cheese). You can also customize your own Pizza with protein and veggies.
Dessert is available as well, but with limited options.
It was quite lonely when my husband, Randy and I went there, but we were told by our hospitable hostess that the place really comes alive at night and when the cruise ships come in. The Cafe that was two shops down
got a lot of traffic when I was there though.
Our Pizzas arrived within 20 minutes of ordering. Randy, who loves spice thoroughly enjoyed his Indian Spiced Chicken Pizza. I can confirm it was as good as it looks. It was a mouthful of spicy, flavourful and cheesy goodness, not just because I tasted it, but because he finished eating his Pizza before me. That’s a record! Indians own the restaurant, hence a few dishes showcasing Indian cuisine and the incorporation of Indian spices and flavoured protein toppings on the Pizzas.
I had the Pizza Meatza, that was like a full house. It was stacked with Jerk Chicken, Pepperoni, Jerk Sausage and Onion. Scrumptious!
Refreshing Red Stripe Beers were the perfect combo with our Pizzas. Pizzas from Debut Brick Oven Pizzeria are #SugaEndorsed.
***Prices quoted are before G.C.T***
Debut Brick Oven Pizzeria
Location: Shop #15 Bay Harbour Plaza (Next to Burger King); 1-3 Gloucester Ave. (Hip Strip), Montego Bay
Facebook: Debut Pizza
By: Gabrielle Burgess
If you liked this Blog, follow Suga Lifestyle or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.
***Prices for each category include choice of Appetizer, Main Course and Dessert. Beverages, GCT and Gratuity additional.***
There are many options, but just a few stand out for Suga based on reputation, service, previous experiences including RW experiences, their RW Menu, usual serving sizes and value for money.
The Palms at C&C South Beach and Tamarind Indian Cuisine.
Menu stand outs for C&C South Beach are their Smoked Salmon Salad Appetizer, Washington Palms Pork Chop and Seafood Thermidor main courses. Their options for Dessert should please everyone. Keep in mind that South Beach usually has large serving sizes.
Menu stand outs for Tamarind Indian Cuisine include the Non Veg Platter, which is a combination of assorted chicken tikka, sweet chilli shrimps and sliced Szechuan fried fish, as well as the Green Thai Curry with your choice of chicken, fish or shrimp accompanied by Naan bread/rice and Tiramisu for dessert.
I still haven’t made it out to Rib Kage at The Serengeti Bistro, Hope Zoo, but I have gotten good reviews. It could be safe to take a chance on them.
> Montego Bay
The new Hard Rock Cafe and the oldie but goodie, Pelican Grill are the best choices hands down.
> Ocho Rios
Evita’s Italian Restaurant is usually good and fairly new kids on the block, Great Escape Restaurant at Runaway Bay have been doing well. I had a good time at Great Escape for RW last year and their menu has not really changed Definitely value for money.
> Old Harbour
Kaluga Cafe should please RW diners.
Dragon Court Restaurant has been consistently good over the years.
> Montego Bay
MVP Smokehouse has a decent menu to explore.
Smoked Marlin has delicious food and an inviting menu with value for money, but I question their ability to provide good service with a RW crowd. Good risk to take though. I suggest you go with fun company.
By: Gabrielle Burgess
If you liked this blog, follow Suga Lifestyle or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.