Suga brought you the low down for Crisp at The Gardens, Jamaica Pegasus ($5000 All Inclusive) and Picante ($7500 All Inclusive) at The Ruins, UWI Mona’s Visitor’s Lodge, so how were the other JFDF events? Suga Bears and Suga Daddies reported!
Most persons like to get bad news out of the way first. The events with the highest price tags were not that impressive for some patrons. That is, Vintage for $12000JMD all-inclusive and Brunch at the Gallery for $20000JMD/$150USD all-inclusive.
Meals at Vintage at the Manor in Jack’s Hill were described as basic and a low standard for Ortanique on the Mile, one of the restaurants in Florida that was represented by Owner Cynthia Hutson. Suga Bears enjoyed the view and Dessert though.
Brunch at the Gallery
Brunch at the National Gallery, Downtown Kingston presented by Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau was decorated beautifully by Tai Flora and had a sufficient selection of Wines by Select Brands, but the service of food was slow and it arrived to tables cold. The Brunch was from 11am to 4pm and after a long day, patrons were leaving at 4pm and Dessert was just being served. Should the blame go on the Event Planner, the Chefs or both? It was stated that the execution was poor.
The Menu for Brunch at the Gallery (Photo Contributed)
The Presentation of some of the meals were also quite sloppy to say the least.
Vegetables and Greens served at Brunch at the Gallery last Sunday (Photo Contributed)
Did the Incredible Hulk have an accident here?! I was in disbelief and gathered that this was the consensus amongst most tables. This looked nothing like the neatly displayed dish on the Event’s social media page. Cold food, slow service and poor, unappetizing presentation is unacceptable for $20,000JMD. I believe things can be shaken up next year. There are so many other talented, efficient Chefs around and I understand the ambience of The National Gallery, but a change in venue could be considered as well.
Chargrilled Rack of Lamb Presented to a table at Brunch at the Gallery last Sunday (Photo Contributed)
Kudus to award-winning baker, Nadine Burie that probably saved both events. Her desserts are offered at Cafe Blue.
Fresh Fruit Pavlova by Nadine Burie (Photo Credit: @jafoodanddrink)
Setting bad news aside, persons fully enjoyed Meet Street and the Market in Downtown, Kingston ($500JMD entry)last Saturday. A patron said she did not know that Downtown could be so nice. The set up and atmosphere was phenomenal and the vendors outdid themselves.
Vendors that pleased at Meet Street and the Market Last Saturday in Downtown, Kingston
Pork Palooza ($6500JMD All Inclusive) at Palm Drive, Hope Gardens that kicked things off for the festival on the Saturday the week before was a hit. The event is usually the favourite for Patrons. Jamaicans love their Pork! It wasn’t the unanimous favourite this year though.
Which event took JFDF 2017?!
Close call! It has been narrowed down to the new event, Chop Stix ($5000JMD All Inclusive) held at Zen Lawn, Hope Zoo last Wednesday that featured fare from the far East and the zesty, Picante!
Based on Food, Weather and Vibe, Chop Stix gets the edge. Picante had the on and off rain, which was uncontrollable with provisions put in place, but Jamaicans love a new event.
The Chefs, Caterers and Restaurants delivered at Chop Stix! Here was the Menu if you missed it. Chop Stix can’t be missed next year!
So what’s next for my Foodies? Restaurant Week!
Yes, I know Restaurant Week has lost its steam. Marketing has been ongoing but should be revised, including the selection of Ambassadors. JFDF being so close to Restaurant Week definitely overshadowed it.
Menus for Restaurants are more of the same, but it makes your choices that much easier. The good ones will pop out at you. So that means you may need to make reservations quickly or maybe not, because places I called yesterday that are normally booked out weeks in advance seemed to have quite a bit of space left.
For now, I am leaving you with my recommendations for the Epicurean and Delectable Categories. Here you go!
Epicurean ($4300 +tax +gratuity +beverages)
> The Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston.
Despite inconsistencies in service and quality throughout the year, they have managed to keep a good reputation for Restaurant Week so far.
Sidenote: I do not think any Restaurant in Market Place should be placed in the Epicurean Category. The venue is far too casual and a long wait is usually expected.
Out of town? Marguerites by the Sea, Montego Bay. You should expect a spectacular dinner and service with a seaside or picturesque garden view.
There are some other reputable Restaurants listed, but the lack of creativity with their Menus were the deal breakers.
Delectable ($3800JMD +GCT +gratuity +beverages)
> Fromage Bistro on Hillcrest Avenue in Kingston.
Nirvanna Indian Cuisine, Centro-Courtyard by the Marriott and Black Orchid Restaurant at Eden Gardens would be secondary choices.
In the other city? Both options from Mobay are primary choices – Mystic Thai and The Houseboat Grill. So persons can choose between the two based on the Cuisine desired.
***Stay tuned for more Restaurant Week choices from Suga Lifestyle.***
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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Two Saturdays ago, I went to Black Orchid Restaurant, upstairs in Eden Gardens to redeem my Fine Vegetarian Cuisine Special for two.
My husband, Randy and I had the Fine Dining Restaurant to ourselves that night at 8:45pm.
Décor at The Black Orchid Restaurant
Our host/waiter for the night that emerged from the Tulips Restaurant downstairs was quite hospitable.
He took our order of Moussaka and Vegan Pasta, then realised instantly that they did not have Eggplant for the Special we already paid for.
Moussaka is a layered eggplant or potato-based dish that sometimes includes ground meat. Many versions have a top layer made like a custard. In Greece, the dish is layered and typically served hot. In Turkey, it is served warm or at room temperature after being sautéed and served like a casserole. The Arabs usually eat it cold.
Our host reassured us that they had a competent Chef who had experience working with the Cruiselines and that he would come to speak with us shortly. Chef Xavier got an idea about what we expected, i.e. the layered eggplant casserole and the Vegan Pasta, also with Eggplant and Parmesan. He told us that he knew what he would do for us even though he didn’t have Eggplant or Squash, but other vegetables.
To our surprise, about half an hour later, our host arrived with not two, but three dishes! I got both the Vegan Pasta and the Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. Randy had a Cheesy Eggplant Casserole as well, but his was a combination of other Cheeses since he told the Chef he didn’t mind which Cheese was used. Chef Xavier looked like he also found a small amount of Eggplant stashed away and had just enough to put in the Casseroles, but not the Vegan Pasta.
The Casseroles had a mixture of eggplant, other vegetables and potatoes in a freshly made tomato sauce layered with cheese. While the Vegan Pasta had a mixture of vegetables as well, topped of with grated parmesan cheese. All dishes had distinct flavours that pleased us both.
Sunday before last, Suga got out of cooking and took her husband to the Tulips Restaurant at Eden Gardens for Sunday dinner.
It had a quiet, comfortable atmosphere and televisions for entertainment.
Our waiter was extremely courteous and took our order at 7:40pm. He wanted to get our order in before a big group upstairs at the Black Orchid Restautant, which seems to share the same kitchen. We were the only diners at Tulips so that is worrying if they have more diners or a full house.
The Black Orchid Restaurant upstairs is fine dining with white glove service so even more pricey, while Tulips is casual dining with mainly Jamaican cuisine.
We had ordered the Oxtail & Beans with a side of baked potato and steamed vegetables and had a standard 20-minute wait.
Oxtail & Beans ($2429JMD incl. tx)
The Oxtail & Beans was expensive but we were given quite a healthy serving. It had too much oil in the gravy but it was still tasty and flavourful.
Sweet Potato Pudding
The Sweet Potato Pudding for dessert was delish.
For such a simple Restaurant I think they are too pricey.
They are open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. So if you are not watching the pocket too much and in the mood for some tasty, home cooking and would like to eat out in a low key atmosphere, give Tulips Restaurant at Eden Gardens a try.
Location: Eden Gardens Wellness Resort & Spa @ 39 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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With so many choices, to make a decision or decisions, it all comes down to reputable service, quality, ambience and ofcourse the menu.
Caffe Da Vincein The Marketplace is at the top of the ladder for SuGa. The menu choices look delicious for appetizers, entrees AND desserts. Eggplant Caprese salad, their infamous Seafood pasta, Chicken Lasagne, Beef Tenderloin, Pork Tenderloin, Flambe, Panna Cotta, Chocolate Mousse Cake and the list goes on. It will definitely be hard to choose dishes, but that’s a good thing.
Gimbilyn Restaurant at Alhambra Inn is not too far behind with an inviting menu including Shrimp salad, Ackee and Saltfish pockets, Tomato Bruschettas, Grilled Salmon, their signature Sirloin of Beef, topped off by some good looking dessert choices.
Fromage is looking good as well. Their standard of good quality food and service has been high this year. They ofcourse will offer their signature Blu Crab Cakes, Steak Au Poivre, salivating Caramel Crumble Bread pudding and more.
The Melting Pot Restaurant and Lounge at the Knutsford Court Hotel will have crispy Wonton Dumplings with corned pork and more. Roasted Air Line Breast stuffed with Smoked Turkey Pastrami, butter beans, pepper jack cheese and sundried tomatoes sounds flavourful. Seafood Portofino, Herb marinated Fillet with smoked Marlin and Chutney will also be there with a ‘rub your belly’ finish of Double Fudge Chocolate Cake, Rum Cream Cheese Cake or their Assorted Dessert Trio.
Black Orchid Restaurant at Eden Gardens may be under the radar, but this is one of the advantages of Restaurant Week. Go somewhere you haven’t been before and see what the restaurant has to offer. Their menu stands out with a few unique dishes. Citrus Quinoa salad, Ackee and Saltfish Puff Pastries and Crab Chowder are on their appetizer list. For the main course, they have a Peppercorn Crusted Striploin, Pan Seared Salmon and the interesting choice of a Garlic Shrimp Coconut Polenta. Dessert choices look decent as well.
Even if not chosen for Restaurant Week, restaurants that put themself out there are still recognized. Restaurant Week also provides a good outlet to promote or launch new dishes. The end of the year will definitely not go by before SuGa tries that orgasmic-looking Oxtail Lasagne offered at 689 By Brian Lumley on Wednesdays and Sundays!
Have fun supporting Brand Jamaica and our local chefs SuGa Readers!