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Also, great news! Café el Centro has resumed normal opening hours since July 1! Follow @cafeelcentro on Instagram. #SugaEndorsed
By: Gabrielle Burgess (Founder/Owner, Suga Lifestyle)
If you liked this Blog, follow Suga Lifestyle Online, on Instagram (@sugalifestyle), Twitter (@sugalifestyleja) or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.
Date & Time of Visit: Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 2:15pm.
No. of diners: 2
NB. Ratings fill 5 stars maximum
Value for $: ★★★★☆
Suga Endorsement: ★★★★☆
Comments: Manager, Tina Newman continues to be an exceptional hostess, making you feel right at home. The Smoked Marlin Salad was tasty and quite filling for a salad. My Grilled Sea Trout that was made to order, came out in 20 minutes as I was told it would. It was well seasoned and cooked. The mango salsa complemented it well. I was given the option of potato mash instead of the bammy and also had a freshly tossed vegetable salad on the side with their house-made vinaigrette. Cosy spot with satisfactory service and food. Value for money. #SugaEndorsed
Grilled Fish ($1800JMD +tx)
Café El Centro
Location: 8 Hillcrest Avenue
Opening hours: 9am – 10pm
By: Gabrielle Burgess
If you liked this Review, follow Suga Lifestyle or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.
About 2 Saturdays ago, Suga faced the famous question from her other half, ‘Where should we go for lunch?’. After the usual pondering for a few minutes, I mentioned that House of Loaves was having a New York ‘Halal’ Cart-Style day at Active Home Centre. His response when he looked at the ad showing that their food ranged from $800-$1500JMD was, ‘No sah. 15 bills for food from a truck that sells in New York for $7.99US and we can still sit down and have something nice somewhere else for that price or less?!’ He suggested Café El Centro above Fromage on Hillcrest avenue where friends have been going and enjoying their food, so I agreed to go.
Smoked Pork Chops enjoyed by a Suga Bear yesterday at Café El Centro Photo credit: Tennyson Arnold
We arrived at about 3:30pm and we were greeted pleasantly and seated. I instantly felt cosy in the quiet, quaint atmosphere with vintage décor. I loved the use of wooden palettes for the ceiling, hanging lanterns, decorated wooden signs on the walls and wine glasses hanging from the palettes in part of the ceiling above a wine and pastry cooler. All of this was complemented by a calming colour scheme of browns, beiges and a pastel green.
There were a few diners and one of them was enjoying Pancakes and Eggs beside us because they serve American-style Breakfast all day!
My husband and I were discussing items on the menu which they seemed to have revised again including items for dinner as well. The menu had quite a range of items including Paninis, Sandwiches and Wraps, Pastas, Soup, Snapper Fillet and Shrimp dishes, Pork Chops and more. The prices quoted were tax inclusive as well.
The diner beside us overheard us trying to decide and since I mentioned that I felt for a Wrap, she said that their Chicken Roti Wrap was really good. So my husband ordered the Lamb Burger with fries, which you can get with a wheat bun ($1200JMD) and I ordered the Curried Chicken Roti Wrap with veggies on the side ($950JMD).
Our food arrived quickly and the manager, Tina Newman who took our order was very attentive. She was Professional but friendly at the same time. She gave my husband the option of having Mint jelly on the side, which she brought and I also ordered their homemade Lemonade ($300JMD) that was refreshing.
The Curried Chicken Roti Wrap was very tasty and did not kill me with pepper, it had just the right amount of spice that I enjoyed. I liked that the veggies were fresh as well.
The Lamb was tender and flavourful for the the Lamb Burger, the bun was fresh and it was appreciated that the meat filled the bun perfectly. Not many places get the meat and bun proportion right.
Even though we were sitting and chatting after our meal, our table was cleared quickly. The Chef came out and asked for our feedback, which was positive.
Tina came back over to our table and told us about their Steak night that they started on Fridays. Since Medusas is now closed, the same Chef Robin Rickhi does Steak night and I know his Steaks are succulent and he has a special marinated seasoning.
We were told they face the demand for Steak on other days so she said you can call in your order early if you wish to do so and the Chef there will whip it up for you, whether you are ordering steak or not.
The newlyweds had a delightful experience and we will return.
A. Hawaiian Lamb & Lamb Soup (Flambé 29/4/15); B. Lamb Shank at Caffe da Vince; C. Patrons enjoying Flambé; D. Neville Graham, a Dir. of NCR Sheep Ltd. at work on the farm
NCR (Neville Graham, Carlington Wright, Richard Smith) Sheep Ltd. started hosting the event Flambé about 2 years ago in order to decrease excess inventory and to get more Jamaicans to try lamb. A lot of patrons have tasted lamb for the first time at Flambé.
The venue of Flambé used to be at a house either on Marley Close or in Beverley Hills. However, the word has gotten out more and Flambé is now held at a bigger and extremely central, convenient location at the Caribbean School of Medical Sciences on 8 Waterloo Road. The number of patrons are continuously growing and upon my visit last Wednesday, when I arrived at about 8:20pm and stayed until 10pm, I noticed that there was a steady flow of people who rolled in and out.
So, on the last Wednesday of every month that usually falls on or soon after pay-day, what better way to treat yourself than going to Flambé? It won’t dig a hole into your pay cheque that’s for sure. So you can go, full your belly, mingle with some friends, family or co-workers and leave with an almost full wallet too.
The event starts at 6pm and usually ends at 9pm. Some persons leave straight from work, arrive as early as 5:30pm and wait until the food is ready so they can pick up and go. They find it convenient because they got dinner to go and at that time, most of the traffic would have subsided. While most of the people who wish to hang around and mingle after they eat usually arrive around 7pm.
The menu is comprised of lamb cooked in a variety of ways at an extremely reasonable price. Curried lamb ($400JMD), Hawaiian lamb ($400JMD), Jerked lamb ribs ($500JMD per 1/4 pound), Lamb Burger ($350JMD), Lamb soup ($100JMD) were available at the last Flambé held on April 29, 2015. Water and mixed drinks were on sale as well.
Over the years I have tasted all of the above mentioned. I always found the various options to be tasty and the meat to be fresh and tender. I had the Hawaiian lamb and Jerked lamb ribs with lamb soup last Wednesday. The soup was tasty and spicy but did not have a lot of meat. It doesn’t usually but you taste the ‘essence’ of the lamb. The Jerked Lamb ribs could use a bit more seasoning and sauce was lacking that particular night. That was not the issue with the Hawaiian lamb though, as it had a lovely flavour and sauce. Sides included in the meal served are usually Pumpkin rice and Spaghetti. However, I would love to see a change in side options offered from time to time, perhaps a nice salad, mashed, baked or roasted potatoes, plain rice with the Curried lamb etc. One of the Directors, Neville Graham mentioned that he does the cooking along with his Operations Manager, Delroy McKay. So it seems they have shied away from anything extravagant but at least he mentioned that they are open to providing different options.
I relaxed a bit after eating, mingled with friends and persons that I haven’t had the opportunity to see recently and enjoyed the background music. There was a sound system set up and I definitely appreciated the volume not being loud and the selection played. It was really a comfortable, casual atmosphere and if you are trying to escape the summer heat in the house, the wind seemed to be blowing that way. The venue is out in the open and it was quite cool.
About 35 pounds of fresh lamb is used for the event. Slaughtered lamb is not usually sold after 2 weeks. So the lamb from NCR Sheep isn’t only fresh, but it is unique in that it is local! Large companies such as Caribbean Producers Jamaica (CPJ) Meats sell imported lamb.
Lamb from NCR Sheep can also be consumed at the renowned Round Hill Hotel, Montego Bay, popular restaurants, bars and cafes such as Opa!, Saffron, 689 by Brian Lumley, Caffé da Vince, Tamarind, JoJo’s Jerk Pit and More, The Wine Shop, Cafe el Centro, Pushpa’s, Ribbiz Ultra Lounge and even by Hopeton the ‘Jerk Man’ at Northside Plaza.
Contact NCR Sheep Ltd. for lamb at 876.548.1178 (Ph.) or email@example.com (email). You can also like their Facebook page, ‘NCR Sheep Ltd.’ to keep updated with NCR Sheep Ltd. events.