Two Tuesdays ago I visited OPA’s new location at Devon House, which is on the right side after you enter through the front gate. Persons are familiar with that area formerly known as the Devonshire.
The Restaurant was quiet and cosy. I loved the ambience outdoors, similar to a deck in the backyard by the garden. Despite that, we sat indoors. Diners were present but it was not a full house.
The staff were quiet but professional and welcoming. I suppose they were a balance in personality to the owner, Alexx Antaeus who is quite eloquent but warm and friendly.
The menu still consists of Greek favourites from the old location such as Grilled Fish and other Entrées, Pizzas, Pastas and Salads. Not much has changed in that regard. However, the menu has expanded to include additional Mediterranean cuisine options such as Paellas and more.
We ordered a Starter that consisted of 4 Greek Dips served with homemade Pita Bread ($10.35US/$1324JMD) that they make fresh daily with extra virgin olive oil. The Dips were Tzatziki (yoghurt, cucumber, garlic), Tyrokafteri (spicy feta cheese), Revithia (Chick peas, scallions, lemon juice) and Skordalia (garlic, potato). They were all quite tasty and appetizing but I enjoyed the Feta dip the most.
Alexx took our orders by memory and not by hand, which was quite impressive. He offered assistance to anyone who had difficulty deciding what they needed to order and also wanted to put our orders in quickly to the kitchen. He gave us a heads up that they may take a little while.
Well a little while was an hour. Usually we would have gotten ourselves worked up and probably left already, but some of my friends were visiting and we had a lot to catch up on before they left the next day. The Appetizer dips could only go so far and we were sipping on some vino from their list, which seems to have a decent range and selection as usual. We tried the Lamb Gyros Stix ($7.75US/$992JMD) too. That was a small but succulent serving of well seasoned Lamb.
Not only do I respect that we were given the heads up on the wait, but we were checked on periodically and given a joke or two to keep the atmosphere light, like our stomachs at the time.
Finally, attempting to have a healthy night, I had the Psari Sharas (Fresh Grilled Snook basted with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. I’ve had that dish before at Opa, so it wasn’t anything new, but the good quality in taste remained the same and it was just the right portion served with Skordalia (a purée with potatoes etc.) and Greek salad ($20.30US/$2598JMD).
My friends explored other dishes that they enjoyed such as the Gyros entrée of Lean ground Pork served with Tzatziki, Greek salad, Potatoes and Pita ($19.50US/$2495JMD), Shrimp Penne Pasta with minty cream sauce ($23.40US/$2995JMD) and the Kotosouvlaki entrée consisting of Grilled Chicken Breast on a skewer served with Pita, Greek salad and Tzatziki (19.45US/2489JMD).
There was only one unhappy camper who ordered the Kotsi, a slow-baked Lamb Shank infused with lemon, olive oil and garlic served with sautéed vegetables and potatoes ($27.30US/$3494JMD).
Some persons may say they get small servings at OPA, but it really depends on what you order. My friend did not expect such a huge Lamb Shank. While that would make the usual person happy to dig in, being quite petite in size, it was daunting for her.
When Alexx checked on the table a little after we started eating, he asked her what was wrong and she explained. Without hesitation he wanted to know how he could make her happier and she agreed with his suggestions of converting the dish into a Lamb Pasta with her preferred tomato sauce and Penne Pasta. He returned quickly to the table with the transformed dish that he whipped up in the kitchen himself and even gave her some to go in a box so it wouldn’t be too much for her at once. She now joined us as an impressed and satisfied diner.
In discussion with Alexx, we were made aware that they source their meat locally from The Meat Experts Ltd. That is a good look. Meat Experts operates out of St. Ann and they have been making quite a name for themselves with their local, high quality, hormone-free meats.
Then just when we thought Alexx couldn’t be a more hospitable host, he asked if we were dining to celebrate an occasion. He was told my Birthday was coming up and he shared that his was coming up the day before. Fancy that.
He returned with a few members of staff and demanded that everyone get their cameras out and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, while he presented me with complimentary Baklava dessert (Filo layered with chopped walnuts and sweetened with honey). That was a kind gesture. I enjoyed all the love and the Dessert.
I get the feeling something may have been awry with the kitchen or staff that night so I would not let the long wait smear my first experience at the new location. The food was authentic and delicious and I appreciated the great service otherwise. So I will return.
I especially have to have some Drinks by the adjoined Reggae Mill Bar, also owned by Alex, since we missed out on it the last time as we wrapped it up early on the week night.
It has been a while now that Kushite’s Vegetable Cuisine has settled into their spacious location at Eden Gardens. From about 2 years ago, I enjoyed Lunch from them once in a while, which was delivered from their small establishment on Phoenix Avenue. I am happy I finally got to visit their location on Lady Musgrave Road with my husband a few weeks ago on Saturday, May 13th for Dinner.
As we stepped in, we were immediately impressed with the tasteful, detailed décor, no pun intended. I admired the art work and enjoyed the ambience and comfortable seating.
Our hostess, waitress and also co-principal of Kushites, Keisha McDonald, was pleasant and well informed as expected with regards to their menu.
Their Jerked Beet Pizza ($2500JmD) is a known pleaser, along with their Sicilian Pita Burger ($1800JMD) and Lentil Balls in Mexican Mole Sauce ($1900JMD).
We ordered a few minutes after 9pm and we had a visual of the Chef, Mr. Kush Tafari himself. We could see the food was prepared fresh and when it arrived in reasonable time after ordering, we could taste just that.
My husband enjoyed his tasty Callaloo and Mushroom in Tomato Cups paired with Quinoa. He had that with a refreshing glass of Lemon Grass Lemonade.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Sicilian Pita Burger that is a favourite at Kushites. Everything combined was a burst of flavour. The cilantro cream ‘cheese’ sauce definitely gave it a delicious kick of hot and spicy and was a perfect pair for the sweet potato Piri Piri chips. The taste buds then got a little chance to cool down with the black beans and were tickled with the taste of olives.
Both meals were healthy and filling. As a fitness enthusiast, I appreciated the creative use of the ‘Good Carbs’, such as the Sweet Potato used to make the Piri Piri chips, the Pita Bread that was either Whole Grain or Whole Wheat and the Quinoa. The Black Beans and Callaloo are also great sources of fibre. The Black Beans especially, though a protein, has slow-release carbs like other healthy beans. Then ofcourse, they were alongside veggies. What was missing for me? A little fruit. This void was fully satisfied with the Jackfruit Hemp smoothie that had even more Protein. The smoothie was well balanced, as the taste of the Jackfruit was not overpowering.
Last Thursday, Kushites won the Award for ‘Best Place for Vegetarian’ at the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards and Suga definitely endorses them for that. Congrats to Kush Tafari, Keisha McDonald and the team!
Go and give Kushites a visit today and continue to have a healthy week!
Kushite’s Vegetable Cuisine
Location: 39 Lady Musgrave Road (Inside Eden Gardens)
Ph: 876-375-0642; 876-631-9101
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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