It was a pleasure to return to Jamaica Liquor Warehouse for Lunch 2 Saturdays ago and still experience good quality food and service.
Their tasty, Plantain Bruschetta is a delightful starter that can be shared.
The healthy, Lentil Stew was delish. The Pumpkin rice pilaf was dry though.
They altered the Crispy Fried Boneless Chicken Breast ($1750JMD) on the menu to a Grilled Chicken Breast for my other half, which he was satisfied with. It was served with Garlic mashed potato and sautéed vegetables.
Their Mint Lemonade was a Refreshing Creeper!
The Bread pudding was no Fromage Bread pudding. It was missing that gastronomic crumble on top. But it’s texture was phenomenal and it went down even smoother with the ice cream on the side. Two thumbs up!
Jamaica Liquor Warehouse, Deli & Bar
Location: 17 Lindsay Crescent, Kingston
Opening hours for Deli & Warehouse: Fridays: 11am – 12 midnight;
Saturdays: 9am – 12 midnight;
N.B. Kitchen closes an hour before 12 midnight
Tuesdays to Thursdays: 11am-10:30pm
***Closed on Mondays***
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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My husband, Randy wanted to treat me to Dinner for my Birthday a few weeks ago. I preferred to go somewhere that I hadn’t been before, so I checked my list and chose the Courtyard by Marriott that is by Emancipation Park.
On Saturday, June 10 at 8pm, we arrived at the Marriott to pleasant greetings and clean, modern décor.
I immediately noticed that there was access to televisions in the seating booths. I was happy I could see the races from the Racers Grand Prix up close and did not have to cut dinner short or keep walking to the Bar counter to see the races properly.
We ordered soon after we browsed the menu and everything arrived to the table like clockwork.
Soups, Salads, Appetizers, Snacks & Sandwiches
Randy had the Chef’s Soup of the Day, which was a Vegetable Soup ($5.50US). It was a big serving that was tasty and he enjoyed it.
I had the Zesty Fried Shrimp with a flavourful Passion fruit sauce for $12US.
They have Salad Options that range from $9.50US to $12.50US and Appetizers such as Quesadillas, Wings and thin crust Pizza that range from $6.50US to $10.50US. They also offer Sandwiches and Burgers a bit less than $16US.
I had the Smoked House Bliss that included Smoked Salmon, Smoked Chicken and Smoked Turkey tossed in a creamy Alfredo sauce ($23US).
I appreciated the fact that my Alfredo sauce was light and I loved the pronounced flavours of the Smoked Meats in the Pasta, which were not lost in the sauce.
I enjoyed my dinner with a Hummingbird, which was not on the Drinks menu, but the Bartender agreed to make it and did a good job too.
My husband also lucked out with the Classical Duo ($30US) consisting of succulent Garlic Shrimp complemented by a delightful sauce and deliciously seasoned, Braised Beef Ribs with a Red Wine sauce. He enjoyed his main with a strong Rum Punch.
Other Entrées included a variety of Pastas with costs ranging from $15.50US to $23US and a variety of Rib dishes ranging from $22US to $30US. There were also options such as Garlic Shrimp ($29.50US), Grilled Salmon for $25.50US, Pork Chops ($25US), Hoisin Glazed Snapper ($18.50US), Southern Fried Chicken ($19.50US) and most interestingly, Spiked Over-Proof Curried Goat for $22US.
More Birthday Dessert for Suga!
The pleasant lady in charge who seemed like the Maître d’, came to our table mid-course, wished me Happy Birthday since she took the reservation and also ensured that service was going well. She then told us that our Dessert would be Complimentary for my Birthday and we should enjoy and return to the Marriott soon.
Randy and I shared the Oreo Cheesecake, which was divine!
Other Dessert choices on the menu included Cakes, Puddings and Fruit medleys thatranged from $5.50-$6.50US.
Marriott is pricey but totally worth it. The food was delicious across the board with good presentation and our waiter, Andrew was very attentive and courteous throughout our courses. #sugaendorsed.
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.
Sunday before last, Suga Bear, Randy Burgess stopped by Las Vegas Cafe in St. Elizabeth for Lunch at 2:30pm.
Parking was sufficient and décor was rustic with a touch of old tavern accentuated by the view of the seaside.
There were a few other guests, both locals and tourists.
The staff were not necessarily courteous but they weren’t rude or inattentive either. So they could improve on their Southern hospitality.
Las Vegas Cafe specialises in Seafood. If you order Fish, you are given the option to choose your fish.
Randy ordered Coconut Garlic Shrimp with Steam Bammy ($1800JMD tx incl.) and his friend ordered Coconut Garlic Conch with Steam Bammy ($1800JMD tx incl.).
Even though their dishes were done to order, it did not take an extremely long time to arrive. The Suga Bears enjoyed their Lunch. The Shrimps were noticeably fresh as one would expect from St. Elizabeth and well seasoned. The Bammy was well steamed with a texture that was just right and the sauce had a good balance of Coconut and Garlic, with neither overpowering the taste of the Seafood.
Value for Money? Suga Bear, Randy rated Las Vegas Cafe a 3/5.
If traveling through the South Coast, I think it is safe to take a detour or stop by Las Vegas Cafe for a tasty and filling serving of Seafood.
Las Vegas Cafe
Location: 70 Crane Road (Close to Salt Spring), St. Elizabeth. Jamaica
Opening Hours: 11am-11pm
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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Suga finally got to visit Mystic Thai in Montego Bay with her cousin a little over a month ago. The Restaurant has gotten rave reviews since it opened its doors about summer last year.
It was a rainy Saturday night on May 6th at about 9pm. My cousin, Tina Davis, who is no stranger to their Lunch Specials walked into familiar territory, while I was instantly impressed by the modern décor consisting of elegant Thai silk lanterns and comfortable seating. The heavy rains probably kept away most diners but a few were still there and I appreciated the spacious environment and ambience.
Our host and waitress were extremely polite and we were also greeted by the owner, Mrs. Kareena Mahbubani. She offered suggestions according to the pairings of the Curry with various meats and told us that their Green Thai Curry is a favourite amongst her diners. So of course I decided to have it.
We started off with Shrimp and Scallion Dumplings ($10USD) and Mushroom Basil Dumplings ($8USD). They take a little while because they are steamed and they came out steaming indeed. They were delicious with the accompanying sauces to add flavour of your liking, whether spicy, salty or sweet.
We then had Crispy Fried Okra infused with Lemongrass, which was surprisingly and absolutely delightful.
We moved on to our Mains of Chicken in Green Thai Curry ($12USD) and Duck in Red Thai Curry ($18USD), along with Rice and Stir Fried Veggies. I cannot forget to mention our Johnny Walker Mojitos from the Bar that were deliciously refreshing.
Note that I mentioned the Rice, because diners at Mystic Thai and some other Indian Restaurants may notice and wonder why they are charged for Rice separately. Other than wondering what else are you to eat with the meats, there is the comparison to Chinese Restaurants where you get Rice in abundance. Mystic Thai uses Jasmine rice that soaks up the flavour of the gravies and the quality of local rice which is less expensive and used by the Chinese Restaurants is totally different.
Diners at Mystic Thai also like to mix and match their sides, not necessarily ordering Rice. Quinoa for about $6USD is a healthy option as well as Steamed Vegetables. For now, a serving of Jasmine rice is an additional $3USD, but Mystic Thai will give diners the option to decide on their own soon by offering local rice with their Lunch Specials.
With regards to the Curries we chose, the popular Green Thai Curry is a blend of fresh Green Chillies, Galangal, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Lemongrass and Thai herbs. While the Red Thai Curry is the most versatile of the Thai Curries and is a blend of dried Red Chillies, Kaffir Lime Rind, Coriander Root and Cumin.
We enjoyed the exquisite blend of infused flavours that complemented each other so well. The good thing about dining at Mystic Thai is that they encourage Family style dining so the portion/serving sizes are appropriate for sharing and of course treats your tastebuds to so many different flavours. None of the flavours are overpowering either, as they balance each other out.
I was impressed with the attentiveness of the staff and overall commendable service. The owner, Kareena had such a warm and regal presence in the Restaurant, that I was propelled to give her a call for a follow up discussion about my intriguing experience.
Most of you may know that Kareena is no stranger to the business. She is also the owner of Mystic India in Whitter Village, Ironshore, Montego Bay. She studied Hotel Management in Mumbai, India and knew that she wanted to own a Restaurant from a very young age.
Kareena enjoys Thai cuisine so decided to open Mystic Thai in addition to Mystic India.
Indian cuisine is considered to be fattening so as a fitness enthusiast that endures the struggle of being a foodie, I came to understand that Thai Cuisine is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. This must explain why instead of feeling heavy and full as I often do after indulging in Indian cuisine, I felt satisfied but still light after our dinner at Mystic Thai.
What makes Thai Cuisine healthy?
Natural and fresh ingredients are paired with a variety of spices, herbs and vegetables. Examples of such are turmeric, galangal, coriander, lemongrass and fresh chillies that have immune-boosting and disease-fighting power.
At Mystic Thai, everything is made to order and all the spices, herbs and vegetables are prepped fresh every morning. Their gravies are made daily. Note that at least 16 different ingredients are used in every dish so there is a lot that goes into their preparation and she has quite an efficient team. Indian cuisine on the other hand uses five basic gravies that are made and stored.
The meats are usually grilled or put on the wok, which is the pot used for various methods of cooking Asian cuisine, whether it may be stir frying, boiling, steaming, roasting etc. The temperature on the wok is so high that the meats or vegetables only need a minute or two on it, resulting in all the nutrients being preserved.
With all healthiness aside, note that we still had dessert!
We closed dinner with a tasty Chocolate Mousse. I didn’t get the chance to have the Fruit and Nut Chocolate Naan from the Restaurant’s Indian dessert menu, so I will definitely be returning for that one, which seems to a favourite as well.
A few weeks ago, Mystic Thai received the award for ‘Best Ethnic Restaurant’ at The Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards along with a favourite of mine in Kingston, Nirvanna Indian Cuisine.
Congratulations to Kareena and her staff at Mystic Thai! Well deserved. It is definitely the place in Jamaica to get Authentic Thai and Asian cuisine. #sugaendorsed
Mystic Thai (Asian & Thai Cuisine)
Location: B11 – Fairview Towne Centre Unit, Montego Bay