Date and time of visit: Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 1:00pm
No. of diners: 3
NB. Ratings fill 5 stars maximum and the criteria has been altered since it is a Pop-Up Kitchen
Food quality: ★★★★☆
Serving amount: ★★★★☆
Value for $: ★★★★★
SuGa Endorsement: ★★★★☆
Rich flavours were present throughout the dishes. Pleasant, courteous Chef. Superior service, speed and food quality. Serving amounts were adequate for a reasonable cost, as some meals were shareable. Chef Enric is from Valencia and he represents! Suga and friends enjoyed authentic Valencian Paella.
From what I know, Chef Enric Escriva has been on the Jamaican culinary scene since January last year. Until he gets a suitable spot for his restaurant, he has been catering and doing Pop-up kitchens. I Love Paella is currently and temporarily in what used to be Cafe Nita’s space on Phoenix Avenue. So there is limited indoor and outdoor seating. The latter is the more comfortable choice with the hope of good weather.
I met two of my girlfriends for lunch around 1pm. Chef Enric greeted us politely and took us through the menu in which all prices included G.C.T. They did not have a Drinks menu, but basic drinks were available including wine, a simple white and red. We ordered a bottle of Chardonnay. They also have a Party Menu for groups.
The starters ranged from $850 – $1400JMD in cost, with some being shareable. Starters included Calamari, Tortillas, Croquetas and more.
We shared Bravas, a classic Valencian dish made from Fried Potatoes, a spicy brava sauce and allioli.
We also enjoyed the Empanadas, freshly made artisan stuffed pastries. The Chicken Empanadas were stuffed with smoked paprika chicken and served with brava sauce. While the Black Bean Empanadas were stuffed with spicy black bean and served with allioli sauce. The sauces were on point!
We went specifically for Paella so that’s what we had. The Paellas are done to order, cooked and served in the traditional Paella pan that can serve 2 – 3 persons. However, prices shown on the menu are per person ranging from $2250JMD for the Vegetarian Paella to $3250JMD for the Seafood Paella with black rice from the squid’s ink.
That Seafood Paella was as delicious as it looks with just the right amount of spiciness.
They don’t just serve Paella though. There are other mains available such as larger Tortillas and Empanadas ($1600JMD), Calamari sandwiches ($2400JMD) and Mediterranean salads ($1900JMD).
After all that spice, our palates demanded a bit of sweet. We completed lunch with Churros and Dark Chocolate. Fantastic ending to our lunch.
I Love Paella Pop-Up Kitchen
Contact via Social Media messaging or Ph: 876-404-2867
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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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.
I revisited Aladin Restaurant for dinner a little over a month ago because it is one of my husband’s favourites. The last time I visited was before the expansion of the dining area. It’s quite a cosy spot now.
Service was quick. We ordered at 5:15pm, our Lentil soup came out at 5:25pm and our entrée right after.
I had the Chicken Shawarma ($1450JMD + tx) and my husband had the Beef Shawarma ($1500.00JMD+tx). Both were well seasoned and had that Mediterranean kick to them. They were tasty, filling dishes. Persons without big appetites are sure to take a doggy bag home.
Aladin is a simple, comfortable oasis in Liguanea Plaza where you can order lunch or dinner online for pick up or before you dine for even quicker service.