It has been a while, but I am still upset about the poor service from ChezMax Catering and Toss & Roll Salad Bar over a Gustazo they offered towards the end of last year.
ChezMax offered $1299JMD for 2 Wraps (Wheat, Spinach, Tomato, Basil etc.) OR Caesar salads with your choice of meat + 2 Strawberry, Mocha or Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothies, Coconut Water or Sorrel with Ginger + 1 Banana Bread that expired December 2, 2016.
My experiences with both establishments were similar, besides the fact that communication with ChezMax was over the phone and that with Toss & Roll was face to face.
My coworker and I love to have something different on Fridays, so I called ChezMax two Fridays before the expiration date and was told they had no ingredients for the Smoothies. I was really looking forward to the Smoothies so I was assured that they should have some the following week. When I called back the following Friday I was told that they still could not offer any of the Smoothies because everything had finished with the large amount of Gustazos being used and it’s almost the final week.
I explained that whether or not it is the final week or day, they should be prepared for the demand, as persons have already spent their money expecting to get a choice from ALL of what was offered.
I already had plans for lunch the following Friday and with the staff’s nonchalant response on the phone and her still being adamant that it was because of the Gustazos, I was not going to wait another week where even less may have been available. I also told her not to argue with the Customer because the Customer is always right, especially since they are in the Customer Service business. I like value for my money so what they did could have been interpreted as false advertising, because as far as I know, persons buy Gustazos based on the guaranteed value of what they are getting at discounted rates.
They delivered the lunch on time for a $200JMD additional charge. I had the Spinach Wrap with Jerked Chicken, Coconut Water and Banana Bread. The Banana Bread was tasty but the Wrap had enough vegetables to feed a rabbit and the Chicken didn’t have a memorable taste so I wasn’t impressed and will never order from them again.
Toss & Roll Salad Bar
Toss & Roll offered $1399JMD for 2 Main Dishes with a choice of 12″ Wheat or Spinach Wrap with your choice of Meat (Grilled or Jerked Chicken); Sweet and Sour Grilled Chicken; Sweet Chili Chicken served with vegetables or pumpkin rice and toss salad + 2 Natural Juices or Cranwatas + 1 Granola Bar that expired on December 21, 2016.
Over the holidays I was busier than expected, but on one particular day I needed a Wrap that was convenient to eat while I had to drive and run errands. I remembered my Toss & Roll Gustazo expired that day so I went there about 3pm. No Wraps, Cranwatas or Granola Bars were available, all of which I wanted. I was not amused and more upset since this was the 2nd issue within 1 month involving not getting my value for money with a Gustazo and food. Not to mention, I was also very hungry. Take note that some persons may even forget they bought a Gustazo for food because they try to save it for the right moment so it almost feels like a free meal of your choice. When that illusion of a free meal is not granted after being so excited that the day has come to get it, no matter how cheap it is, if it isn’t available, people can become not only upset but disappointed. Gustazos are used to help market what places have to offer so they leave a bad impression when they have poor service and do not deliver what persons bought.
At Toss & Roll I was told I could only get the Chicken dishes and Natural juices. Perhaps they thought since food was still available then that was a sufficient substitute. It was not because that was not what I had in mind, even when I bought the Gustazo.
The cashier had quite a sour face and attitude. She did not check into a resolution since they owe me a granola bar and I could hear her complaining to the Chef. At least the Sweet Chili Chicken was spicy and flavourful and the Juneplum Juice was refreshing and not too sweet, but half of the rice and veggies were left on my car seat and floor mat dodging a pothole. So as simple as it may have seemed, the substitute dish was an inconvenience.
Both experiences were reported to Gustazos but no follow up with me was made. I am hoping that establishments in the future only offer what they can handle and Gustazos finds a way to ensure that is so.
● ChezMax Catering
Location: 2 College Green Avenue
Ph.: 876-585-5996; 876-977-3090
● Toss & Roll Salad Bar
Location: 75 Hope Road. Kingston 6.
Ph.: 876-879-3310; 876-539-6886
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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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.
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.
Last Saturday, I visited One Love Cafe inside of Bob Marley Museum at about 3:30pm for the Nyam and Scram Category of Restaurant week.
One Love Cafe is offering Sandwiches/Wraps and a Freshly made drink for $1000JMD.
There were only a few people dining including tourists, so I was excited to know I should get through quickly. Not sure if much people know about this spot yet but you should. Easy, accessible parking in the middle of the day on a Saturday and quick service in a comfortable, safe environment.
The dynamic duo of Mood Sky a.k.a. Maurice and Steve greeted me pleasantly and had lovely, rootsy personalities. It was my first visit there and I felt like a regular.
They were out of Fish so I ordered the Jerked Chicken Wrap that was ready within 5 minutes! I had the choice of adding Mozzarella, Pepperjack or Cheddar cheese and I chose the Pepperjack. I chose my veggies as well and was asked if I wanted Pineapple in my Wrap. I am not a fan of Pineapple if I am not eating it just as a fruit, i.e. by itself so said no thanks, but Mood Sky encouraged me to try it because it brings out the taste. He was right! The pineapple complemented the Jerked Chicken in a tasty way, adding even more flavour to the well seasoned Jerked Chicken with the perfect amount of spice. The sauce was nice and quelled the spicy flavour a bit. The Wrap was also a decent size and filling.
They had the Ginger Lion, Carrot and Tamarind juices available. I asked for the Ginger Lion and to ensure I was happy with my choice, Steve offered me a sample that made me even more happy with my decision. He told me it was the better version of a Ginger Beer and it was indeed.
What else does One Love Cafe have to offer on a regular basis?
They have a Plasma screen that displays their menu clearly. They do Melts, Wraps, Burgers and Sandwiches such as Mozzarella and Mushroom Melts, Veggie/Fish/Turkey/Chicken Burgers, Egg Sandwiches, Garden and Chicken salads and more, all for $800JMD or less. Freshly made Juices cost $400JMD and they also make Smoothies for the Fitness Junkies.
It was a refreshing, interactive experience and I look forward to returning. One Love!
Two friends, Cameca Samuels and Leisha Patrick fused their dreams into a Café. They were a nominee for Jamaica Observer’s Mogul in the Making last year. Though not educated in the Culinary Arts, Leisha is the Chef with skills acquired from working at restaurants in the United States. Initially, Cameca, an Interior Decorator managed the marketing and maintenance of the business and ofcourse kept it looking cosy for customers.
Café Fusion has been open for a little bit over a year now on 12 Ruthven Road. It seems Cameca has become extremely busy with Interior Decorating, so Leisha is now managing the business for the most part. A bit evident in terms of the wall decor looking a bit lacklustre. But not to worry, a piece or two from GW Art will be there soon.
I visited last Saturday for a Sub Sandwich. Leisha seemed to be the only person working but she greeted me upon entry, seemed calm and was quite pleasant. There was a slow flow of customers, which she seemed to be handling well. I was made aware she has an assistant, so perhaps she was on a break.
The Café felt comfortable while I waited on my Turkey Sub, but I didn’t have time to eat there so ordered my Sub Sandwich to-go. I got it quickly. It did not look appealing and the Sub bread was flat, but it was tasty and quite filling.
The cost was $650JMD, less than most places for that size. So since the Sub was tasty and I was full afterwards, accompanied by great customer service, looks didn’t matter. I was quite satisfied and would return.
Y.not.pita in Courtyard 71 on Lady Musgrave Road and Subway in Liguanea, continue to be two of the few places that prepare food right in front of your eyes. The service is good at both establishments. There is a wide variety of toppings for sandwiches at Subway and wraps at Y.not.pita. However they both lack a variety of cheese. Subway only had the White American cheese two weeks ago and the Cheddar cheese was finished at Y.not.pita 3 weeks ago. I expected better from Subway, being an American franchise that usually offers four types of cheese. Despite that issue, the wraps and sandwiches were tasty, fresh and filling from both. The Italian herb cheese bread from Subway was awesome!
They also offer Pizza and Salads, various combos with drinks and Soup (Y.not.pita) or Chips (Subway). So persons can get a decent meal or combo for $1200JMD or less. Subway also gives customers punch cards, so after a few meals you can get one free. Keep it fresh!
A few weeks ago at about 8:30pm, I finally visited Asia’s Café, found in the middle of York Pharmacy on Half Way Tree Road. The restaurant will be opened for a year this December 15th. The news spread fast upon their opening since they are open 24/7 and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner options, sandwiches, salads and various pastries and beverages. It’s also convenient for patients visiting the pharmacy and nearby 24/7 doctor’s offices. The seating area is small so it’s usually order-to go.
For such a small establishment, I noticed a huge menu with affordable items. There were Breakfast items such as Eggs etc., Soups, Salads for $600JMD, OMG Burger for $550JMD, dishes such as Shrimp/Jerk Chicken Pasta and Chicken Lasagna ranging from $700-800JMD, standard Box lunch dishes such as Fried and Roasted Chicken, side orders such as Garlic bread, Potato wedges and Potato salad ranging from $70-$220JMD. They also offer both hot and cold Beverages, as well as Milk Shakes with different flavours for $450JMD. There is a good variety of pastry for $250JMD each including Brownies, Muffins, Banana Breads, Cookies, Cakes, Bread Puddings, you name it. Everything seemed more than reasonable except for some regular Chicken and Turkey Sandwiches that any mother could make and send their child to school with for $550 and $600JMD! Oh no. The same can be found in Mega Mart for $250JMD.
My friend and I ordered the Conch soup ($170JMD tx incl.), Roasted Chicken ($550JMD tx incl.) and Pineapple Jerked Chicken wrap ($550JMD tax incl.). The server came to us a few minutes after, telling us there was no more Conch, but we already made the order and we were ready to grab and go. While we waited, I scanned the room and saw some diners with a large ‘box lunch’ serving of Shrimp Pasta. The Penne looked dry. I braved it and asked one of the ladies how she found it and I said it looked a little dry. She responded, ‘It is awful! Not nice at all, it neida dry nor wet’. We laughed and she then shared her sentiments with the server who told the chef. He said he would redo their order, which was a decent response instead of the ‘I’m sorry to hear’ that can’t buy soldier lorry response. Hopefully there was some improvement.
Although the staff was neither pleasant nor hostile, they said all orders take 7-10 minutes and they stuck to their word, because my food was ready in no time. I saw a quick turn over with other customers as well.
The soup was a bit too salty and ofcourse lacking conch. The Roast Chicken was good but the rice and peas was dry. The Jerk Chicken wrap was tasty and spicy.
Asia’s Café is definitely a good place to get reasonable, decent food on the go, but they should leave the elaborate things to fine dining restaurants, hence reduce their menu size and improve on the quality of remaining items.
Ph#: 876-929-3568 / 876-929-5961
Address: Located inside York Pharmacy, Half-Way Tree, Kingston