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ALCHEMY – CROYDON

ALCHEMY – CROYDON

Cuisine: Jamaican/Vincentian Average price pp: £6.95-£10 What’s better than eating Caribbean food? Eating Caribbean food in unlimited amounts for £6.95 per person. This astonishing and brilliant deal is available at Alchemy in Croydon from Tuesday-Friday 12pm to 5pm. On Saturdays and Saturdays they transform into…

CHEF W. SIMPSON

CHEF W. SIMPSON

Chef W. Simpson is the Head Executive Chef at BB Kings Bar and Grill in Times Square, New York City. He was born in Clarendon, Jamaica and has been residing in New York for 15 years. Simpson has cooked for big stars such as Jay-Z…

HOW PANDABERRY CAME TO BE NORTH LONDON’S BEST SPOT FOR JAMAICAN CUISINE!

HOW PANDABERRY CAME TO BE NORTH LONDON’S BEST SPOT FOR JAMAICAN CUISINE!

A restaurateur, a cook and a incredibly humble being are words that best describe Pandora,

the owner of Pandaberry: a Jamaican restaurant in Finchley, North London. A place where diners can

experience a true taste of Jamaican food without visiting the island itself! She is a tough

entrepreneur with a heart of gold, who loves what she does but can admit to have faced

challenges in the early stages of developing her business.

 

Originally from St Ann, Jamaica, Pandora states that life was hard back home as she and

her family came from poverty. It was this adversity that made her strive for success. She hoped

for her life to change for the better.  When she arrived in England in the late 1980s she

worked as a nurse, but wanted to do her own thing, you know, try a little business venture

and be her own boss. Someone made her aware of a space available in Finchley where she could

set up shop: ironically, the space had been a place where she used to work. It seemed like a

good choice but she experienced self doubt and others trying to discourage her, which initially

made her cancel going forward with the restaurant the first time that she could have purchased it.

However, her spirit was unsettled and a voice told her that the location was destined to be hers.

When she went back to the people dealing with the space, it was fate that it was still unoccupied.

Pandora was clueless on how to run a business but knew that no matter what she was going to

make it work; there was no option to turn back now.

Fast forward six years and Pandaberry is still going strong. The food is original and

uncompromised. Likewise, the customers are diverse and can’t get enough. Pandora states

that they have the best Jamaican food in North London. Every plate is their signature dish.

From homemade punches to jerk chicken, snapper to oxtail, curry goat to saltfish fritters,

they have it on the menu and it is all made authentically. Furthermore, the presentation of

it all is impeccable. The kind that you have to take a picture of before

tucking in, I mean it’s only right!

 

Moreover, Pandaberry is more than a just a business but a safe space for people to

come and feel at peace. Pandora recalls times when she has spoken to customers and given

them a word of encouragement when they have been going through hard times:

“It’s not all about the money”, she says, “but I don’t try and get too involved into their business.

I just let them know that everything will be okay!” This comes as no surprise as many

of her customers have been going there for years.

 

With all that said, it is evident that going forward with the business was the best decision that

Pandora could have made,  not only for herself but for the community of Finchley and

others visiting the area who want to taste genuine Jamaican food.

One bite will have you craving more!

 

AYANNA’S LONDON- CANARY WHARF

AYANNA’S LONDON- CANARY WHARF

Cuisine: Jamaican/British Average price pp: £50 Jamaican cuisine and fine dining are not words commonly used in the same sentence, but this is where Ayanna’s London steps in. Located in Canary Wharf, they combine this style of food with a British influence, revolutionising fusion dishes…

PANDABERRY – FINCHLEY

PANDABERRY – FINCHLEY

Cuisine: Jamaican Average price pp: £16 Pandaberry has been in the heart of Finchley, North London for 6 years. A massive sign stating “Caribbean restaurant” pointing in it’s direction ensures you know where to go, I mean it’s hard to miss. The inside décor had…

A CHAT WITH CHEF BANTA

A CHAT WITH CHEF BANTA

 

Banta, the Head Chef at Woodlands in Brooklyn, New York  had a thing for Caribbean

food the first time that he tried it, especially Jamaican food. This developed one day when

he was in New York and got a load of Jerk chicken only for $5 at a takeaway. It was the

aromatic and distinct spices that fascinated him. Chef originates from Mali, West Africa,

but gained his culinary skills in France.

What is your favourite food to eat?

Peanut sauce. Strangely I can’t make it but I love it. What I love is that you can have it

with anything even meat. Sometimes I go to the African shop just to get it.

What made you want to do fusion food at Woodlands?

Well, Woodland has been here in Brooklyn for 7 years now and in the beginning it was

more of a fine dining restaurant. We had dishes like Rabbit Ragu on the menu. The food

wasn’t really corresponding to the locals that live in Flatbush Avenue. We have a massive

Caribbean community so it was only right to cater to them and others interested

in Caribbean and fusion food!

Did you have to train to cook Caribbean food?

No, I didn’t. I have friends who are Caribbean so certain dishes were not unfamiliar.

 

RHYTHM KITCHEN – STRATFORD

RHYTHM KITCHEN – STRATFORD

Cuisine: Jamaican Average price pp: £20 Rhythm Kitchen, is located in the food court on the second floor of Westfield shopping centre in Stratford. The food court is very spacious so there were many  seating options to choose  from when sitting which was great.  …

BB KINGS – TIMES SQUARE

BB KINGS – TIMES SQUARE

NOTE: Pictures are sample sizes, does not reflect true size of portions Cuisine: American/Jamaican Average price pp: $30 – $50   If you’ve been to Times Square before, you have probably seen or walked past BB King’s Bar and Grill. Being opposite big attractions such…

PIER ONE

PIER ONE

  • http://www.joecooltaxiandtoursjamaica.com/JamaicanSight-SeeingTours_1.html

Cuisine: Jamaican / Jamaican fusion

Average price pp :  $18 – $50 (USD)

Have you ever dined at a pier before? Luckily, I had the pleasure in doing so at Pier One in

Montego Bay, Jamaica. This restaurant was surrounded by the most surreal view of sea

and the weather: a hot climate that gave a cool breeze ever so often. The wooden planked

floor mimicked that of a boat. Even when entering, you go up a slight slope as if you were

entering a ship. The bar is in the centre and tables are around the edges. The restaurant

set up is so effortlessly graceful that it reminded me of a wedding venue. Although Montego Bay

is known for its tourism, there is a nice mix of locals who go there so you get a true taste

of Jamaican culture. 

I visited Pier One twice whilst in Montego Bay. On the Friday night they had a fashion

show which later turned into a party where the best dancehall tunes,

old skool and new skool, dominated the playlist. I had

a jerk chicken alfreddo pasta. The pasta was cooked well, however the jerk chicken was

quite bland. The alfreddo sauce wasn’t creamy or cheesy enough and lacked spices. 

 Furthermore I found the garlic bread to be too soft and starchy.

 

The second visit was on a Thursday afternoon so it wasn’t as live as the Friday night the week

before, but the ambience was still great. My server Leroy was the definition of excellent service,

he really went above and beyond to ensure that I was comfortable and satisfied.

To drink I had a dirty banana. This drink hit me good. I mean the look of surprise on my face,

whilst having whipped cream on my upper lip was quite the picture. The banana taste was

subtle, and the chocolate sauce gave it a lovely sweet flavour.

 This was one of the best cocktails  that I have tasted!

A starter of ackee wonton: a Chinese take on a traditional Jamaican fruit, took me by surprise.

The presentation was neat and the taste was impeccable.  The ackee inside was very tender and

had a salty flavour. Likewise , the soy sauce dip enhanced this.

A sea food chowder followed. The texture was thick and custard like with lumps of sea food

such as shrimp, lobster, crab. Overall, it was good tasting and could be eaten as a soup

or used as a dip.

The sex on the pier cocktail was beautifully presented, but I feel the alcohol and fruity flavours

were quite weak. Would have enjoyed it more if they were stronger.

The jerk conch was nice and firm with a peppery aftertaste. It came with a creamy mash

that I found to be to hard and bland and steamed vegetables; carrots and green beans

that too were not soft enough for my liking. The vegetables were also about a third of the

meal which I found to be too much.

Furthermore, the coconut fried shrimp wasn’t too bad considering that I do not like

coconut shavings. The plantains were soft but again the steamed veg was a bit firm. 

Another sea food dish the mega one pot, contained lobster, clams, oysters, shrimp corn

and potato. On the menu it states crab but as the crab was absent in this one, they

doubled up on shrimp. This soups broth was so delicious they could serve it alone.

The amount of sea food given was generous it filled out the pot. Also, it was easy to

take the shells off. 

 

  • Atmosphere/Setting
  • Food presentation
  • Food quality
  • Service & Organisation
4.3

Summary

Pier 1 is the place to go to whether you want to relax and have a meal whilst enjoying the spectacular view of the sea, or if you want a lively night of entertainment. Staff were very professional and the service was superb on both of the nights that I visited. Their dirty banana cocktail is the one of the best cocktails that I have ever tasted. Every meal that I savoured wasn’t for me, however, I would definitely go back to try more dishes off the menu. I strongly suggest for people to visit this excellent establishment whenever they are in Montego Bay!!

Recommendations:

Dirty banana

Sea food chowder

Mega one pot

 

Visit: pieronejamaica.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

FISH HUT – GREENWOOD

FISH HUT – GREENWOOD

Cuisine: Jamaican Average price pp: $15-$25 (USD) Dining in Montego Bay, and want sea food? Fish Hut is the place to go to. Sourced from local fishmongers, the food is hearty, healthy and fresh. Founded by owner Ian 30 years ago, it is situated on…