VIDEO: Lets Eat
The exploratory journey for meal options found us trekking down Hope Road (for Mediterranean bites at Opa! Greek Restaurant and Lounge; breakfast egg wraps and chicken paninis at Toss & Roll), detouring onto Lady Musgrave Road (to relish succulent ribs and pulled pork burgers at the newly opened Di Grill Shack) and wrapping up the day with café stops in New Kingston (at the Spanish Court and Jamaica Pegasus hotels).
DI GRILL SHACK
Shop #4, The Courtyard Plaza
71 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston 6
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday — 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Friday and Saturdays — 11:00 am to midnight
Sundays — 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Shacking up mightn't be a bad thing, if it's at Di Grill Shack that is. The done-to-order grill eatery, which found a groundswell of support in the food court at the Sovereign Centre, has expanded the brand to Lady Musgrave Road. Business is off to a roaring start two weeks since the opening, as we encounter a bustling full-house for our 12:30 pm visit Monday. The eatery, famous for its finger-licking fine ribs and mushroom cheeseburger, is branded Di Grill Shack Gourmet as the restaurant has an expanded menu that now includes pasta dishes. No jostling to find a lunch spot here (a frequent sore point at their Sovereign location) as the Lady Musgrave outlet comfortably accommodates indoor seating for 50, while al fresco dining can seat 20.
24 SEVEN CAFE AT JAMAICA PEGASUS
81 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5
Opening Hours: 24 Hours A Day, Seven Days A Week
We're having a sweet tooth craving. Dessert is in order and so, off we head to the Jamaica Pegasus's 24 Seven Café. Forget calorie counting, we are primed to indulge in decadent pastry, and settle on an order of bread and butter pudding, black forest cake, a frappe, and freshly brewed Blue Mountain coffee, just the way we like it.
The tantalising desserts notwithstanding, the Café also has an array of paninis (chicken pesto, chicken club and steak), pies (chicken pot, shepherd's and steak), wraps (tuna and chicken) and lasagnas (oxtail and vegetable). Savoured coffee sips and forkfuls of pastry later, we are tempted to further scan the menu but decide to schedule a repeat visit to sample other items.
OPA! GREEK RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE
75 Hope Road, Kingston 6
Opening Hours: Sundays to Saturdays -- 4:00 pm to midnight
Greek native Alex Antaeus has made Jamaica his adopted home. It therefore wasn't a stretch of the imagination for him to introduce Grecian cuisine to the Kingston culinary landscape. Antaeus and his other half, the lithe Jamaican beauty Orlease King opened Opa! Greek Restaurant and Lounge on the tail-end of last year, and have been met with incredible success in the short span of time at their Hope Road address. Opa!'s menu is authentically Greek -- from such appetisers as kotosouvlaki (Greek-styled meatballs), gyros souvlaki (lean ground beef and lamb with Greek spices) and octapodi (grilled octopus in red wine vinegar and virgin olive oil) to main courses that include Kotsi (slow-baked lamb shank infused with lemon, olive oil and garlic) and gourounopoulo (boneless, slow-roasted pork loin with feta and sundried tomatoes) What of the chef in the kitchen? She's Greek too! Chef Maria relocated from the Land of Olympus to the shores of the Caribbean to give Opa! patrons a true taste of her homeland. Also on the menu: plates for breaking. A half-dozen sets you back $800, a dozen $1,500.
SPANISH COURT HOTEL
1 St Lucia Avenue, Kingston 5
Opening Hours: Sundays to Saturdays — 7:00 am to 10:00 pm
Spanish Court Hotel laid immediate claim as Kingston's chic boutique hotel the moment it opened in 2009. Its fab cuisine, too, quickly won favour, and its café, registered on the social radar as a must-do spot for those seeking breakfast and lunch bites. We stop in mid-afternoon to dine, and Food and Beverage Director and Executive Chef Anthony Matthews is on hand to talk food and new menu items. We tuck into a callaloo and feta cheese turnover -- a recent addition -- that's perfectly flaky and delicious, and follow up with a Philadelphia cheese steak sandwich that hits the spot with its mix of melted cheese and tender meat. Strangely each bite brings Elton John's song Philadelphia Freedom to mind. Not that we care when our tastebuds are in the height of culinary ecstasy.
TOSS & ROLL SALAD BAR
75 Hope Road, Kingston 6
Opening Hours: Mondays to Saturdays -- 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
It's just two days since Toss & Roll Salad Bar opened its doors after relocating to 75 Hope Road from Trafalgar Road. The eatery's CEO and Manager Jermaine Bailey is excited at the possibilities of the move, and delighted at the customer response thus far.
"We've been doing well," Bailey shared. "We are hoping to grow more in the coming weeks and months." Located next door to Opa!, Toss & Roll Salad Bar's offerings are skewed to the more health-conscious, and has a diverse menu of wraps, salads, and beverages that include coolers and smoothies. Consider a Green Supreme -- an appealing smoothie made of spinach, yogurt and bananas that tastes better than we imagined. Open early for breakfast, Bailey told Thursday Life that those seeking an early morning meal on the go should give the newly introduced 'Island Wrap' a try. Made with eggs, sautéed callaloo and onions, and cheese, we sample his recommendation and found it light, healthy and, in all honesty, quite good.