VIDEO: Curry Goat — A one-pot Obsession

Thursday, September 04, 2014

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A lunch and dinnertime fave. A must-have on wedding reception menus. A staple at pre- and post-funeral gatherings. Curry goat is a national culinary obsession.

The beloved, flavoured meat that originated in southeast Asia pops up everywhere, from fine-dining restaurants to streetside eateries, and the zeal with which it is consumed remains unabated. “I love my curry goat with roti — that’s it for me,” Paul Jackson, energy engineer of projects at Novus Tech Limited, declares, fork aimed squarely at the goat in his lunchbox.

Jackson is at The Cove Restaurant on Winchester Avenue to meet friends for a Friday afternoon lunch organised by his company’s director Dwight Scott. “I like my goat mildly flavoured,” Jackson adds, “to match my personality.”

The mild-mannered Jackson, along with Scott, is joined by work colleague senior energy engineer Wayne Grant, maintenance engineer at National Water Commission Cordell Williams and Simone Reynolds. The quintet is by no means new to The Cove; the eatery is a haunt they frequent for a taste of goat and other Jamaican favourites.

Tara Carroll, manager of the fouryear- old restaurant that is a hot spot for working professionals (lunch specials start at $290), tells Thursday Life: “Our curry goat meal is special because it is wellseasoned with our secret blend of spices and slow-cooked. It’s falloff- the-bone tender with gravy to die for.”

She’s right on the money as the lunchtime quintet is immediately taken with the standard white styrofoam curry goat boxed lunches that, Cove-style, come complete with helpings of potato salad, white rice and optional roti. The dapperly-styled Scott is blissfully lost in his special order of a curry goat-filled wrapped roti — savouring the taste profile with each diligent bite.

“I am in love with the curry goat here,” the Novus director confesses, inbetween wiping his plate clean of gravy, with the last of his roti. The gentlemen’s Friday afternoon curry goat journey continues, sans women, to Central Avenue to Sonia’s Homestyle. The well-known, family-owned and operated eatery, on Kingston’s food landscape for three decades, is already teeming with a lunchtime crowd of take-out and dine-in customers.

Warmly welcomed by dining room supervisor Mervyn Ennis, the group is ushered to their reserved table and patiently await lunch service.

A table over, we eye final-year Northern Caribbean University nursing student Crystal Green whose curry goat order arrives just moments after we’ve settled in.

We make introductions and discern she’s a first-time diner at Sonia’s, but it’s made a satisfactory impression. “In Jamaican-speak, it sell-off,” she said, indicating her approval of her order of goat that has been paired with boiled bananas, rice and a festival.

Scott, on his second plate of curry goat, gives Sonia’s the seal of approval. “The meals are always consistent, and the goat is good,” he vouches, in-between forkfuls.

Tamra Gibbons-McPherson, who helps to manage the family eatery, says curry goat is a staple on Sonia’s daily menu. “It’s prepared with blended herbs and spices,” she shares, though tight-lipped about what, exactly, the ingredients are.

Matters little as it’s luring the wide customer demographic of entertainers, businessmen, families and students through the restaurant’s doors.

— Omar Tomlinson




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