The revamped dining experience at the Liguanea Club is getting high marks. Thanks are due to the culinary flair of the Machado family, who took the reins of the Club's kitchen and pub two Tuesdays ago, for the far tastier fare now gracing the tables. Run by the father-daughter duo of Mario and Sommer Machado, their modus operandi is very clear: offer better Jamaican-themed dining.
"We are going to stick to a Jamaican feel," the elder Machado professed to Thursday Food after welcoming us last weekend to see and taste what he's been cooking up for his family's latest culinary venture. Feeling for curried goat? They've got it covered. "But when you order, you will get traditional sides like breadfruit, yellow yam, green bananas, plantains and a slice of avocado pear."
Snapper run-down? It's on the menu. So too, is corned pork and a melt-in-your-mouth-delicious oxtail and beans dish. And a fabulous pepperpot soup that will have you spooning the bowl down to the last drop. It's all very appetising in homegrown familiarity.
But while the Machados, operators too of the more up-market Terrace at Devon House, are looking to celebrate Jamaican comfort food, they are by no means ignoring the British (and by extension international) origins of the menu at Liguanea Club. "It's also a sports club," Sommer hastens to remind us. "So we still need our pub-type fare like bangers and mash, fish and chips and it's also a sports club, so we have things like lime squash, club sandwiches, and hamburgers are also very crucial."
Breakfast, which starts service at 7:00 am, will have morning faves like pancakes, omelettes and smoked marlin on bagels, among other options, for order.
Dining at Liguanea Club was once exclusively available only to members and their guests; but one of the conditions of the Machados' takeover was leveraging the exclusivity. "Obviously for a revitalised kitchen and pub to work, we need to increase revenue and the Club's member base might not be enough to do that, so we are allowing outside diners in and have developed a system of first-come, first-serve."
New management also brought about fresh changes. A terrace was built under the shade of trees; the verandah was outfitted with new furniture, and soft seating added.
"There's more," Mario assures. "Within the next two weeks Red Stripe will be coming in to do branding and we will be starting Sunday brunch soon."
Affordability at their new dining spot is also a sticking point for the Machados. "We want to make the price point attractive so the most expensive item on the menu is $1, 200," Sommer notes, adding that she hopes to lure young professionals and create a dining atmosphere that the 20-to-30 something demographic will enjoy and most importantly can afford.
The Liguanea Club's restaurant and pub are located at Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5.
Opening Hours: 7:00 am to 10 pm. Telephone: 926-8144 or 929-01066.