Chef Ravi Anne’s culinary skills have captivated countless Jamaicans, especially in Ocho Rios, with his delightful “east meets west” flavours. His foray into professional cooking almost happened as a fluke. “I wanted to make some pocket money when I was growing up, so my first experience was working in an Indo-Chinese restaurant,” said Chef Ravi. The first dish he learned to make was chilli garlic noodles. Now, Chef Ravi is a certified executive chef with numerous accolades and globally recognised accreditations, including Certified Culinary Administrator (CCA) and a Worldchefs Certified Executive Chef (WCEC).
In Sonis Plaza, Ocho Rios sits Chef Ravi’s restaurant, Manzil, which proudly serves dishes comprised of “local seasonal ingredients with Asian and Indian flavours”. In The Best Dressed Chicken’s quest for a satisfying and indeed memorable lunch experience, we asked the accomplished chef to prepare the restaurant’s most popular menu item and share its story. Easier said than done.
Manzil chefs Vinen Singh and Bhagat Singh created chicken-based dishes that have become bestsellers. Guests can’t get enough of Chef Vinen’s boneless chicken mint kebab in Thai green curry korma sauce and Chef Bhagat’s ginger malai chicken kebab sizzler. Two dishes, one kitchen — leave it to Chef Ravi to exceed the diner’s expectation.
For the boneless chicken mint kebab in Thai green curry korma sauce, Chef Vinen begins by marinating boneless Best Dressed Chicken thighs in a mixture of yoghurt, and garam masala, ginger, garlic, a slew of other spices, and lots of fresh mint. The chicken is cooked in a charcoal tandoor (a cylindrical clay or metal oven) and then simmered in a rich cashew-tomato sauce “infused with Thai red curry paste”.
Chef Bhagat’s ginger malai chicken kebab starts with a marinade similar to Chef Vinen’s but without the mint. The kebab is cooked in a tandoor before being served on a sizzling skillet. Guests are delighted with the dramatic presentation. No wonder why it’s popular!
Manzil’s guests appreciate the complex flavour of Tandoori cuisine. “They are always surprised how the flavours come together,” said Chef Ravi. To complete each dish, he encourages patrons to have a mango lassi (a delicious beverage made of mango, yoghurt, milk, and a sprinkling of cardamom), pillowy garlic naan, and toasted cumin and scallion fried rice.
Besides the standout food, Manzil’s patrons interact with chefs Vinen and Bhagat, who “give warm hospitality, explain their specialities, and the story behind each dish”, said Chef Ravi.
When asked about the single ingredient that influences the restaurant’s menu, Chef Ravi responded, “cilantro” due to its unique flavour profile and versatility.
The first tandoors date back to 2600 BC and were used to bake flatbread, a tradition that survives in Indian roti, Afghan naan and Turkmen chorek. Chef Ravi, Vinen and Bhagat have leaned into their upbringing, culinary training, and Jamaican and Indian cultures to create some of the best chicken dishes.
Manzil Asian Grill & Wok
Address: Sonis Plaza,
50 Main St,Ocho Rios
Tel: (876) 601-2612
Opening Hours: 12:00 noon - 9:30 pm
Tuesday to Sunday