The timing could not have been better! First Sunday after Thanksgiving, Christmas tree and decorations up, and the type of pale blue sky that heralds the cooler months of the year. The Palate Restaurant located on the upper level of the ROK Hotel located downtown Kingston, hosts the first of many brunches to come.
Eschew all notions of an over-laden table. This is an à la carte affair with a menu that offers appetisers, mains and dessert options. Patrons are encouraged to chillax with sips of the ROK's signature passion fruit mimosa (Thursday Food recommends you try) in lieu of the traditional mimosa. Naturally, coffee/tea is available. Having bagged a seat that affords a view of the Caribbean Sea and with Emily Ruth on cello it's now time to tantalise your palate.
Course I introduces: Salmon bruschetta, brûléed bacon fish mosaic, shrimp cocktail, tomato gorgonzola gazpacho, beef carpaccio and smoked tomato tartar. Bring a friend and share all six. Brunch is all you can eat from the tasting menu and includes a glass of Palate Mimosa at a cost of US$75 inclusive of all taxes and service charge.
Course II introduces: Jerk chicken roulade, mussel seafood Rockefeller, apple hoisin pork belly, ginger lamb, pumpkin ravioli, lobster medallion, pimento steak.
Exquisite plating aside, each item is thoughtfully prepared and, most importantly, tastes good. The Jerk Chicken Roulade, for example, is a not-so-typical approach to the traditional pan chicken. ROK Hotel Executive Chef Volae Williams uses tomato chutney instead of ketchup and festival crumb replaces the festival. Finally, Red Stripe Beer that's usually used to moisten the chicken on the grill is replaced with a Red Stripe fluid gel. "All the components that you'd find at a typical jerk stand is redefined on a plate," Williams shared. The pimento steak sits atop a coconut cream polenta, crowned with wilted spinach, ROK chimichurri and finished with beef jus.
Course III introduces an impressive line-up of desserts, curated by pastry chef Chauntoi Perkins. From bun and cheese, to ole time chocolate, tamarind coconut lollipop, cucumber basil pavlova, lemongrass crème brûlée and grapefruit thyme rum — this novel approach is more than enough reason to return.
Add Sunday Brunch at the ROK Hotel to your places to eat, not only because it's new, but because it deserves to be experienced.
Photos: Naphtali Junior