Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Saucing up to Savour with Jerkaz

Published:Thursday | March 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A satisfied customer indulges in her jerked chicken.
Waitress Nickeisha Francs epitomises service with a smile.
A platter of roasted fish atop sweet potatoes, carrots and string beans.
Barbecued chicken served with fried plantains, raw vegetables and rice and peas.
Reynard Rodney, one of the chef's at Jerkaz preparing curried shrimp in coconut sauce.
The signature jerked chicken served with a side of rice and peas, vegetables.
The entrance to the wooden oasis, Jerkaz.
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The two have always been lovers of great food, so they decided to transform their passion into the culinary oasis better known as Jerkaz.

Located at 55 Old Hope Road, the restaurant is truly hard to miss with its distinctly wooden features. Greeted by a warm and convivial Jerkaz sign, the uniquely designed towering structure transforms into a palatable paradise. The pleasures of authentic flavour coupled with a beautiful ambiance make the soothing haven one to remember.

Last Monday, Food sat down with the first-time restaurateurs, who shared the story of how their restaurant came into being, "We thought we could make a good go of it because we know what good food should taste like, eating well at home and when we go out," Trevor first pointed out.

He continued by noting that the restaurant was actually an off-spring of farming: "I used to be a farmer, growing Scotch bonnet pepper for export. The shelf life wasn't as long as we had hoped, and we carried it to a processor, but that proved to be problematic in determining a price. We decided then to add value to the pepper, so instead of selling it, we came up with the idea for sauces and were looking into building a high-quality sauce line for sauce manufacturing when it dawned on us that we could go even further."

Inspired to tap into the high-end gourmet market, they thought, why not create delicious dishes by infusing all natural herbs and spices through their specially made seasonings and sauce? From there, they made the decision to go into the restaurant business and Jerkaz was born.

"All sauces are done in house with our dishes," Andrea added during the interview.

 

masterpiece out of lumber

 

The recently opened restaurant took all of four years to unlock its doors. Trevor, who is also the developer, explained that this was so because the physical structure was built from demolished lumber. "The building, designed and constructed by me, was originally intended for containers, but a friend demolished a building and had lumber to spare, so we switched gears and went with wood. If it wasn't for this lumber, it would have been impossible to establish this building, which is the only wooden structure of this magnitude to be built in the last 100 years" he asserted, beaming with great pride.

 

Main Menu

 

Reflecting high-quality food at low prices, the Donegals feature a wide variety of scrumptious dishes on their main menu. The jerked chicken and pork are definite must-tries, along with barbecue chicken, roast chicken, roast fish, curried goat, oxtail, and curried run down shrimp, among many others.

"Jerk is never really served like on fine dining setting, and that's what makes us stand out in comparison to other places that serve jerk. I want to take jerk to another level, with sides, all served with a knife and fork," he revealed.

To complement the dishes, they provide natural juices, also made by them, with flavours ranging from guava, June plum, pineapple, to carrot, beet, even sorrel, when they are in season.

The place was done as a package. Also, inside is a reflection of outside. All the plants were home grown by Andrea and taken to the restaurant. Based on their resources, they pooled their resources and created that comfy, home-away-from-home feel to it, the couple confirmed.

"We want to replicate it, but not in Jamaica, providing authentic jerk, which is missing from the international market, specifically in America. We have about 22 natural herbs and spices in our jerk seasoning which are cured over years before they are even used in our foods, so just imagine that flavour. We want to offer real jerk, with fresh seasonings that are available here in Jamaica,"

So far, the restaurant already has Crab Wednesdays, Jerk Thursday, Retro Fridays with Stokey Love, and Seafood Saturdays under its belt, so if you're looking for "real food, great service and the best ambience anywhere barring none", then spice things up, or sauce up those taste buds of yours, and savour the flavour at Jerkaz.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com