VIDEO: Eat Around Jamaica - St Thomas everything 'Chris'
With its proximity to Portland it should not be surprising that succulent, spicy jerked pork can be found in St Thomas.
Along the main road, in the Yallahs town strip, is a middle-aged man called Clifton Layne, who operates Layneous Jerk Spot.
This was the first of two stops for The Gleaner’s managing director Christopher Barnes for our weekly Eat Around Jamaica feature.
The team was just in time to catch a bite of the first batch of pork which had marinated in seasoning from the day before and then slowly jerked along the busy thoroughfare filling the air with a delightful smell.
Layne was quick to share a serving for Barnes who, in-between bites, questioned the man who has been in operation since 1996 about the running of his business. Opened daily, Layne, who took the spot over from his father, is the only one that prepares the chicken and pork he offers while his able assistant does the serving.
"We serve along with the chicken and pork, fried dumplings and roast breadfruit – not the typical and expected festival – and I cook every part of the pig. Nothing is left out," he explained.
FINISHED IN NO TIME
By this time, Barnes had run out of pork.
"It’s really good, I enjoyed the spices and it was very tender. That’s why I ate it so fast so I could have some more. You think I could leave here without more pork?" As Layne proceeded to show a curious Barnes the various body parts of the cooked pig – liver, head, tail, tongue – while dicing and placing them on the foil, he insisted Barnes try the tongue in addition to the liver.
"This is really good. Look at the difference in texture and it (liver) has that liver taste. What’s missing now is boiled dumplings or breadfruit," said Barnes as he then enjoyed a refreshing bottle of Pepsi. After trying the tongue I must grunt after this,"
Reservations aside, Barnes after the first bite said the tongue was tasty, chewy, and, in essence, great stuff. With a doggie bag packed to go, it was on to the next stop.
FISH COVE RESTAURANT AND SPORTS BAR
The team was greeted by a warm smile from Odeth Williamson at Fish Cove Restaurant and Sports Bar. Barnes wasted no time heading straight to the kitchen to choose his fish.
But the adventurous MD took things a bit further by asking to cook his own meal. Chef Howard Berry made an exception and obliged. He quickly learned the ropes and seemed like an expert, dicing, seasoning, cutting, sauteing – the whole shebang.
"Don’t worry, if you come here you will not have to work for your lunch, you will get to sit and enjoy the ambience and sea breeze," Barnes assured the onlookers.
"I wish you could smell the fantastic aroma, especially after this killer pepper that will do magic," he continued. Now that Barnes’ snapper was simmering he got to know the kitchen staff, before it was time to dive in. First up was the fish tea. “If this is as good as the steamed snapper looked, I’m excited,” said Barnes, and he was not disappointed.
"It is lovely, with, as you can see, chunks of vegetables.” Then on to the big bite. “Where are your sharing plates?” he asked. “This thing is a shark!” As soon as the side orders were laid out, Barnes dug right in. “Excellent! This is what I live for – food, good food. The Fish Cove steamed snapper. Yum-yum.” He barely came up for air.
"Crackers loaded with butter. Just the way I like it.” All this time Williamson watched in anticipation for the feedback, he shouted; “Odeth! Win, win!” She encouraged him to try the bammy. But he was afraid to. “Me ‘fraid me fall in love again.” But he did. “Proper! And the good old pressed plantain. It doesn’t get any better this.”