Mon | Sep 25, 2017

The Hidden Treasures of Sugar Pot Ruins

Published:Thursday | August 25, 2016 | 8:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Food writer Krysta Anderson welcomes you to Sugar Pot Ruins Beach Bar and Restaurant.
Krysta Anderson (left) has a heart to heart with owners Deiridre Gayle (centre) and Jozef Van Gorp by the seaside.
The delectable prawns sautéed in garlic butter.
Bartender Jodieann Hardware pours the most perfect piña colada.
Leaving footprints in the sand, Krysta takes a walk by the beach.
Krysta Anderson contemplates whether she wants the daiquiri or the piña colada with bartender, Jodieann Hardware (right).
If you like piña colada, raise your hand! Krysta certainly does.
Grilled pork chops, served with a side of fries and fried green plantain.
Eating Around Jamaica's stop at Sugar Pot Ruins has never tasted so good! It deserves a thumbs up.
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They always say life is not about the destination, it's about the journey. But sometimes, in order to truly experience the wonder of our tropical paradise, it's best to just flip the script and do the opposite. And I did just that when I discovered the hidden treasures of Sugar Pot Ruins Beach, Bar and Restaurant.

This expedition was a long and rocky one, and thank God we knew the general direction. But even then we found ourselves asking the locals - just to be sure. Take it from me, Sugar Pot is really a hideaway. But once we arrived at Rio Nuevo, St Mary - halfway between Boscobel and Ocho Rios, it was truly breathtaking!

The swaying of palm trees coupled with the cool, crisp air against the backdrop of a beautiful beach immediately put my mind and body at ease. The surroundings, calm and serene, called for a celebratory drink, so I made my way over to the bar, where bartender Jodieann Hardware presented me with choices of piña colada, daiquiri, fruit punch and rum punch. Naturally, I chose the piña colada and made my way to the beach to bask in the sun, sea and sand.

After getting comfortable among the secluded trees, I was greeted by the owners Deiridre Gayle and Jozef Van Gorp, and we had a little heart-to-heart about their lovely property. Described as Jamaica's best kept secret, they explained that when they had spotted the place, it was just a heap of garbage. But they saw the potential and went straight to work, building it bit by bit. The rich history of the land includes the ruins which they found in its natural form and decided to keep, as well as the two almost 300-year-old sugar pots, one of which is seen at the entrance. No wonder they named the dream destination 'Sugar Pot Ruins'!

They are available for bonfire dinner parties, weddings and even picnics.

"Even though we have a restaurant, you can take your drinks and food and just have a picnic," noted Gorp. At a cost, of course. Added bonus: They have private coves for adults to spend quality time together!

As it relates to their culinary delights, since they are by the beach, seafood dishes are their best sellers. While we spoke, I could almost taste the fried fish from the sweet aromas dancing in the air, but I opted to try their grilled pork chops and prawns sauteed in garlic butter instead.

After all that running and splish-splashing along the sea shore, I was ready to dig in! The grilled pork chops were succulent, while the prawns, which I tried for the first time, were bursting with flavour with every bite.

So if you're looking for that secret hideaway, where you can eat and play, make your way to Sugar Pot Ruins Beach, Bar and Restaurant - if you can find it.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com