Wed | Jun 19, 2019

Come for the food, stay for the view

Published:Thursday | April 18, 2019 | 12:20 AMLatara Boodie/Lifestyle Writer

In the heart of downtown Kingston is a contemporary oasis that has given new life to the nation’s capital. Located within the historic Victoria Pier is Ribbiz Ocean Lounge, which has captivated the palates of all the locals in town. With an incredible 180-degree view of the seventh-largest harbour in the world, Kingston Harbour, persons are able to relax and watch as sailboats bob and weave among transatlantic ships importing goods to our island.

In keeping with its sailor theme, Ribbiz Ocean Lounge is decorated with hues of blue and silver which create a picturesque underwater illusion. Its wide open dining room features wooden furniture made from old Jamaican rum barrels, which blend effortlessly with its modern stainless steel design. With less than a year of operation, Ribbiz Ocean Lounge is the most recommended dining experience in which to partake in downtown Kingston. Its layout is private enough for a casual business meeting, has enough intimacy for a date night, and is pumping with upbeat local and international hits for a perfect chill night with friends. For the ambience alone, Ribbiz is scoring big in our books.

“Appleton Estate, Campari and J. Wray & Nephew White Rum came on board at Ribbiz Barbican a couple of years ago and they have been wonderful partners. When we were getting ready to explore this opportunity downtown on the waterfront they were more than excited to support us in whatever way we needed,” said Kamal Banking, executive director of Ribbiz Ocean Lounge. The restaurant is grateful for the collaboration for the opening of their latest restaurant.

Let’s get down to the most important factor for any restaurant, the food. Jamaicans are keen on the use of herbs and spices to make tantalising dishes that will leave you longing for more. Head Chef Dominique White told Food that the directors of Ribbiz curated a menu specifically for the Ocean Lounge location. “Our menu is a mixture of local and international cuisine that is simply delicious. We do more seafood at this location than we do at the one in Barbican and everybody loves it,” said White. We decided to test the restaurant’s claim to fame by sampling their shrimp skewer, seafood tortellini and the famous curried goat pasta.

The shrimp skewer was crispy and flavourful due to its light batter seasoned with signature Ribbiz spices. It is very easy on the palate and a nice way to prime the taste buds for the main course. This is our must-try appetiser when dining at the ocean lounge. The seafood tortellini was recommended by chef White, so we had no choice but to try the extra cheesy delicacy. To our surprise, the multitude of textures from the octopus, squid, calamari, and mussels made it an exciting dish to indulge in. You have no idea what type of seafood you are going to get until you take a bite into its creamy goodness. Curried goat is debatably in the island’s top five must-try dishes. To be able to eat it in a pasta may have a number of people sceptical, but, and we stand by this when we say, “di ting shot”. With tiny morsels of curried goat, and a delectably spicy cream sauce, the pasta is a refreshing twist to Jamaican cuisine that everyone should try, at least once in their life.

What is a delicious meal without a drink to pair it with? Bar Manager Shemar Henry is an expert when it comes to mix and matching different flavours. His recommended drinks include the Negroni, which is a mixture of vermute, Gordon’s gin and freshly squeezed lime fortified by Campari. Ribbiz’s latest addition to their drink menu is the Appleton Skinny Dip. “Our directors wanted a drink that was nice to drink but still healthy. This is our first no-sugar-added cocktail that comes in multiple flavours,” said Henry. The Appleton Skinny Dip is made with Appleton Signature Blend and strawberry kiwi sparkling ice. Ladies and gentlemen, Ribbiz managed to create a seemingly sweet cocktail without the addition of a syrup. It is refreshing and delicious; however, it is definitely a ‘girly’ drink. Henry’s final recommended drink is the Ribbiz Rum Punch made with Wray & Nephew White Rum and bitters. “At Ribbiz, we get very innovative when it comes to mixing new cocktails for our customers,” he said.

If you are in the mood for a gourmet fine-dining experience on the waterfront downtown, check out Ribbiz Ocean Lounge.

latara.boodie@gleanerjm.com