Bolt puts his stamp on food
Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
Not only does it bear his name, but Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records restaurant has the man's fingerprints all over it
"He was very involved in all stages, certainly in the menu development and enforcing and re-enforcing what he wanted the vibe of the place to be, to reflect him," revealed Tina Myers Matalon, director of Kingston Live Entertainment (KLE), the group that came up with the Tracks and Records concept, and who approached Bolt to partner with them. When quizzed about yams, referring to the popular starch of Bolt's home parish Trelawny, Kevin Bourke, fellow KLE director quipped, "There's a lot of ground provisions on the menu."
"The menu has a very unique approach. We have a combination of small plates (Nyammings) and what we call 'Big Food'. It's basically Jamaican fusion on your favourite traditional dishes," Myers Matalon explained.
"It's actually also how Usain eats. When he's training he 'picks'. But when he has time to relax, he has a 'big food'," said Bolt's publicist Carole Beckford. Beverage-wise, even the signature drink is called the 9.58 - Bolt's 100-metre world record. Like the athlete, the restaurant is breaking new ground as it's the first restaurant to offer Guinness Draught along with two other draught choices. Bourke added that the 'brewed' beverages were already doing quite well.
Myers Matalon said the dishes have all your Jamaican flavours, including good old jerk with scotch bonnet.
"You have everything from a great shrimp platter to a curried goat. It really runs the gamut of everybody's taste buds," she said. The trio agreed that the jerked chicken spring rolls are already a hit along with the island nachos, and Red Stripe barbecue wings, the beer mixed in the sauce.
"The Janga soup 'sell off' in here!" added Myers Matalon while Beckford chimed in, "and the Big Food is really big food," referring to the portions.
"It's a very creative approach to the menu. First of all, the menu is shaped like a record, and then the verbiage and actual copy used to describe the items is very creative. The menu starts off with an opening from Usain himself. Just a personal little quote to say 'welcome to my place' as if you're entering his living room. It's that kind of vibe," Myers Matalon added. It's all part of KLE's aim to 'stay true to the man'.
Myers Matalon said the produce is 100 per cent Jamaican, while most of the furniture is Jamaican-made. There are branded sauces and soon-to-be branded coffees hitting the market.
"From you enter the doors, straight through to your eating experience, we try to conceptualise the entire process in each destination. So whether you're in a lounge-type atmosphere, or a bar experience or a full-on dining experience, we try to cater to every need." She said 190 customers can be accommodated on a full-night in the over 7,000sq ft space, including a snazzy mezzanine that can be reserved for bigger dining groups.
"It (the mezzanine) is unique to any dining establishment here. We try to stay very global to the concept and very first world in the execution of the service platform. The food is local but standardised and executed in a way that it maintains the quality of any American franchise standard. Everything is done to perfection."
Tracks and Records is open every day from 11:30 a.m. to midnight.