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Easter 'EITings': Café Eits

Published:Thursday | April 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Fresh 'From Farm to Table' garden salad made with ingredients from Fox's food basket.
Seafood and Potatoes a la Mariniere. The seafood is marinated with a cream-based white wine sauce mixed with potatoes, fish, shrimps, scallops and octopus to give this very unique meal.
Herbed grilled lamb chops served with herbed potatoes. It can be served with a choice of either rice or steamed vegetables. - photos by Gladstone Taylor/Photographer
Eggplant and zucchini that were freshly harvested by the farmers from Fox's food basket.
Seeing that our visit coincided with the Easter season, there was the good ol' Jamaican Easter bun topped with brandy icing.
Appleton ice cream rum cake.

Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer

On a particularly cloudy day, The Gleaner team made its way into the winding hills of Newcastle for a dining experience like none other. What was to be expected? No one knew. The hour-long ride through the mountainous terrain was a bit gruelling at times. Why would someone drive all this way to eat? Why open a restaurant this far atop the mountains? These were some of the questions that were being thrown around as the journey continued through the hilly terrain.

Signs that read 'Café Eits' were scattered here and there, yet that wasn't enough. It was an indication that we were on the right path, but it didn't provide much reassurance as it related to the distance. Nestled precariously on a hillside was the father-daughter-run EITS café and Mount Edge Guest House.

EITs café is an acronym for 'Europe in the summer' and with their mantra 'From farm to table', this little oasis offers salad greens, vegetables, herbs from the locally grown Fox's food-basket farm into delectable fusion style European and Jamaican cuisine. According to restaurant manager Robyn Fox, "EITS café is different from other restaurants in Jamaica because we offer farm-fresh produce to the table within just minutes of it being harvested," pointing our attention to freshly harvested zucchini and eggplant.

Kitchen experience

The dining experience was a breathtaking view of the mountains and parts of the city below in a rustic, casual yet relaxing environment. From the hand-made furnishings to the 'outdoor' kitchen experience, one could be reminded of an ol' time Jamaica. As a first-time patron one would be surprised at the calibre of meals that are served from that very unassuming kitchen. Great portions and diverse menu offerings consisting of shark, octopus, shrimp, chicken, nasturtium petals, arugula and many more, have the palate sweltering as the aroma wafts by from the kitchen.

Wait! Were we still in Jamaica? The waiter, Omar McGregor, who Robyn shared is a part of the staff who all live in and around the district, presented us with our first course. Yes, first course. Despite the laid-back atmosphere of the place, it was a true dining experience, Europe in the summer indeed.

As we made our way through each course, we couldn't help but notice the stream of regulars who were making their way uphill and inside the café, having casual and relaxed conversation with the staff. Within three hours of The Gleaner's arrival, the entire upper deck was filled with visiting patrons both from Jamaica and abroad. Present was a nice family camaraderie as Michael Fox casually moved about the dining area making light conversation while engaging the community members who were outside setting up for a party later on.

But why open a European-theme restaurant in Jamaica? Robyn shared that it all started out of the farm. "We grow a number of herbs and vegetables that can't be easily obtained in Jamaica and most of the guests who come, the guest house are Europeans who are open to Jamaican cuisine but miss their own back home, so we cater to that need," she stated.

So, for persons who want a unique dining experience, we recommend Café EITS nestled in the Newcastle hills. There are also a number of cabins for persons who want a longer getaway experience, items of works of art are on sale, as well as a soon-to-be-completed yoga deck overlooking the mountains.