Jenny’s Jerk Chicken

 

In my review of 2017 I bemoaned the lack of Jewish, Eastern European and Caribbean restaurants in the City Centre and, of course, the minute Leeds Living had published the review, I recalled having seen Jenny’s Jerk Chicken in the food hall at the bottom end of Kirkgate Market. I had been meaning to go for some time ago but kept events overtook my good intentions, so I thought that I would pay a visit today. It was appropriate because one of my New Year Resolutions was to stop procrastinating, well it was going to be but on second thoughts I decided to put it off until next year.

The food hall has started to fill up nicely, with various street food stalls from different parts of the world, and I could easily do a couple of months’ worth of reviews without leaving the place. The good thing is that they are permanent fixtures and not there for a limited time, which meant that Jenny’s is still in residence. The menu is quite varied but, as I hadn’t had my favourite Caribbean dish for some time, I opted for the Curried Goat with Rice and Peas for £6 and a can of Guava soda for £1. I don’t know why goat seems to be served solely by Windies restaurants. I have never seen it on a French menu, although they keep goats for chivre (goat’s cheese) as do the Italians and we Brits. It is a wonderfully tasty meat, especially when it is cooked as it is here, on the bone. It has the rich flavour which can hold its own with a curry sauce although this one was not particularly strong, having just enough kick to add an extra dimension to the meat. Do beware of the bones though as dental treatment can make the otherwise bargain price very expensive. The rice was also flavourful as the peas are of the black variety, a bit like kidney beans but again they added to the flavour perfectly. An alternative for the same price was Mutton Curry, Coconut Rice being a further accompaniment option. Along with the curry and rice came a salad with or without mayo.

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If the food was great, the service was better. As with other food halls you get your meal and retire to a table which enables people dining together to choose food from different outlets and still sit together. This is taken a stage further here as the tables are long ones with a bench on either side, so there is every opportunity to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I digress. When I ordered my lunch the chap who served me noticed that I had two carrier bags, having just done my weekend shopping, and he told me to find a seat and he would deliver the goodies to me, a gesture above and beyond the call of duty.

I am happy to recommend Jenny’s Jerk Chicken as it was one of the best experiences I have had in a while. It has just struck me why goat meat is not on menus very often. I seem to recall that the young males of the species, especially in the west of the United States, have been known to inflict fatal attacks on people. The one I read about was called Billy The Kid. Luckily it couldn’t happen here as we live in a Nanny State.

Article first published by Leeds Living on 11th January, 2018

 

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Turtle Bay

There can be no finer way to spend a summer lunchtime than having a couple of glasses of wine and a salad whilst gazing out over the deep blue/green of the Caribbean Sea, the sun glinting off the waves and the small boats bobbing up and down; the locals in their bright summer clothes passing by at a gentle pace in no particular hurry to get anywhere.

A close second must come the wine, salad and looking across Leeds’ Albion Street to the brown/grey concrete of the Halifax Bank, the heat haze shimmering above the tarmac and the taxis, buses and cars carving one another up in a bid to beat the green light on the Headrow – and the citizens of that wonderful conurbation in a rush to get back to work or catch a bus besporting their pasty white torsos in a weird variety of shorts, tops or overalls with hi-viz vests. Ah! the romance of it all. Turning away from the window the ambience of the West Indies was a little more in evidence with a central island bar and beach hut decor. I say West Indian but, according to Google maps the only Turtle Bay listed is in Hawaii, which is about as far away from the Caribbean as Albion Street is. Nit picking done, let’s eat. I try not to review chains but there are not too many of this franchise so I am willing to stretch a point. The first thing to mention is the service, which was exemplary, so much so that my waitress, Laura Costello according to the bill, even went so far as to laugh at my jokes, definitely above and beyond the call of duty. She showed me to my table, after having given me a choice, and gave me the menu. She informed me that wine was on offer at two for the price of one and so I may wish to peruse the drink menu first and she would bring the booze straight away to enjoy whilst reading the food menu. I love this place already. The wine selection is limited and labelled ‘Good’, ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ with three or four choices in each. From the ‘Better’ section I ordered the Primitivo at £5.60 for 175ml., or should I say 350ml. What a bargain. Not only was it cheap but also very palatable and just light enough to accompany the salad I was about to order. The one problem is that both glasses arrived simultaneously so everyone looking in the restaurant window thinks that I have a drink problem, which I do: I only have one mouth.

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The usual dilemma presented itself in that there was a lunch section, and given my strap line, I could hardly order from anywhere else even though I would have loved a goat curry and dumplings. It was possibly a sign as I am going to Italy next week and need to bank a few saved calories before I hit the gnocchi and polenta. It was also such a lovely day that a salad was probably the better choice. It was billed on the menu as ‘Chicken Festival Salad’ and described as ‘Grilled jerk chicken, dressed rocket, baby gem, sugar snaps, avocado, mango, onion, citrus dressing.’ The price was £9.50. It arrived well presented with the seared jerk chicken atop of the fruit and vegetable components which were all of liberal amounts. The sugar snaps had been cut at an angle like runner beans, rather than left whole which was a nice touch, as was a few shavings of fresh coconut to garnish. The chicken was not as spicy as I was expecting but something lurking in the dressing had a bit of a kick to it. The rest of the dressing had a citrus tang which gave the whole dish a very refreshing taste.

Being a man of iron will, and one who had just consumed half a bottle of Italian red, I asked the waitress for the dessert menu. When she brought it, the ever helpful Laura asked me if I would like her to recommend the dessert which was her mother’s favourite. I replied that it may be more a propos to let me know which one her grandmother would order. This triggered fits of laughter which seemed genuine so I did what I always do when I get a laugh from a young lady and surreptitiously checked my fly. I never did get an answer so I went for the Caymanas Rum Cake with rum caramel and vanilla ice cream at £4.85 and a black Americano (£1.70). The rum cake was not as rich as it sounded and was lovely and light, and the caramel sauce and ice cream complimented each other perfectly, warm and rich and cold and refreshing, in that order! My only quibble about the whole meal was the coffee which was very much on the weak side. Other than that the whole lunch was wonderful. I may even come back for that goat curry and dumplings once I have shed the Venetian calories.

Article first published by Leeds Living on 9th June, 2016