Guest blogger Saran Hutchinson shares with us her thoughts on Scotchie's Restaurant in Kingston.
Scotchie's dining huts surrounded by plants and flowers
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Half Way Tree, on Chelsea Avenue aggressively close to Chelsea Jerk Centre - traditionally considered THE Kingston jerk joint - has blossomed a new buzz worthy dining option. Scotchie’s has come to Town. This much to the great pleasure of those of us who before would yearn for a country outing in part to stop at Scotchie’s and sample their varied offerings. The restaurant had its beginning in Montego Bay, St. James many years ago and from there migrated to Drax Hall, St. Ann. It has gained worldwide recognition, having been featured in numerous television programmes and magazine articles. The now notorious Star Jones, formerly of ABC’s “The View” named the Montego Bay location as one of her favourite dining spots.
Restaurant patron on his way to get his jerk
In Kingston, the venue is a well manicured area with flowers and plants which have been thoughtfully chosen it seems, to provide a kind of green retreat in the urban centre and a variation from typical dining in the metropolis. The food is GREAT, though some have commented that it is inconsistent. I was lucky on both my visits to get the pork - or “Arnold” as we Jamaicans like to call it - just in time, and for me the flavour and seasoning were just right. The jerk is authentically spicy, even without the addition of the hot sauce. For some the chicken is a viable option but considering myself a true jerk fan, it would have been unforgivable to pass on the pork. Conch soup, breadfruit, sweet potato, corn, hard dough bread, and festival are also available on the menu and the patrons seem to be coming in droves to feed what can only be described as a Scotchie’s addiction. When I arrived at exactly twelve noon on Saturday afternoon, there were three cars in the parking lot, including mine. By the time I had finished and was leaving, the more than adequate parking area provided was full. Kingstonians are down with the Scotchie’s movement!
Paul, a cook, exposes the chicken for the camera
The location is set up like a typical Jamaican jerk spot, but with little touches of grace. The chairs and tables are made from wooden logs, there are separated huts for dining all contributing to the location’s very rustic feel, yet the restaurant is made lush with an overabundance of plants, flowers, and the occasional hummingbird. Patrons can place their order with the cashier then proceed to watch their food being prepared in front of the fully visible kitchen. Interestingly, diners also have the option to be seated and served by wait staff provided. This seems to have been an evolution based on the needs of Kingstonians as this facility is not available in Drax Hall or Montego Bay. A bar area, similar to what obtains at the Drax Hall location, is also available allowing patrons who wish only to have a drink. This though must require quite a bit of self mastery: imagine inhaling the wonderful aromas and not eating any of the food!
Good food, good atmosphere. In Jamaica there has been a long standing tradition of country folk coming to town to seek better fortunes. Sometimes they are successful, sometimes they are not. For my part I must say I wholly endorse Scotchie’s urban drift. Further, I would say based on the number of diners I saw on the Saturday I went, Kingstonians agree: this is one country migration to the city that is very welcome.
The friendly cook Mark
Africk poses by the scale
The hibiscus provides sweet nectar for visitng hummingbirds