Giggling Jerks

May 25, 2011 9:41 am
Giggling Jerks

Aiming to be a classy Caribbean style restaurant, co-owners and brothers Devin and Dylan McLeod opened the doors of Giggling Jerks in August 2010, with the help of restaurant consultant and celebrity chef David Adjey. (Adjey’s work with the McLeods was even featured on THE OPENER, a reality show by the celebrity chef  that airs on Food Network Canada.)

Located at 332 Wilbrod Street in Sandy Hill, traditionally known as the U of O “student ghetto”, the McLeod brothers seek to bring a new perspective to this neighbourhood, which is now budding with families and couples. However, I can only say that despite their best efforts, the Giggling Jerks is still in the embryonic stage of being a “classy” restaurant. Heading to the restroom, customers are met with remnants of the renovation project that hadn’t been packed away or thrown out. Furthermore, there was a cold wintry draft that seeped in through the walls.

Being from Jamaica myself, I was a bit apprehensive about the menu because not everyone can cook a Caribbean dish but I was not to be disappointed. These brothers put a lot work in getting the right Caribbean flavours and tastes. My first order was the Slash & Burn Snapper, which was a Caribbean twist on the traditional English fish and chips. The fish came in a mouth-watering well-flavored batter mix with cornmeal, served with sweet potato fries. I then tried their signature dish, the Jerk Chicken. A deeply flavoured juicy half chicken was presented on a steaming bed of traditional Caribbean rice and peas, accentuated with fresh sauteed collard greens. A sizzling dish with moist, tender and correctly seasoned meat had me for a moment feeling right at home. (For those interested in non-Caribbean dishes, the menu also includes fare such as quesadillas, nachos and turkey club wraps.)

While the Giggling Jerks may still have a few kinks to iron out, they are on the right track. Or as we Jamaicans like to say “Dem ah come to come.”

From Asia with Love and Spice

May 21, 2011 9:42 am
East India Company

When referring to Asian food, more often than not, images of neatly manicured sushi plates, wherein the individual pieces and condiments fit together with the exactness of a jigsaw puzzle and beg the same type of wonder as a perfectly folded fitted sheet, come to mind. No untrained human is ever able to re-create either of these phenomena to the same aesthetic standard. Others imagine paper box containers, filled to the brim with MSG-flavoured goodness.
Joy Restaurant on Somerset offers a variety of Asian fare that is sure to please any discerning customer. Whether it is a spring roll, soup or chicken teriyaki, this Asian restaurant seems to do justice to Korean, Japanese and fusion dining equally well. The restaurant’s décor throws one off for a loop a bit, as it is mysteriously painted in Mediterranean colours and seems to further the Hispanic pretense with iron crosses on the wall. However, the fare offerings quickly put you back in your place. The portions are generous and the food is well worth the price.
Right across the street is yet another formidable gastronomic representative from the continent that brought us the fortune cookie.
The East India Company Restaurant taps into its wealth of spices to offer a smorgasbord so colourful and bright, you expect a unicorn to gallop in at any moment. The $20 dinner buffet is an experience for the senses like no other. The tables are laden with variety of rice, meats, salads and vegetables, spiced to perfection. Indian food seems to be the reason for adjectives like tangy, flavourful and aromatic to exist. Whether it was the curried chicken, the tender, buttery basmati rice or the accompanying pickled lime, the flavours worked beautifully together to wake up each and every taste bud. In comparison, the desserts seem a bit dull and disappointingly unadventurous. Load up on the main course, however. It will keep you filled and happy for the rest of the week.

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