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.”