Jamaican Ways on Hartley Road in Radford is a Caribbean café and restaurant serving up good honest selection of Caribbean fare. As you walk in to order you are greeted by the large brightly coloured menu board offering all the standard offerings such as Jerk Chicken, Brown Stew Chicken, Mutton Curry, and Rice and Peas.
Lean in just a little closer and you can peruse the daily specials from another chalk board, when I was in that was a plate of Paprika chicken with rice. Around the side there is another counter with trays of sides and snacks such as Saltfish fritters, Ackee and Saltfish, Steamed Cabbage, and Macaroni Pie (I didn’t find that counter until I was about to pay)
It was all looking so good that I ended up coming back for a few days in a row.
What have I tried? Well lets see there was……
Jerk Chicken with ‘Rice & Peas’
On the first visit I was here in the mood for some Jerk Chicken and to go with that, well what else? A side of ‘Rice and Peas’! There was a choice of having the chicken on or off the bone. I went for the on the bone option as I find that to be the tastiest and also it did look really good. The jerk sauce covered crispy skin was hiding the moist juicy chicken which practically fell of the bone. It wasn’t quite as spicy as I was expecting but still had a little kick. The jerk sauce filled with onion that was covering the chicken and the rice was kind of sweet as well as spicy which I did not expect. I had been prepared to have my tastebuds assaulted with a fire of chilli heat, but actually I quite liked this sweet and milder version of the sauce. It made the whole experience a lot more pleasurable caressing my taste buds instead.
This was a really good sized plateful a good quarter of a very large chicken, more rice and peas than one could eat in one go, and enough sauce to last to the final bite. How good was the chicken? Well I ended up picking up the bones to suck the last bits of sauce and meat from them, so perhaps that gives you the answer.
Coco Bread Sandwich with Chicken Bites and Jerk Sauce
It was suggested that I should return to try one of the ‘Coco Bread Sandwiches’ after I had tweeted out about eating the Jerk Chicken and ‘Rice and Peas’ dish. Never one too shirk my responsibility I felt it was my duty to return to try one. Hunger and a Gluttonous appetite had no bearing on my decision (ahem), I was pretty glad that I did as well. There were quite a few interesting choices for fillings on offer; Ackee, Patti, Plantin, and Mutton, but in the end it came down to a straight choice between the Coley fish bites and the Chicken bites. I took the simpler option and ordered the Coco Bread Sandwich with the chicken bites plus some jerk sauce and salad. It was a really good sandwich, nice soft bread packed with filling. The chicken bites covered in the sauce were quite spicy and the heat built up as I ate the sandwich. Luckily the crunchy salad took some of that heat away. This was a very decent sandwich, well sized (You could have easily shared it between two people), and good value at £3.50. I think I would like to try some of the other fillings as well in particular the Coley Fish Bites looked good in the tray on the counter.
While I was waiting for my sandwich on an earlier visit I was looking at all of the different trays of food on offer and saw what I thought was a Mac n Cheese tray. I thought to myself that it probably wasn’t so I asked what it was and found that it was indeed mac n cheese. It looked pretty good and I sensed that the owner could see the gluttony in my eyes and suggested that I should try it next time I was in. Well I had been in two days in a row so perhaps he was confident that I was about to become a regular.
So it was true, he was right this week, and I had returned specifically just to get a portion of this ‘Jamaican’ style Mac n Cheese. What would it be like? I was intrigued, which was why I had driven the 7 miles across town to get some. I love a good mac n cheese and I like mine made with several different cheeses and whenever possible I quite like a bit of bacon in the sauce. This was nothing like the ‘American’ style dishes I furtively seek out, the crisp melted cheesy topping was just like that which you get on a nice portion of cheesy mash, I liked that part. The sauce was not that cheesy and was filled with sweetcorn kernels, penne pasta, and some streaks of spinach or perhaps cabbage leaf? folded in within the sauce. It was different but yet different in a good way. I could see myself eating this as a side with a quarter piece of Jerk Chicken, pretty darn good I reckon. Even better I think that it was only around £2.50 for a slice that was about 4″ by 6″ and a good 2″ deep, I would guess about half a pound in weights worth. Great value indeed!
I had a lot of good meals this week at Jamaican Ways and can recommend a visit!
Just some of the Chicken Options to whet your appetite
Where is it?
If you want to try a lot of different types of Jamaican foods and you want to get some really friendly service as well then I would recommend coming to Jamaican ways in Radford.
Just take note that it is not open on Mondays. You can find parking on the road nearby as long as you can order and eat within an hour you should be OK