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Jamaic-away Sandwich And Coffee Bar Review

Lynda Moyo likes the simple things in life including bun and cheese

Written by . Published on May 30th 2013.


Jamaic-away Sandwich And Coffee Bar Review
 

EVERY now and then a new independent food place comes along that really wants to make a difference. Not because it’s already a trend (cupcakes, burger bars anyone?) but because they have an idea that has the potential to become a trend.

The goat, which was real goat by the way and not the mutton substitute occasionally sneaked in to create bulk, came perfectly lean and tender with the bones acting as succulent craters for the curry sauce.

Jamaic-away on Whitworth Street West is that idea. But has it got potential?

Well it’s not the most plush of surroundings, but it’s clean and spacious; best of all it’s inviting.

Jamaic-away interiorJamaic-away interior

The young ladies who run the place want their reputation to be about more than just the food, as they reiterate in the ‘mission statement’ on their leaflets. Now that may sound like an obvious goal for any food establishment, but when it comes to customer service in Caribbean takeaways there is a bar ready to be raised.

With its favourable service and welcoming, homely approach, Jamaic-away has the potential to be the new dawn in Caribbean takeaways.

It’s no secret that hostility can seem commonplace in some of the older Caribbean takeaways. It’s as if a bad attitude comes as part of the menu sometimes, like it or lump it.

They’ll always have their regulars out in certain suburbs of course, but they wouldn’t last a minute in the city centre where choice is plentiful. Luckily, with its favourable service and welcoming, homely approach, Jamaic-away has the potential to be the new dawn in Caribbean takeaways.

Jamaic-awayJamaic-away

The menu itself offers a surprisingly wide selection of food. It’s predominantly Caribbean staples such as curry goat (£5.50), jerk chicken (£5.50) and stewed chicken (£5.50) all served with rice ‘n’ peas, veg or coleslaw as standard.

Jamaic-away Mission StatementJamaic-away Mission StatementThere are Jamaican sundries too such as patties (£1.50), dumplings (75p) and plantain (£1) and even a full Jamaican breakfast (£4.25) consisting of pan fried mackerel, eggs, fried plantain and Caribbean beans. On top of this, the ladies offer their Caribbean verison of meals such as chilli and rice (£4), moussaka (£5) and sheppard’s pie (£4.50). 

While their spelling of shepherd’s pie might be enough to put off any lunchtime pedants among us, it’s this type of nochalance which will always make me smile inwardly at Caribbean takeaways. As a friend once told me of his experience when questioning a particular meal whilst on holiday in Jamaica, he was casually told: “If ya na like it, ya na eat it.”

As it happens, on the whole we did enjoy our food at Jamaic-away. Opting for the classic curry goat (see main picture) and the chilli and rice with Caribbean flavours, despite being a takeaway, there are a few large tables to eat-in and it’s certainly nice enough to do so. They even serve it on proper plates with silverware too.

Jamaic-away chilli and rice filled with Caribbean flavoursJamaic-away chilli and rice filled with Caribbean flavours

The goat, which was real goat by the way and not the mutton substitute occasionally sneaked in to create bulk, came perfectly lean and tender with the bones acting as succulent craters for the curry sauce.

The chilli too was equally satisfying but I warn you, the additional ‘Caribbean flavours’ do need to be washed down with a pint of ice cold milk if you’re not used to super spicy dishes. I consider myself to be at the scotch bonnet end of spice tolerance but this was perhaps one kick too far, overpowering an otherwise well seasoned chilli with an interesting and varied selection of beans taking the place of the standard kidney beans.

Both dishes came with slightly undercooked rice ‘n’ peas too unfortunately, but given the empty plates (bar the clean goat bones) it was by and large a pleasing feast.

Heading back to the counter to order desserts, it was disappointing to hear “no carrot cake today sorry” when it was clearly listed on the menu. However the assistant did go on to explain they are in the process of changing their permanent menu board to one which can be rewritten daily according to what food they’ve got in.

Makes sense really. There are only two ladies running the joint and yet the menu is vast. They’d be wise to focus on one special per day alongside their regular dishes, done perfectly of course.

Jamaic-away cornflake pie and custardJamaic-away cornflake pie and custard

Not one to disappoint however, she suggested an off the menu cornflake pie instead, which we ordered along with a Jamaican classic, bun and cheese. Proof the simplest food is often the most satisfying, we didn’t even speak while eating these two dishes.

Cornflake pie is a pudding of school dinner days gone by, only this one is better than the memories. Sweet, glazed cornflakes layered on buttery pastry mixed with jam explosions and doused in lump free custard. If the cold weather is getting you down, this will fill you up.

Another simple and comforting dish, bun and cheese is lightly spiced, fruity brown bread with a thick layer of butter and chunky slices of cheddar. It works in the same sweet and savoury way as hot cross buns with cheese and is also widely eaten at Easter.

Jamaic-away bun and cheeseJamaic-away bun and cheese

For X Factor fans, you might also remember a girl group named Bun ‘Nd Cheese who auditioned back in 2010. Explaining their band name to a baffled Dermot O’Leary one simply said: “Because we love it so much we eat it every day.” They were right about the food, wrong about their singing ‘talents’.

As for Jamaic-away, it’s a yes from me.

Follow Lynda on Twitter @lyndamoyo

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE. 

Jamaic-away, 21 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, M1 5ND.

Rating: 14/20 (please see the criteria below for an explanation of the scoring)
Food: 7.5/10
Service: 4.5/5
Ambience: 2/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Lynda Moyo shared this on Facebook on May 30th 2013.
MagurdracMay 30th 2013.

This is comforting in a way... I thought it was just me that had upset the lady at the Caribbean takeaway near Boundary Lane in Hulme. With 2 people working there, she took my order, and then proceeded to sit down and turn her chair 180 degrees with her back to me so she could look at a wall instead! :(

paulJune 2nd 2013.

Off for a Barph

Hero
Manc GuyJune 3rd 2013.

Mmmm...yummy! I'll have some used beige food please, and can I have some bread with that cheese please? "8 comments so far"? Where did they all go Mancon?

1 Response: Reply To This...
IanJune 4th 2013.

I said it looked the worst cheese sandwich ever and my comment was removed

AnonymousJune 4th 2013.

Been wanting to try this place for ages but it's never open!

Luis LoganAugust 21st 2013.

There's a lovely v.small West Indian takeaway next to Salford Central station near Spinnningfields past Bridge St. Great prices.

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Latest Rants

Anonymous

The staff should wear clothes made out of corn flakes.

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Jonny

Dress the staff as Tony the Tiger and the honey monster, otherwise i'm just not interested. ;)

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Another Tim

Actually, it seems like this pricing model is designed to encourage eating fast and getting out of…

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Another Tim

I don't think it's a silly question at all. Possibly not in keeping with the spirit of the place.…

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