Sometimes I wonder how restaurants fall under my radar. I love spicy food, but for some reason I hadn’t been to a Caribbean restaurant, until just recently
As we approached Jamaican Jills on a hot and humid July evening we could hear the sound of a steel drum ringing out to the sound of Bob Marley – what better accompaniment could we wish for to set the scene? The television screens showed Jamaica’s hero Usain Bolt – the fastest man on earth sprinting around the track – which made me think that if this is the sort of tucker he was raised on, then it must be good.
Bernie Davies is the lady responsible for bringing the distinctive flavours of her country to Swansea and boy do they pack a punch. Not in a fiery way, but in that they have a deep savouriness that only comes with long slow cooking.
The starters list is quite long and can be ordered tapas style to share, which is what we did. Jerk seasoning features high in Jamaican cuisine, and like so many spice mixes seems to vary from chef to chef. As far as I can tell they all contain amongst others, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice berries, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, paprika, dried thyme and salt. This dry rub can be used to flavour all types of meat and fish. Here we had meaty pork ribs, prawns and chicken wings. The ribs were melt in the mouth, the meat literally falling off the bones. I love ribs but I find the ubiquitous barbeque sauce that they usually come with too sweet, so to find these that had a wonderfully warm spicy flavour without the gloop was wonderful.
Jamaica is also famous for its curried goat – something I have wanted to try for a very long time. Boy was it worth the wait – tender chunks of meat very similar in flavour to lamb but deeper – served with rice and peas – not green peas but red kidney beans – but the perfect accompaniment to soak up the rich juices.
A special on the menu was oxtail stew – another meat that has to be cooked for hours on a low heat. If you like neck of lamb served on the bone then you’ll love this. The meat was so tender you could eat it with a spoon. The portion size was huge and even my trencherman husband struggled to finish it – but it was too good to waste.
If you like warm, spicy, filling food, cooked with love then Jamaican Jills is for you – it’s the food of Olympians.
Jamaican Jills, City Gates, Wind Street, Swansea SA1 1EE Tel: 01792 476222 www.jamaicanjills.com
Two years ago Sketty gained a very special coffee shop – not just because it served fantastic coffee, but because it was the first speciality coffee shop in Swansea and it had a social conscience. Now I’m delighted to report that Peg 2 has opened in Mumbles.
Their aim is to be a global example of how business can be done differently – by giving back to the community. They do this by giving all the profit to charity, serving the highest quality coffee, sourcing the best local food suppliers in South Wales and building great relationships with their customers and everyone in the community. Their flagship store in Sketty was able to give £7000 away to its supported charities “Zac’s Place” and “Children of Hope Kenya” in the first 2 years of trading.
The new shop Peg 2 works in partnership with its neighbours upstairs “Red Cafe Community Projects”
www.redcafe.org.uk to give all its profits to the amazing community projects that they support.
The new shop has a much larger space and so they’ll be running all their training and apprentice-ship programs there with NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) children with additional needs and others who need a step-up into the working world, such as survivors of human trafficking.
They raised just over £2500 to fund the shop from the generosity of friends and customers at Square Peg Sketty. Shop manager, Josh Pike said:
“1 in 6 people in the UK will experience mental health problems each week. That means as a shop we have contact with approximately 50 people every day that may be going through some form of mental health problem.
“A big part of our job at Square Peg is seeing people through really tough daily struggles of mental health, from anxiety and depression to suicide and addictions.
“Our aim is to be a part of the solution to these charities – businesses CAN give their money away and we are determined to lead the way in this for small independents.”
So next time you’re in Sketty or Mumbles and are in need of an exceptional cup of coffee, pop in and give them your support.
Peg 2, 646 Mumbles Road, Swansea SA3 4EA
Tel: 07547 987111