Updated: 4th July 2012; This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
I don’t normally take lunch at work but instead snack throughout the day. I do once in a while. For the last few weeks, I had been going out with more frequency.
I wanted to inject some variety to what I had been eating. You know, I gravitate towards Asian food more than anything else. So this time, I went to the only Jamaican restaurant I know for lunch.
Island Pearl is located on Kingsway, just across the road from Metrotown. I had a feeling that this used to be another eatery once before … am not completely sure.
Jamaica is one of those countries that really fascinates me. It’s a small country. Jamaica has a land mass of only 1/3 of our Vancouver Island. It also has a total population of only 2.5 million which is slightly more than Metro Vancouver’s population of 2.2 million.
And yet for this small island, it had tremendous impact on music and sports. Home of Bob Marley, Jamaica is where reggae originates from. In sports, they are known as the nation that produces world record holders of the sprint. Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell are both Jamaicans. Pretty amazing isn’t it?
Island Pearl is a small eatery. There does not seems to be a lot of people who eat here each time I walk past. When I was there, I was the only customer.
Service was polite but slow. There is a certain laid back-ness to the people who work here.
Island Pearl doubles up as a store for all things Jamaican. You could get all kinds of Jamaican ingredients and food stuff in the store. They even carry Jamaican DVDs. Oh … you could even get Bubble Tea here too. I find that kind of odd having a Jamaican restaurant selling Bubble Tea.
I went ahead and try their Lunch Special. It was cheap — only $6.
I chose Goat Curry, the dish that is very Jamaican. Goat Curry is introduced by the small but influential Indian community in Jamaica but today is know more as a Jamaican cuisine than it is Indian.
The serving was small. The rice was not like what you get elsewhere (like Chinese or Greek) that is a massive mound of rice. Instead it was just like a scoop. But the rice is grainy and was flavourful. I have no idea what it is flavoured with but it was good.
The goat pieces were quite disappointingly few and small. The “curry” is more like gravy. Although flavorful, it is quite salty and not at all spicy.
Frankly, I was kind of disappointed with the food but then I understand that this is just a $6 Lunch Special.
I saw on the board that there are other (more expensive) dishes. Perhaps, yeah? Maybe those were better. So a week later, I went back to Pearl Island …
This second round, it was a toss up between Ackee or Oxtail — both very popular Jamaican food. They recommended that I should try Oxtail and so Oxtail it was.
I would have thought that at $13, this would be a world of difference from the $6 Goat Curry Lunch Special. Instead, it looked pretty much the same. And it tasted pretty much the same but with different meat. The oxtail too was more bone than it was meat.
So, yeah, I was kind of disappointed.
For drink, they recommended the Sof Drink Pineapple Ananas when I ask for something Jamaican. It is a carbonated drink with light pineapple flavour.
Does any one of you know of other Jamaican restaurants in town?