The brand new Jamaican restaurant “Kingston 21” in Abu Dhabi is the primary Jamaican-owned and operated eatery within the metropolis to supply genuine Jamaican dishes. Kingston 21 opened in April of 2021 and includes a menu of conventional island favorites, together with curry goat, jerk hen, oxtail, ackee and saltfish, Jamaican beef patties, Jamaican porridge, recent escovitch fish, and candy potato pudding. Kingston 21 takes its identify from the capital metropolis of Jamaica and is a reference to postcodes.
Abu Dhabi options a number of Caribbean eating places however Kingston 21 is the primary and just one to make use of elements imported straight from Jamaica and to make use of Jamaican cooks. The menu has been known as “a blast of nostalgia” for individuals from the island or who’ve visited there and crave its distinctive island flavors. Among the many gadgets standard with diners at Kingston 21 are jerk barbecue wings, plantain chips, and toto, a conventional Jamaican coconut spice cake. For lovers of brunch, the restaurant’s providing of Jamaica’s nationwide dish, ackee and salt fish, is very really helpful, as is the well-known Blue Mountain espresso from the island. The bodily house of Kingston 21 additionally displays an appreciation and love for Jamaica with its laid-back, informal vibe and the reggae posters on the partitions. Its out of doors consuming space provides to the island ambiance are the water views supplied at its location in Al Raha seashore.
Kesian Bennett, 28, moved to the capital in 2018 and launched Kingston 21 when she realized that Abu Dhabi didn’t have any Jamaican eating places. Whereas she has a profession in educating, she was prompted to observe her dream of opening her personal restaurant by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on Bennett, it made her unhappy to have to remain indoors on a regular basis in 2020. As a result of she is a house chef, she did “a number of cooking” on the time, and her web page on Instagram stuffed up with posts about her cooking till she in the end began a YouTube channel that includes her dishes and renewed her dream of have a restaurant.
Bennett labored with cooks to recreate the dishes she loved when she was rising up in Jamaica. Her objectives was all the time to maintain the delicacies as conventional as doable, utilizing actual Jamaican elements imported from Jamaica, in addition to conventional cooking strategies and spices. Kingston 21 even has a charcoal grill for cooking genuine jerk hen. A number of the menu gadgets have been “tweaked,” nonetheless, in honor of Abu Dhabi’s multicultural neighborhood: oxtail ragu and pumpkin risotto are examples of the cosmopolitan effort.
Bennett stated her exhausting work is paying off, with the response to her restaurant being “phenomenal.” The individuals in Abu Dhabi are very open to making an attempt new issues, she stated, and plenty of locals are particularly within the espresso served at Kingston 21. The appreciation expressed by the neighborhood is the “icing on the cake,” Bennett added, saying that it’s “wonderful to have the ability to add worth to Abu Dhabi, and share my tradition and meals with the individuals right here.”
Picture Courtesy of Kingston 21