It’s safe to say that you’re buried deep under a rock if you haven’t heard about Brian Lumley, one of Jamaica’s most revered chefs, and who has already begun his journey on becoming a regional culinary pioneer. This under-25 gourmet prodigy has already received a number of local and international accolades, the latest being the coveted Caribbean Chef of the Year award at the recently concluded Taste of the Caribbean 2013 Culinary Showcase in Miami, Florida. (Read more here)
But, of highest note – and the realization of any chef’s dream – is his very own restaurant, 689 by Brian Lumley located in the heart of Jamaica’s capital city Kingston. I along with fellow foodies and food critics had the opportunity to partake in a private pre-opening tasting earlier this week and it was quite memorable dining experience! I had the pleasure of being accompanied by two very good friends, Joleen and Nakeeta.
To kick-off the 5 course meal, we were served a bowl of piping hot fish chowder with fresh garlic bread. The garlic bread faded into the background as I sipped away at the luxurious chowder while thinking yes, just the perfect dish to prepare the stomach for rest of the night.
While we waited for course 2, our waiter, Omar, came presenting my all-time-fave cocktail, mojitos! Peach mojitos to be exact. Boy was I in heaven! Actually, make that THREE trips to heaven…I just couldn’t get enough.
Then came course 2, a delectable platter of curried chicken spring rolls with thai chilli sauce. The contrasting flavours and textures worked well with this dish. Just when we thought we had enough, our tastebuds prompted us for one last bite. Next thing you know, we’re staring at the remaining sauce and wondering, how did that happen!
By time we finished a few jokes, course 3 was on its way. A healthy serving of lobster spaghettini splashed with wine got me excited. Its lobster; it’s supposed to secrete an ounce or two of endorphins. Perfectly cooked pasta, with a light tomato sauce and conspicuous chunks of lobster meat. The dish was a little shy of salt, but that was quickly taken care of. The rest was history.
By this time, Brian had announced that there would have been a service break where patrons were free to chat with the chef himself, intermingle, or check out the bar.
After about 45 minutes or so, service resumed with course 4 which consisted of two entrées: coconut curry green split peas with house-made flat bread and a Herbes de Provence chicken breast with fresh tomato sauce. The house-made flatbread was the perfect vehicle to transport the intricate medley of flavours that was the split pea curry where it needed to be – in my tummy!
Now onto the chicken dish. Guys, believe me when I tell you that this. was. the. most. perfectly. cooked. chicken. ever. Cutting into the chicken took zero effort. Then the moment it arrived to my mouth I was instantly alerted that this ain’t no ordinary chicken! Perfectly moist, perfectly seasoned, and perfectly aromatized with a classic medley of dried herbs. The accompanying tomato sauce provided the perfect pairing to the delicate flavours. Joleen, Nakeeta and I couldn’t stop mentioning how perfect the chicken was. I even made sure I commended Brian on this in particular. It takes some good skills to get chicken this perfect!
And then, what would any good meal be without a great dessert. So said, so done. A luxurious passion fruit cheesecake that needed to be savoured one bite at a time! Hats off to the pastry chef for creating the perfect balance of sweet and tang. The seeds on top added another level of textural complexity, allowing for an even more enjoyable mouthfeel. Truly divine.
The second dessert was a pineapple, guava and ginger tart. I’m not really a big fan of tarts, but this was pretty yummy! (Or probably I was too mesmerized by the cheesecake).
Indeed it was a great night. We were pleased. Our stomachs were pleased. All was well with the world.
The doors will officially swing open on September 8 at 6:00 p.m. And no, that’s not the meaning behind the “689”. Then what is it really? Well, there’s a beautifully designed mural inside with the whole shebang, so go make your reservations and check it out! (To reserve a table on opening night email firstname.lastname@example.org). 689 is located at 20-22 Trinidad Terrace, Kingston (Quad entrance).
Let me know how your experience was,