Since moving to Downtown this summer, Ting Irie, a Jamaican restaurant serving up a fresh, modern take on Caribbean cuisine was high on our list of places to discover. Admittedly my evening cooking has taken quite a hit with such an abundance of eateries within walking distance, I mean why slave away in the kitchen when we can eat our way around the world at least a couple of nights a week? 😉
The last time I ate Jamaican food was a number of years ago back in my hometown in a little restaurant that has been there forever! It’s traditional with spicy and yummy flavours that hit the spot, and so when we were invited down to Ting Irie to discover their Family Friday Fun’ch – well we jumped at the chance to experience a taste of the Caribbean right on our (new) doorstep.
The restaurant is accessed through the Souk Al Manzil and the authentic reggae posters adorning the windows give a taste of what’s to come. Upon entering you instantly feel the atmosphere and those good ol’ Jamaican vibes! The majority of the staff are Jamaican as well as a great manager from Blackpool (we love meeting a fellow Northerner!) All were welcoming, friendly and great with the little ones.
Comfortably seated, we were brought fruity welcome mocktails (the venue isn’t yet licensed) and browsed the a la carte brunch menu while Elliott made his way to the ‘Pickney’ table, an area set up for the little ones with colouring sheets and crayons, play-do, lego and pretend food, as well as a few edible treats too 😉 *Pickney means child in Jamaican.
A welcome change from the getting-up-and-down buffet brunches, Ting Irie’s Family Fun’ch is made up of a choice of three ‘Likkle Plates’ (starters), two big plates and two sides, followed by two ‘Sweet Tings’ (desserts). There are also five different mocktails to choose from. The brunch is priced at AED 195 each for adults and AED 95 for children which isn’t the cheapest however portions are generous and you’ll not leave hungry.
After much deliberation we agreed on the ‘Patty Crust Nachos topped with Beef’, the ‘Jerk Chicken Shawarma’ and the ‘Chips O-Mon Burger’. For starter portions they were HUGE and oh-so fresh and tasty. The Nachos were a real highlight for us all and probably the best I’ve ever tasted with slow braised Oxtail, avocado cubes, tomato salsa and a sauce with a hint of spice. They were incredibly moreish and, starting to feel full already, it took a lot of willpower to stop nibbling! Each dish arrives to the table on sharing platters, a great concept to really make the most of family time together.
There are some seriously insta-worthy interiors inside Ting Irie which is made up of a few different sections; a bright and airy space at the front of the restaurant where we sat amongst other diners that felt very child friendly, and a more intimate area at the back, perfect for a date night sans kiddos. The atmosphere was starting to build as more families, couples and friends arrived – it really is a place for everyone and as the pop tunes infused with reggae flowed (think Bob Marley and Beenie Man) this only added to the already buzzy vibe. I later realised as we visited the bathrooms that a DJ was spinning these cool tracks and we Shazam’d a few to get our Jamaican-on at home 😉
Onto the mains and the ‘Spitfiyah Jerk Chicken’ was a no-brainer. We also ordered the OG Fried Chicken which to be honest isn’t really my thing but the boys seemed to enjoy it. The Jerk Chicken had a beautiful crispy, flavoured skin and the chicken was actually a proper sized chicken. Is it just me or are Dubai chickens more sparrow like?! I have serious Dubai Chicken issues so to taste chicken like this was awesome. For sides we ordered Plantain Chips and Rice N Peas, because it’s just a must have when you’re dining Jamaican right? They were full of flavour and made for a unique dining experience.
By this point we were wondering how we were going to fit in dessert and so went for the fruitier options of ‘Summer Baked Yogurt’ a low fat (yeah right – it’s a bit late for that!) baked yogurt and red berry compote. It was light and fresh and the ‘Warm Cornmeal Pone’, a tradition dish of roasted pineapple served with sour cream ice cream and toffee sauce was just as tasty and something a bit different.
All in all we had a lovely, chilled out afternoon at Ting Irie with delicious food, a great atmosphere and friendly staff. We were most definitely transported to the Caribbean for a few hours, and left most definitely ‘Irie’.
Sidenote: we didn’t eat another bite for the rest of the day! Go hungry and you will not be disappointed.
Ting Irie’s Family Fun’ch runs from 1:00pm-4:00pm every Friday and Saturday. For more info and for reservations call 04 5575601 and stay updated on Instagram.
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