Through the many large windows in the dining room at The Real Jerk, I see snow swirling. But inside, the soundtrack of my lunch is reggae. Plus, there’s vibrant colour. Mural art on corrugated steel decorates this Caribbean restaurant and bar that’s been a mainstay in Toronto’s East End since 1984.
A plate of curried goat and rice sits before me. This and the oxtail curry are my two favourites entrees, but the menu offers much more for your dining pleasure, like jerk chicken and pork. There are also eight different types of roti, including various meats, shrimp, lentil, chickpea and veggie.
Truth be told, my father was born in Jamaica, so I am partial to The Islands. And, when I walk inside and get greeted with ‘inner luv’ from the warm staff, I can’t help but smile.
The Real Jerk really livens up in the evening when the bar takes centre stage. Of course the emphasis here is on tropical concoctions. Their namesake cocktail is made of various Caribbean rums; guava, pineapple and orange juices; and a splash of passion fruit.
I would love to order one and pretend to curl my toes in soft sand beneath my beach chair, but alas there’s the reality of going back to work this afternoon. So I settle for a Ting, “A drop of Caribbean sunshine,” on this grey winter day.
What’s Spot On:
• Jerk wings with a Carib lager
• Is there now a third location in London, England? Ya mon!