In my review of 2017 I bemoaned the lack of Jewish, Eastern European and Caribbean restaurants in the City Centre and, of course, the minute we had published the review, I recalled having seen Jenny’s Jerk Chicken in the food hall at the bottom end of Kirkgate Market. I had been meaning to go for some time ago but kept events overtook my good intentions, so I thought that I would pay a visit today. It was appropriate because one of my New Year Resolutions was to stop procrastinating, well it was going to be but on second thoughts, I decided to put it off until next year.
The food hall has started to fill up nicely, with various street food stalls from different parts of the world, and I could easily do a couple of months’ worth of reviews without leaving the place. The good thing is that they are permanent fixtures and not there for a limited time, which meant that Jenny’s is still in residence.
The menu is quite varied but, as I hadn’t had my favourite Caribbean dish for some time, I opted for the Curried Goat with Rice and Peas for £6 and a can of Guava soda for £1. I don’t know why goat seems to be served solely by Windies restaurants. I have never seen it on a French menu, although they keep goats for chèvre (goat’s cheese) as do the Italians and we Brits. It is a wonderfully tasty meat, especially when it is cooked as it is here, on the bone. It has the rich flavour which can hold its own with a curry sauce although this one was not particularly strong, having just enough kick to add an extra dimension to the meat. Do beware of the bones though as dental treatment can make the otherwise bargain price very expensive. The rice was also flavourful as the peas are of the black variety, a bit like kidney beans but again they added to the flavour perfectly. An alternative for the same price was Mutton Curry, Coconut Rice being a further accompaniment option. Along with the curry and rice came a salad with or without mayo.
If the food was great, the service was better. As with other food halls you get your meal and retire to a table which enables people dining together to choose food from different outlets and still sit together. This is taken a stage further here as the tables are long ones with a bench on either side, so there is every opportunity to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I digress. When I ordered my lunch the chap who served me noticed that I had two carrier bags, having just done my weekend shopping, and he told me to find a seat and he would deliver the goodies to me, a gesture above and beyond the call of duty.
I am happy to recommend Jenny’s Jerk Chicken as it was one of the best experiences I have had in a while. It has just struck me why goat meat is not on menus very often. I seem to recall that the young males of the species, especially in the west of the United States, have been known to inflict fatal attacks on people. The one I read about was called Billy The Kid. Luckily it couldn’t happen here as we live in a Nanny State.
Photography by Stan Graham