We hadn’t really thought about it until the opening of Ting Irie was announced, but until that point, there had been nowhere to get Jamaican food in Dubai.
Colourful wooden hoarding was wrapped around the outside of Souk Al Manzil for months, whipping up excitement for the restaurant, which finally opened its doors in May.
We visit on a lunchtime in its first few weeks of operation and find it empty apart from us, but having been back a month later, its clear the word is on the street.
The décor is bright and fun and the walls have a wooden shack feel about them.
The lunch menu is much the same as the evening one, but a little shorter. Still, jerk chicken is present, as are beef patties, rice and peas and plantain chips, but sadly, Jamaica’s national dish, ackee and salt fish, isn’t. Yet.
At first, the prices seem reasonable (most things are about Dhs55-65, with chicken starting from Dhs70 for a quarter portion). However, the dishes are all tiny and we’re advised to order more, plus sides to go with them.
So the Chips Oman burger, tasty as it is, feels expensive when it’s the size of a slider and doesn’t come with chips. The chips we order are superb, though (crispy on the outside, nice and fluffy in the middle), but the coleslaw doesn’t have the sweetness and zing that aficionados will expect.
We love the beef patties, but again at Dhs65 for three small pieces they feel overpriced. The jerk chicken in the salad is excellent and makes us wish we’d gone for a full bird between us instead of the small plates.
We’re pleased Jamaican cuisine has a home in the city and the food is mostly great, but Dhs300 for a small lunch for two seems steep.
The bill (for two) 1x Chips Oman burger Dhs55 1x jerk chicken salad Dhs69 1x beef patties Dhs65 1x Jamaican coleslaw Dhs25 1x one,two,three chips Dhs40 2x soft drinks Dhs36 Total (excluding service) Dhs290
The bottom line Fun food, but you might wince at the bill.