Last weekend we finally went to visit Dubai’s favourite homegrown Caribbean restaurant, Ting Irie, an eatery I have been longing to try for a while now. The restaurant comes from acclaimed executive chef Craig Wong, who has combined his Jamaican-Chinese heritage with the culinary techniques and discipline he learnt after years of working in Michelin-starred restaurants including Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée and Heston Blumental’s Fat Duck to create a menu that both tastes great and showcases authentic Jamaican cuisine.
With a handful of ‘soul’ getting center stage, Ting Irie is in the heart of Downtown in Souk Al Manzil. Arrival was easy – right on the boulevard, you can either get to restaurant through the souk or directly from the main road – signage is everywhere so believe me, you won’t miss it!
We were welcomed by a combination of classic reggae tracks and covers of retro hits and quickly ushered to our table by the brilliant team of staff who were just as bright and bubbly as the interiors. The interiors are lively with wooden shack-style décor and chilled-out beachside vibes. Accompanied by a coconut, you could literally be anywhere in the Caribbean.
When it comes to food, Ting Irie nails it on the head! Ting Irie isn’t shy with their bold flavors or fun modern ideas. The kitchen has the utmost respect for traditional island ingredients and Jamaican dishes and many Caribbean ingredients and spices are imported straight from Jamaica, such as Scotch Bonnet peppers and Pimento seeds. On this particular visit, we sampled their new tasting menu, a five-course extravaganza full of Jamaican flavours.
We started with a round of plantation chips with Scotch Bonnet Salsa followed by our starters, Jamaican Patties, Oxtail Cocobread Sandwiches and Rasta Greens Salad. This arrived alongside Chips O’Mon Burgers and Flamin’ Appleton Wings. The wings, a signature, were delicious but the main highlights were the Oxtail Cocobread Sandwiches and the Burgers – both outstanding in flavour and texture.
Mains came in the form of Spitfiyah Jerk Chicken, a Jamaican Curry Goat, Ackee & Saltfish and Coleslaw with Rice & Peas. A sucker for rice and peas, I also loaded up with some jerk chicken and slaw before moving onto the rest. I’m not going to lie, the Ackee & Saltfish was not quite my bag, but I did enjoy the Jamaican Curry Goat.
We finished on a sugar high with the Cookie Butter French Toast and the Crunky Monkey brownie – super sickly but utterly delicious none the less. The atmosphere was electric and Ting Irie have definitely succeeded in creating a community – the staff 100% contribute to this and the place which would not be the same without them! Happy munching!
Open seven days a week, from 12pm-2am. For more information, call: 04.557.5601