Cold Johnny Cake
Seemed like a fair statement at the time but looking back it is a bit of a cop out. A restaurant of any decent rating should be able to hold its own on any night and the busy weekend nights more than others! I had been looking forward to the Reef for a couple of days. D had been out of town for work and when he called ahead to see what I wanted to do for dinner, he already knew the answer. There were two things on my mind for dinner, a nice helping of Ackee and fried Plantain. On the drive up Main Street, we past the Ukranian Orthodox Church on 11th. It dawned on us both simultaneously that it was the first Friday of the month and that mean Peroghy night! We were a hair away from deciding to turn around for homemade Peroghy served in a Church Hall. I wish we had.
When we sat down, I noticed a sign over the till saying '3 Plantains left'. I quickly waved to our waitress and tried to order Plantains (recall, it was one of the reasons for my wanting to go). She said that note when up ages ago and they were already out. She walked over to the mini-whiteboard and sadly, wiped of the note and replaced it with '86 the Plantains'. EXCUSE ME? Is this not a Jamaican restaurant? It was Friday evening, still quite early and the sun was still out and they were out of Plantains! WTF? I was on the edge of my seat. D, bless him, would have supported my wanted to change venues but I knew he was tired and hungry.
We ordered Yardie Yam fries to start but really the mains are large enough to forego a starter and as there were no Plantains, I could have skipped it. I wish we had. I think there must be a new chef or something because there were a number of these disappointing changes. The Yam Fries used to be lightly crispy and piping hot. These were skin-on, which on its own is not a bad thing, oily, too salty and SOGGY. They were over cooked and so it was basically chewy Yamskins. Terrible.
I ordered the Ackee of course. The slaw was different too and gross. It was either the bottom of the batch or unable to decide if it wanted to be sauerkraut. I left it. The Ackee was lean and had been over worked. The flesh of the Ackee is very delicate. When you get it out of the tin or after steam fresh Ackee, it has the appearance of say, curled thumbs and the texture is like Fois Gras. If you move or stir it too much it breaks down like when you use Egg Beaters and they start off looking like real scrambled eggs and end up looking like yellow baby food after it's been spit up. There was a decent amount of Saltfish at least!
D ordered the Lime Coconut Chicken. It was too sweet and D did not touch the stodgy mash.
All in all, a very very regrettable night at the Reef. If this had been my first night there, I would never go back. It's a shame. It has been a while since I have been there for Brunch and they have a great Jamaican inspired Brunch menu and I was tempted to suggest going the next day but after that showing, I do not know when I'll go back. If I do, I'll go on a Wednesday where the food might be better.
Soggy Oily Yardie Yam Fries
Mushy Ackee and Saltfish
(Photos were taken by iPhone. I was so hungry I forgot my Camera!)The Reef
4172 Main St
Vancouver, BC V5V
(For the Mushy Ackee, Soggy Yam Fries and Plantain absentia :^( )