(image by Kelly's Jamaican Foods)
For the last two months, I kept on hearing about this "amazing Jamaican place" from a lot of people and I finally got around to checking it out for myself. Kelly's Jamaican Food offers the town of Athens a taste of island flavor at prices even the stingiest college student will appreciate. Kelly's has had a few locations throughout Athens but after moving around, it's found itself a nice little location near 5 Points.
The inside is...dare I say, really island like. It has an appropriate shack like feel and a patio which is perfect for cool summer/autumn nights. The menu sounds like it changes everyday and food is made fresh by Kelly himself. The first thing you'll notice when you walk inside is the cafeteria like set-up where your food will be coming from. I don't know why but I...kinda like this place already...!
A bunch of traditional Jamaican cuisine is offered including the ever popular jerk chicken. All of the entrees come with 2 side items, cornbread and sweet tea (or water). I ordered the jerk pork with plantains and greens while Dom got the jerk chicken with the rice and spicy cabbage
(jerk pork, greens, fried plantains)
My jerk pork was okay. You get a pleasant heat from the scotch bonnet but the ever important allspice is somewhat missed. I've had better greens and aren't worth mentioning so you may want to opt out for a different side but the plantains are pretty good. Sweet (thus, most likely the ripened variety) and nicely fried. The jerk chicken that Dom got was good. Juicy and tender but it also shared the slight seasoning flaw that the pork had. Go with the chicken instead of the pork if you're down to those 2 choices.
(jerk chicken, rice, spicy cabbage)
I also got the beef patty with my meal which was pretty good. The filling is generous and properly seasoned. I did find the pastry a little tough and I don't know what was going on with all the flakes on top but it was still crispy. At $2 a patty, it's a good deal. The patty with a small entree comes out to be the same price as the large entree by itself so you may want to choose this pairing instead.
The cornbread is, I'm pretty sure, vanilla cake mix mixed with a cornmeal batter. It has that strong, unmistakably synthetic, vanilla flavor. What results is a softer and sweeter cornbread that helps balance out that spicy heat from whichever jerk protein you choose. Has Sandra Lee discovered this yet? She'd be all over this combination.
Kelly's Jamaican Food is a good place to visit for a quick and satisfying grub at a budget price. At $6 for a small entree, you get a lot of food that's not complete crap. Surprising for a college town isn't it? I'll have to come back and try the curry goat and the oxtail as they sound promising.
- No tax...what it says is what you pay (it's probably included in the price)
- Sweet tea and water is self-serve