When I was still in the infant stages of planning our Phoenix road trip, I was surprised to find a few recommendations of a Jamaican restaurant on a well-known food board I frequent. It also has vegan friendly dishes on the menu. And it has a connecting rum bar that boasts of having the largest selection of rum in the west? With all that going for it, I couldn’t think of a reason not to dine there.
The entrance to the restaurant is through the bar. Upon entering the bar, you see two bartenders in that ubiquitous Cocktailian costume, and an impressive number of shelves displaying dimly lit bottles of exotic rum. The bartender, who also functioned as the hostess asked if we had reservations. No, we did not. After a few minutes of waiting while she fiddled with the computer, she led us through the small bar into the restaurant area. It was small, and it had plenty of tables free. It always amuses me when restaurants ask for a reservation and make it seem like they’re fully booked, when in fact, they are not.
After we were seated, the waitress presented us the food and cocktail menus, stooped into a squat and began a long tale about the cocktail program, the food, and the lore of The Breadfruit. I kid you not. I thought we were in an episode of Portlandia. When we finally got to the ordering part, we had already decided on drinks, appetizers, and mains.
I easily convinced Will to get a Hemingway daiquiri (not shown) while I got an interesting sounding beet cocktail. It had beet juice, nutmeg, pimento, basil and was garnished with sorrel. It was an unconventional combination, but it tasted wonderful and strange at the same time. It was a thoughtful drink that made me look forward to the rest of my meal.
We shared a dish of fried plantain eggrolls, which was a little on the sweet side. The fried plantains were great, but the sweetness of the mango chutney was too much on top of it. I would have preferred something more sour to cut down on the cloying, rich sweetness of the eggrolls.
Will got some sort of vegetarian chicken curry which smelled and tasted great. It had a decent amount of spice without being spicy. The rice and beans he ordered as a side were flavorful and savory with a hint of thyme.
My mussels in a red curry sauce was similarly tasty. The broth was acidic and spicy in all the right places. I spooned some of this delicious broth onto my rice and beans at the end and declared it a success.
As a second drink, Will ordered a Gin Rummy which was Appleton White, juniper berries, ginger root, cucumber, and ting. That was a manly man’s drink to be had while lounging around at the beach. The juniper berries gave it quite a punch. It tasted a little too much like aftershave for me to drink with dinner, but I can see myself sipping on the cool beverage when it’s 98F out — which it was in Phoenix.
For dessert, Will got the sweet potato pudding, which was more like a sweet potato pie topped with shredded coconut. Without the whipped cream, it was vegan. Very cinnamon-y and comforting, if you like the taste of cinnamon.
Despite being pretty full, I couldn’t turn down the creme brûlée. It was creamy, sweet, topped with rum-infused cherries, and had a surprise at the bottom: a syrupy, sweet slice of pineapple. I liked each creamy spoonful with the ginger crumble on the side.
When we were thinking of Phoenix, we did not imagine we’d find such a delightful Jamaican restaurant. I could see this type of place thriving in LA, but it was a nice surprise to see it in a city like Phoenix. It will definitely be on my list of places to recommend when someone asks, “Where should I go to eat in Phoenix?”
Interestingly enough, there was no breadfruit on the menu. Maybe it was the wrong season for breadfruit in Phoenix.
108 East Pierce Street Phoenix, AZ 85004