Alex Harmon sure is doing her level best to lure us to Manly Beach this week...
Sydney’s Jamaican bars can fall into two piles, the token and the genuine.
After all, the bright colours, coconuts and cocktail umbrellas are the makings of a kitsch beachside joint, but somehow Jamtown manages to combine both. While you have your Bob Marley and banana leaf paraphernalia on the tin shed walls and your drinks served in coconuts, you’ll also find authentic Jamaican food cooked by someone who knows their chillies from their scotch bonnets.
The clientele are typical Manly beach goers, but one bite into the Goat Curry ($19) showed me Jamtown means business.
You can go for a Jamaican ginger beer and a cheap snack from the Small Tings menu like Smoked Wings ($12); or...
...you can get serious and order the traditional Jerk Grill ($30) of charcoaled pork and chicken smothered in spicy seasoning served with coleslaw and ‘rice n peas’ (black eyed peas).
On weekends you can settle in for the night with DJs pumping out the reggae tunes.
The Saltfish Fritters ($11) are sadly a little weighed down by dough and not enough fish but Plantain Crisps ($6) are fun, especially when dipped in their accompanying mango and hot pepper salsa.
Drinks are big here, the Watermelon Cooler ($12) a crowd favourite and the aforementioned Banana Colada ($15) that comes in a coconut, set off with sparklers has heads turning.
And it’s not a ‘style and no substance’ kind of drink, it’s actually delicious.
Sure, Jamtown looks like it might be all smoke and rainbow mirrors, but the food here is seriously good.
32 Belgrave Street, Manly
Ph: (02) 9976 5707