This March, after the hustle and bustle of Carnival had started to die down, I was delighted to be invited to Jaffa At The Oval by an old friend. I have had the opportunity to eat there before but something always came up to change my plans. This time however it was smooth sailing and I am delighted to say that I not only had a wonderful culinary experience taste-wise but in terms of ambience and service they were definitely tops!
Located on the second level of the newly renovated Queen’s Park Oval, Jaffa’s décor reminds of the old gentlemen’s club of yore with its rich dark walls, hidden ceilings, and ceiling fans. Strategic use of glass, plentiful windows and bright local artwork prevent the overall effect from being oppressive and the layout allows for considerable intimacy as the conversations of nearby patrons are suitably muffled by the acoustics to a pleasurable distant murmur. One truly gets a feeling of sanctuary, amidst the hustle and bustle of Port of Spain.
From Jaffa’s rather dormant Facebook Group :
In cricketing parlance, the term “Jaffa” means “a perfect delivery”. In the context of Jaffa, our new fine dining restaurant at the Oval, the name represents our commitment to provide dining experiences that are perfectly delivered every time. Jaffa offers a sophisticated ambiance and cuisine that pleases the eye almost as much as it excites the palate. Combined with a world class selection of wines, exotic cocktails, and irresistible desserts in a smoke free environment, Jaffa will redefine fine dining in Trinidad and Tobago.
The lunchtime buffet, which we attended, was rich in options, and one never felt rushed or hassled. Indeed we ended up staying for a little over 3 hours, interspersing our conversations with repeated visits to the offerings. Held from Monday to Friday, Jaffa’s lunchtime buffet is an extremely affordable $165 TT per person and includes a complimentary glass of wine and coffee.
Sipping on my glass of white wine here’s what I sampled during the appetizer and entrée part of the meal.
Clockwise from top:
Appetizer plate: garlic crostinis, beets, olives, chickpea salad, singapore noodles, assorted cheeses.
Main course plate: fish cake, grilled swordfish kebabs, grilled eggplant, chadon beni sauce, cream of tartar sauce
Side dishes plate: white beans, chinese noodles, potato croquette, grilled plaintains in rum sauce
I thoroughly enjoyed everything but there were some standouts which included the cheese pate, the swordfish kebabs (prepared freshly in front my eyes and not dry at all), the incredibly light and slightly sweet potato croquette and the luxuriously rich grilled plantains.
Throughout the various courses the wait staff were attentive to our wishes and needs, pre-emptively refilling our water glasses as needed.
When it was time for dessert, an equally sumptuous display was present, my eyes took in a lot more than my now full stomach could entertain. Still, I gallantly selected a few items. Oh the things I do in the name of food! 😉
From left to right: Lemongrass infused coconut creme brulée, strawberry parfait, hazelnut torte, apple strudel (made with phyllo dough)
My favorite out of all the desserts was the creme brulée, so many places offer what they call creme brulée that is really just custard. This one had a beautiful caramelized crust and the flavour was also wonderful – although the lemongrass was a little more subtle than I had expected. The strawberry parfait was light as was the hazelnut torte (a weakness of mine). The use of phyllo dough in the apple strudel was interesting and made me think of it as an apple ‘baklava’. Quite delicious though, still the creme brulée is what I will definitely hope is on the menu the next time I’m there. And there will be a next time! Now if only they had free Wifi…
Jaffa At The Oval
94 Tragarete Road
Mon – Fri : 11:45am – 10:30pm
Sat: 10:00am – 4:00pm
TG Rates This Experience:
Taste – 5/5
Ambience – 5/5
Price – 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5