Dining at The Terrace
As Jamaicans, good food is ingrained in us and when we go out we expect good food. When Norma's on the Terrace closed down, many were disgruntled and sceptical of the new owners. After all, Norma's had been a historic part of Devon House courtyard where many Kingstonians flocked daily.
I had the pleasure of dining at the restaurant under new management, simply renamed 'The Terrace'. There is a sense of tribute and ode to the old Norma's that is immediately tasteful and appropriate, but the Terrace has a flavour and atmosphere all of its own- old style Jamaican hospitality.
As soon as you step onto the patio that serves as the dining area you are greeted with genuine sincere warmth and are ushered to your seat with what must be described as a loveable fanciful flare. The managers are on the floor to greet you with beaming smiles and tell you about the stories behind their selection of culinary offerings and a waiter will whisk by to lay your napkin on your lap and fill your glass with whatever you wish.
The ambience is intimate even though you are in the shared courtyard and your food is delivered fast and hot in manageable portions. The staff are very patient and will answer any question you have about anything on the menu. And the food!
The Terrace has a standard to maintain and one that they keep and surpass. The dishes were delicate yet richly flavoured; the appetizer, a warm rich cream of pumpkin soup balanced the flavours so that the cream didn't overpower the pumpkin and the jasmine remained where it should be- as an accent; the entree, 'shrimp stuffed shrimp' was a curious combination of the shellfish that when combined the glaze and the groundsy taste of the caribbean salsa rice and steamed vegetables resulted in a flavourful melèe of richness, herbs and tanginess that gave the palate an orgasmic delight; dessert - a simple clean, thrillingly delicious home-style lemon meringue pie! I have been searching restaurants left right and centre that could create a lemon meringue pie that maintained its famous texture, was light and airy enough not to be cloiding, sweet yet tangy, with a gorgeous crust that would crumble like a cookie when eaten- the Terrace was the answer all along.
The service, or hospitality as I should really call it, reminded me of our long-gone Air Jamaica and how we used to boast of our trademark Jamaican hospitality. As I sat there and chatted with my husband, we easily imagined the managers as owners of a hotel welcoming guests warmly. We really felt as though we were invited guests coming to dine on an outdoor porch of a great house.
The Terrace's hospitality will be very difficult to surpass; their flavouring and unique pairings that tickle the palate hard to duplicate; and their intimacy unique.
The Terrace has gained my heart and my tummy and I look forward to returning to dine very very. Soon.