ate at Bonne Bouffe (5176 Sherbrooke O, and no, i don’t spend all my time in NDG) today, after walking by it a zillion times, and was pleasantly rewarded for my decision to choose it in lieu of Jean’s (Trinidadian roti) or Ma’s Place (across the street, also Jamaican). I was a little wary at first, because of late i’ve had less than inspiring experiences with the vegetarian options at Jamaican Roti joints (potatoes w/ frozen mixed veg can fuck off), but my confidence has been renewed.
service was, uhh…mostly disinterested, maybe a little surly even, but whatever. good menu of random Jamaican side dishes- bammy, flitters (which i believe are the same thing as johnnycakes), sweetbread, dumplings, plates of greens available, homemade or bottled (Grace) ginger beer, picnic tables out front…
the roti was potato and a good hefty stuffing of of stewed veg- mostly callaloo, i’m wagering, but it could have been something like collards, with garlic and red peppers and the like. the dumplings were exactly as i expected: deep fried balls of dry, cakey, subtly sweet & spicy but mostly savoury dough, which i love and insist on getting when they’re available, even though they are better suited to juicier meat stews or curries (great for sopping and soaking) than veg options. the hot sauce was legitimately spicy, and red, seemingly homemade, and kept in a honey jar. unlike most Caribbean hot sauces i’ve run into, may not have been scotch-bonnet based, and wasn’t so sweet/tart and fruity. a nice variation from what i expect/stock my fridge with, and i’ll probably ask about it next time i’m there.
the real standout though was the homemade ginger beer, which, although pricey ($5.00 a glass!) is -absolutely- worth trying if you’re a fan of ginger beer, and like me, perpetually on the prowl for one that is not too too soda pop sweet but crucially spicy and biting. maybe not the spiciest i’ve had, but definitely the gingerererist- it was honestly astounding in that respect.
conventionally priced- my roti, dumplings, and bottled ginger beer (i tried my co-diner’s homemade stuff, wary of the high price) came to 9 bucks flat. i’d say that it’s head and handspans above Ma’s Place, but since i only went there once, about 2 years ago, i’ve decided i’m going to try it again before i officially skewer it in the damning ether of the net.
so yeah, coming soon: more ginger beer, Jean’s, Ma’s Place, Jolee, that other Jamaican place that supposedly exists on upper Lachine, Restaurant Bonheur, probably something Filipino?