Over the summer, thirty-six Bahama Breeze locations across the country were taking part in ReggaeFest: Jamaican Jerk Saturdays — their homage to Jamaican cuisine and culture. We were invited to experience it and dropped by the Cherry Hill Mall location last week. Already big fans of Bahama Breeze, we were excited to take in the inaugural celebration featuring the sounds and flavors of the island.
So glad we did! We L❤VED the Jamaican-inspired food, drinks, and live entertainment. Sadly, the promotion ended yesterday. But we took some great pictures and totally think that Bahama Breeze is worth a visit in your near future if you haven’t been in a while.
We were seated outside on the patio. Local Reggae band Cheezy and the Crackers were already playing and providing the soundtrack to our Jamaican flavored afternoon.
Our server, Cashmere, was very nice. She knows the menu inside and out; and provided great service with a smile.
It wouldn’t be a Philly Grub review without cocktails. “Legendary Island Cocktails” here no less. 🍹
Yaka Hula Hickey Dula is a Hawaiian inspired cocktail containing Bacardi Black Rum, Riesling and pineapple juice. Not quite a tiki drink, but it sure was a refreshing start!
For ReggaeFest, they developed a featured cocktail called “One Love” which comprised of Malibu Banana Rum, Pineapple juice, Orange juice, and Guava juice shaken and topped with an Appelton rum floater. Island life in a glass!
With so many delicious appetizers to choose from, it was hard to select just one or two; by ordering the Island Hopper Combo we got a little taste of everything — Jamaican chicken wings, crispy coconut shrimp, onion rings and conch fritters. Served with citrus-mustard, jerk BBQ sauce and roasted pineapple chutney.
We were totally feeling the Jamaican Jerk Wings, Coconut Shrimp, & Conch Fritters. Believe it or not, I don’t even like shrimp, but I ate these coconut-panko breaded shrimp and actually enjoyed them. Especially lovely when dipped in the citrus-mustard or pineapple chutney.
After those yummy appetizers, it was time for another round of cocktails of course. The Ultimate Margarita features fresh lime, lemon and pressed sugarcane juice hand shaken with Herradura Silver Tequila, Cointreau and an ice shot filled with Grand Marnier. Ultimately satisfying!
The Hibiscus Margarita is one of the prettiest cocktails I’ve ever seen. Simple ingredients (Sauza Silver, hibiscus and pressed sugarcane juice, fancy sugar rim) and simply lovely to drink!
This drink is so beautiful it deserves another, closer look. Doesn’t that just look like paradise in a glass?
With our thirst adequately quenched compliments of the bar, we were ready to dive into the featured Jamaican entrees. We got the special Taste of Jamaica Platter: pulled pork, jerk chicken, beef empanada, callaloo (green leafy dish), sweet plantains, yellow rice and black beans. The chicken and pork were both very tender and flavorful. As plantains go, they were perfectly sweet and starchy. No taste of the islands would be complete without plantains!
A staple of Jamaican cuisine is Curry Goat so I was really happy to see it on the menu paired with Naan Bread. It a dish I have enjoyed immensely in the past, therefore it was the obligatory choice for me. They did a good job cooking the goat; it can get tough and chewy if not prepared correctly, but this goat was tender.
The curry flavor was very subdued, however. As a “chain” restaurant, perhaps it was their intention to make a very mild curry. Jamaican curries I have tried previously at Jamaican restaurants were almost always on the spicy-hot side.
This is not a complaint about the flavor, just an observation. In fact, I think it is a good entry-level curry dish for those who try curry for the first time with good flavor and without the intense heat.
I liked that the portion was very big because it provided enough leftovers for a yummy lunch during the week. 😋
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed the ReggaeFest experience at Bahama Breeze. The food hit the spot, the cocktails were fruity and easy-to-drink, the entertainment was fun, and the service was delightful. Our only regret? Not enjoying a bucket of Red Stripe beer! We didn’t have enough room.
Visit Bahama Breeze at one of their Philly area locations (Cherry Hill or King of Prussia) really soon!
All images © 2016 by David Johnson for Philly Grub. All rights reserved. Do not re-use without proper attribution or permission. If you’re interested in hi-res versions, please contact us.