Samedi 27 Août 2011  
Projet Montréal lance une pétition pour amasser des signatures afin d’entamer une réflexion vers l’adoption d’une stratégie pour mieux encadrer la pratique de l’agriculture urbaine afin qu’elle soit exploitée à son plein potentiel à Montréal.

Anancy Restaurant
Authentic Jamaican Cuisine
Article mis en ligne le mercredi 6 avril 2011

“Ackee rice, salt fish are nice…”. Those words from the poignant West Indian love song, Jamaica Farewell, were made famous by the legendary Harry Belafonte on his ‘Belafonte at Carnegie Hall’ album recorded live, and which I first heard – in April 1959. Not knowing what ackee and salt fish were, I needed to find out. Years later, while reading Ian Fleming’s Dr. No, there they were again! The character, Quarrel, advises James Bond that he’s already had breakfast: ‘Salt fish ‘an ackee.’

I finally made it to Jamaica in 1982 where I had one of the three greatest meals I’ve ever had in my life – ackee, salt fish, rice and peas and a couple of ice-cold Red Stripe beers. It was served hot from a stove five feet away from our table in a tiny ‘rustic’ restaurant at the back of a long, dark bar on the main street in Ocho Rios. Too bad it’s not there anymore.

Fast forward to Montreal and Anancy Restaurant in NDG where I’ve been working on capturing that 29-years-ago moment. And Anancy comes darn close. True, the ackee comes in a can (unlike in the Islands where it’s always fresh but you won’t find fresh ackee in the city anyway) but it still has that well-remembered velvety taste. Anancy creates a perfect flavour balance between the mild scrambled-egg-like texture of the ackee and the sharp edginess of the salt fish. They work as a team and each complements the other. By the way, don’t wonder where the peas are in the rice and peas. You’ll find rice and small red beans. Just so you know: Beans in Jamaica are referred to as peas. And the best way to enjoy Anancy’s rice and peas is to mix in some of their homemade hot sauce. I should have written it as HOT SAUCE!!!!! It’s outstanding but go easy. The A and S-F came with some nicely fried plantains and ho hum cooked vegetables. Forget the vegetables. Don’t need them.

Our accompanying drinks were homemade ginger beer and a drink made from the sorrel plant. The ginger beer is a powerful creation that puts a serious buzz in your mouth but it’s my favourite non-alcoholic drink so, if you’re discovering it for the first time, sip it gently. For the weaker at heart stick to the sorrel drink.

Our other main course was a goat roti. The best way to describe it is “full-bodied”. The meat, potatoes, chick peas, spices and gravy are wrapped in a very thin dough called roti skin. This is a rich and delicious dish… and bring a hearty appetite.

We started with two appetizers. Something called ‘little ochie coconut fried shrimp’ and fried okra. The shrimp had a pleasing, light coconut flavour (thank goodness) as too many recipes kill you with coconut. The okra was prepared like a very light, flaky tempura. Really nicely done.

The best way to deal with Anancy is to go in a group of four or six, take a big booth, order a bunch of dishes and try everything.

The refrain of Jamaica Farewell says, ‘… sad to say I’m on my way, won’t be back for many a day…’. When you leave Anancy you’ll be singing, ‘… sad to say I’m on my way, will be back.’

Anancy Restaurant
Authentic Jamaican Cuisine

Adress: 6587 Somerled a couple of blocks west of Cavendish
Access: Street level
Parking: On the streets
Credit Cards: Yes
Interac: Yes
Alcohol: Bring your own wine and beer
Prices: Very reasonable
Portions: Generous
Clientele: All ages, including families

[ Paul Shubin ]

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