Adrian Smart, Owner and Head Chef, The Thatch Café & Restaurant, located in Knockalva, Hannover. (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Traveling through the verdant mountainous regions of Mount Peto, Knockalva in Hannover, expected food offerings would include jerk chicken, roasted yams or boiled corn, but seeing a sign advertising seafood is eye-catching. That’s exactly what stung Thursday foodthe interest of The Thatch Café & Restaurant.
Adrian Smart, owner and head chef, explained that he wanted the restaurant to be an expression of his love for food and a platform for experimenting with the flavors and influences of different cuisines.
“Our mantra is ‘Guaranteed Satisfaction with a Difference.’ the difference stated in the mantra, so it comes through in everything we do. Having a seafood-focused location in the mountains has more to do with the influences that inspire me and less with the location. Our pop bunny -corn, seafood boil, cashew pork, alfredo mash, plantain mash and jerk chicken pasta are examples of what we want customers to enjoy,” Smart explained.
“The restaurant is a melting pot of characteristic taste profiles of the ethnic groups of the Jamaican population. We are still fine-tuning and customer feedback will play an important role, but we hope they get what we are looking for. Chinese ingredients, Indian food spices, texture, and of course our succulent Jamaican flavors, all creations are made to satisfy the palate. Pay attention to the natural ambience, tranquil mountains, slower pace of the region, all of which provide inspiration for the ‘Thatch’ name,” Smart added.
Smart, a teacher by profession, is originally from Mandeville but migrated to Westmoreland via the classroom. He became involved in entertainment through food festivals which would eventually influence his move into the restaurant business.
“My earliest memory of cooking was playing house at age seven with my siblings and cooking in a can of milk, little butter dumplings. I grew up in the kitchen scrubbing the cake mix for my mother and I developed a passion from there Cooking and experimenting in the kitchen which I have maintained throughout my life My cooking style is a modern and scientific approach to food with an irie type vibe. It must be the teaching side that influences this. Areas like plating are important to me because you eat with your eyes first, then smell, followed by taste. I’m from Mandeville but my meals are influenced by great chefs from around the world and think outside the box; that way my customers get a feel for something different for their appetite,” Clever expressed.
“Experimentation is the key. It’s the flair that people will enjoy. Extensive research into spices, following world-renowned chefs, who are creative and share the same vision for dishes. I think these are key factors that keep me on track. My coco-popcorn bunny in a spicy blue cheese sauce and my pork with cashews were influenced by an Italian chef from a popular culinary TV series. I love the fusion of authentic Jamaican spices and Italian cuisine for my pasta dishes, but for seafood, it’s the American and Chinese techniques for me,” Smart explained.
The Thatch Café & Restaurant opened its doors on August 6, 2022.
— Text and photos by Aceion Cunningham
Admission to Thatch Café & Restaurant (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
BBQ Jerk Chicken Skewers with Alfredo Pasta. (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Butter and garlic lobster with sweet corn noodles (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Chicken Alfredo loaded fries (Picture: Aceion Cunningham)
Glenroy Wright, assistant chef, specializing in local dishes. (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Chicken Alfredo pasta (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Seafood boil with lobster, eggs, potatoes and corn (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Thai chicken with parsley rice and jerk corn (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Vegan Spicy Tofu Pasta (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Cashew pork with sweet corn, fried rice and pressed plantain (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Ital Rasta steamed fish (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)