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8/26/04 REVIEW: Little Ochie, Alligator Pond, Jamaica
 Little Ochie scene  Little Ochie
Alligator Pond, Manchester, Jamaica
965-4450,965-4449,382-3375
Fax:876-965-4450
email:[email protected]
website:
www.littleochie.com

 Little Ochie scene

Excellent, fresh sea food, good prices and heard to beat atmosphere

Little Ochie, Alligator Pond, Manchester, Jamaica, Phone: 965-4450,965-4449,382-3375, Fax:876-965-4450
email:[email protected], website:
www.littleochie.com

 Directions:
From Treasure Beach … take a right turn at Pedro Cross and continue pass Southfield to Junction. Take a right at Junction - pass Mayfield School on left and carry on to Bull Savannah. Take a left at Bull Savannah, down the hill and follow the main road to Alligator Pond. Proceed to sea-side taking a left at Little Ochie Sign.

From Mandeville – Come down Spur Tree Hill and take a left at Gutters (across from Texaco Gas Station and sign for Alpart) Follow the Main Road pass Downs and veer right at Rowes Corner (Look Out for the Little Ochie Sign) to Alligator Pond. Proceed to sea-side taking a left at Little Ochie Sign.

From Santa Cruz – Turn right at Gutters (across from Texaco Gas Station and sign for Alpart) Follow the Main pass Downs and vere right at Rowes Corner (Look Out for the Little Ochie Sign) to Alligator Pond. Proceed to sea-side taking a left at Little Ochie Sign.

Little Ochie is a little off the beaten path, being on the South coast of Jamaica, which is less frequented by overseas visitors, and therein lies some of its charm. For those who want authentic Jamaican food in an authentic setting, Little Ochie is the place. It is regarded as one of the best restaurants on the South Coast, where the people from the Parishes of Manchester and St. Elizabeth go to eat seafood.

For the last few years I have been hearing about how good the food at little Ochie is, so recently I decided I had to try the food myself. From the main South Coast road, we took the turn at Gutters and headed South to Little Ochie in Alligator Pond. The trip from Gutters to Little Ochie is roughly 10 miles on fairly good roads. You will know you are near Little Ochie when you see the Wigton Wind Farm on a mountain to the left. It is a stunning view. The Wigton Wind Farm is the first commercially operated wind farm in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Its light colored turbines cut a pretty impressive picture against the greenery on the mountain side.

Our party of eleven arrived at Little Ochie minutes later. Upon entering Little Ochie we were greeted by the bass and treble sounds of Dancehall music by a DJ who also sells CDs just inside the entrance. Further on we were enveloped by soul music.

Little Ochie consists of a main building where the food is prepared and a series of thatched structures, some of which are built on boats, all on the black sand beach at the fishing village Alligator Pond. Immediately beyond Little Ochie is the sea. The setting is authentic and rustic. The beach is dotted with small colorful fishing boats, with fishermen unloading and selling the day's catch. And, in the background, the sounds of the sea crashing against the shore. To the right in the distance you can discern ships going to and from the Port Kiser terminal.

 

It is hard to call Little Ochie a restaurant in the traditional sense. Perhaps, because it is situated on the beach in one main building and several satellite thatched structures, some of them boats, and because the atmosphere is very casual, it is more of a happening. Don't get me wrong. Underneath the relaxed atmosphere and the casual and relaxed manner of the staff is a very professional and well oiled operation. I got a glimpse of this when I was taken inside to see the Kitchen and the storage area and the preparation of the food. Very well organized and very professional.

You enter Little Ochie and take up residence under a vacant thatched structure or you get the attention of one of the servers who will seat you. Or, if the place is full you can mill around or take a stroll on the beach until there is a vacancy.

One of the fascinating things about Little Ochie is that you get to see and choose your food before it is cooked. You can go with the server to select fresh seafood directly from the the ice chest and have it cooked to order. The seafood (there is lots of it) is weighed prior to being cooked and you are charged for the weight. You determine how you want your seafood prepared, and you relax until it is served. The fish can be roasted over an open flame, steamed, or escoveitched, baked in foil, and lobster and shrimp can be curried, boiled, roasted, or prepared in garlic sauce. If choosing your fish or lobster is not that important to you you can call ahead to cut your waiting time. However, the atmosphere is so pleasant you won't mind waiting.

The food is served with bammy and festivals and there are a wide variety of bottled drinks and beer available. Speaking about efficiency, I was impressed by my server Cuggo's memory. He took orders for eleven people without writing anything down and without making a mistake. Louie "the floor manager" was equally impressive in his ability to price the weighed fish the customers selected and manage what appears to be a rather complex process of supervising the preparation and distribution while ensuring you get exactly the fish you ordered.

Our food was excellent. A few of the dishes were especially good. The jerk fish was down right phenomenal and the foil roated fish was also a winner. This was a great experience, one I would like to repeat soon.

Little Ochie is a charming place that serves up excellent seafood in a relaxed and charming atmosphere. It no doubt reflects the easy going, calm, but businesslike nature of the owner Everald "Blackie" Christian who started Little Ochie as a one man operation back in 1989 and has nurtured and grown it into a well run operation with a staff of 30 that still manages to deliver the kind of tasty cooking found in very small establishments.


Enjoy!

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