8/26/04 REVIEW: Little Ochie, Alligator Pond, Jamaica
sea food, good prices and heard to beat atmosphere
Pond, Manchester, Jamaica, Phone: 965-4450,965-4449,382-3375,
email:email@example.com, website: www.littleochie.com
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.