Four: Eight Rivers Restaurant, Ocho Rios


The Venue: Eight Rivers Restaurant, Couples Tower Isle, Ocho Rios.

The Sunday Dinner: Beef.

The price: Free. Sort of…

There’s nothing quite like a stabbing and fatal shooting at your Jamaican holiday resort to put you off your meal. But that’s another story. We’re here to review Sunday dinners. I’m not a crime correspondent, ffs. But I am in Jamaica. There was a clue in my first sentence. Well done if you spotted it.

We ventured to one of the hotel restaurants for our Christmas Day meal. Of course, I’d have loved a traditional turkey meal, with all the trimmings, but I’m away from my homeland, trapped on a Caribbean island with Mr Jus. And that island is Jamaica. Which I’ve already just covered.

A stroke of bad luck

The evening didn’t start well. When Mr Jus left to powder his nose (a polite way to say he popped off to enjoy an early evening shit), I almost choked on mojito mint following some vigorous straw action.

It went in the wrong hole, you see – an excuse Mr Jus has made on numerous occasions and I’ve always just accepted.

I couldn’t breathe, and started to panic, before developing shooting pains in my neck and head, which clearly meant I’d had a massive stroke at the table.

Mr Jus returned and started chatting away, but I felt completely disorientated and weird. His voice had gone all muffled (a polite way of saying he was being boring) and I actually wondered, for a good few minutes, whether I’d actually died and was lying on the floor, while attempts at resuscitation ensued.

I contemplated whether the talking/being alive bit was just sort of like Sliding Doors, but in reality, I had passed away. I suppose it was just my penchant for irrational thought, coupled with the weed here. Still, it passed the time before our starters arrived. However, it would be remiss of me not to remove ten points due to me nearly fucking choking to death.

We both chose the lobster and salmon thing to kick off our Christmas Day feast. It had a grander name than that, but I forget what it was. Pleasant enough, though. For the first time during the holiday, Mr Jus didn’t complain. He thinks he’s above these sort of resorts, you see, and always sports one, if not all, of his standard three facial expressions; incredulity, turmoil, disdain.

In short, he’s difficult to please (a polite way of saying he’s a fucking nightmare) so it was a relief that he seemed reasonably happy.
I know there were carrots

The service was impeccable, which I have based solely on the speed with which my wine glass was topped up. Mr Jus felt our waiter’s overuse of the word ‘Respect’, made him feel like we were being waited on by a grime DJ. I obviously leapt on the opportunity to call him a racist, like I do if he ever asks for a white coffee. And when he leaves for his bi-weekly KKK meeting.
The main was tenderloin of beef, mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. Great to see a bit of mash. Your usual English Sunday dinner in a pub tends to throw in a couple of roast potatoes and be done with it. Ideally, I’d want roast potatoes and mash. I wouldn’t even mind if they hid a few chips under the mash too. Spuds three-ways. I’d take it.

I’ve written vegetable ‘medley’ because I know there were carrots, but I can’t really remember what else. Oh well. I enjoyed them, although they were more of a garnish than a portion.

The gravy was actually decent. Thick and rich. They left my mash dry though, which was a little disappointing, and I didn’t ask for more. Maybe because I’m abroad. I wish I had done, on reflection. However, as we’re embroiled in an all inclusive Groundhog Day situation, I can obviously modify my behaviour on our remaining nights.

We ended the meal with creme brûlées from the sweet trolley. Mr Jus found his ‘somewhat gritty’ and ‘verging on scrambled eggs’. I offered him a try of mine, which I felt was a fine specimen of the pudding. He agreed it was indeed better, and proceeded to eat the fucking lot. Seriously, I am sick of this shit.

“Respect,” the waiter (obviously) added as we left the restaurant and headed back to our room.

Mango juice

Palm trees swathed in fairy lights guided our route back along the beach, and a light breeze punctuated the balmy air. The sea lapped gently against the shoreline and I could hear the faint sound of a steel band playing ‘I just called to say I love you’ across the bay.

There have been worse Christmas Days, I thought to myself. Like the one when my nanna died, or the one when my mum was really ill, or the one when she wasn’t ill, but made us all a really shit dinner, or the one I spent alone and cry-wanked to Finding Nemo, which not many of you know about.

We’d almost reached the stairs back up to the hotel when Mr Jus turned to me and, right out of the blue, announced:

“I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas Day, Faye. You make me laugh and I feel very happy with you. I really want to marry you.”

For once in my 41 years, discounting the period I was unable to talk because I was a baby, I became lost for words. I looked down at him (he’s tiny) and smiled.

“It’s just that I’m struggling with the papaya,” he added. “It tastes too manufactured, like it’s been mixed with saccharine. One would expect a better standard of exotic fruit drink when you’re actually in the Caribbean.”

“Oh. You want a mango juice. I think I might be a bit stoned, you know,” I told him, removing the inane grin from my face. “I’ll probably just have a gin and tonic and then a couple of Baileys.”

Final score: 17/33


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