Kaya, helmed by Kingston 11 chef Nigel Jones, opened in 2018 and is a partnership with Daniel Patterson, who previously occupied Alta at the same location (RIP smoked bialys). On a weekend at 11am, with no competition from the weekday tech crowd, the “Jamaican Food & Rum Bar” was an easy walk-in. I’m interested to hear other’s thoughts on dinner and drinks.
Jamaican patty, with beef, had a meaty oniony backdrop and a bold set of seasonings, not overly assertive on the spice heat but the flavors had good staying power. The smooth filling was embedded in a flaky, yellow-hued crust, presumably butter-based. I’d like to do a side-by-side with the ones at Peaches Patties Jamaican Kitchen in Bernal, an affiliate of La Cocina (i.e., SFBA’s culinary Marvel Universe), which I recall being equally good, but with an even heavier spicing.
Salt fish fritters were more nuanced than homogenous-centered Spanish/Portuguese versions I’ve had. Kaya’s had identifiable fish and potato chunks, cemented together into a solid mass, and breaded in a way that I experienced waves of crunch. The chimichurri brightened an already vibrantly flavored dish.
Jerk chicken salad had a good mix of flavors and textures-- mango, plantains, and mixed greens. The chicken, fragrant mostly from cloves, had some dry bits that didn’t matter too much embedded in a forkful of other stuff.
Opentable is showing plenty of open spaces for brunch reservations, even for large groups, in upcoming weeks. It’s ridiculous that a place so good, of an underrepresented style of food, and close to BART is empty as people across the city queue up for pancakes and benedicts they could cook themselves if they weren’t hungover. On that note, the Cinnamon French Toast looked pretty good and the Asian Art Museum, Civic Center Playground, Sunday Civic Center farmer’s market, and Bi-Rite Kiosk are nearby.