Pulling into The Forresters on Friday night, the place was rammed. Luckily my intention was traipsing up the stairs to Queenie’s, their Jamaican-inspired domain. Cute-as-a-button waitresses wearing eclectic combinations of braids, hair wraps and tropical shorts were quick to make us feel at home. One explained the menu thusly: “Basically anything with the word ‘jerk’ in it is good.” Ergo BBQ Jerk Corn ($8) coming right up! Arriving liberally coated in coconut, my dining companion dubbed it “the Jamaican lamington”; however a squeeze of lime took it from sweet to savoury, with three exotic tableside chilli sauces completing the journey from mild to wild. One Coconut Daiquiri ($16) in, we decided to do drinks with food, rather than dinner per say, embarking upon a series of snacks from tasty Plantain Fritters ($9) with curry mayo to Prawn, Mango and Ginger Bammies ($7). They’re flat cassava flour pancakes, which advance Sydney’s taco-craze in a (faintly) new direction. Sunset Sangria ($20/jug) with vanilla, ginger beer and spiced rum proves remarkably better for the cultural meddling. It carries us through a generously battered basket of Coconut Soft Shell Crab ($16) with Hotstepper sauce. Sean Paul Ceviche ($17) with scallops, avocado and black bean puree on wacky pappadums help put out any remaining fire in your hole.
Level 1, The Forresters, 336 Riley Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9212 3035 queenies.com.au
Jamaican, Pub Bistro $$-$$$