A ‘Woiyoi’ of flavour — Viral food sensation Rameish Desouza opens Rameish Kitchen
Once you hear the word ‘woiyoi’, it can only mean one thing: it’s time to dig into some exotic and mouth-watering dishes boasting rich and unconventional island flavours that are truly out of this world. Viral sensation and chef, Rameish Desouza, has answered the demands of many fans and followers, opening his very own restaurant in downtown Kingston.
“My grand opening was on the 12th of May 2023,” the happy chef and owner of Rameish Kitchen, told Food, adding, “Now, I’m in the starting process, so I prepare easy-to-cook meals like brown stew and sweet and sour fish. The menu so far has included the famous blue rice, banana festival, mint roti, pineapple chicken, and barbecued beer chicken. But further down the line, more and more creative meals will be on the menu.”
With word on the street and in the social media space saying Rameish Kitchen was the place to be, we had to try for ourselves. The kitchen is upstairs at 19-21 King Street, but the actual entrance is on Harbour Street. You will see a flight of stairs or an elevator that takes you to a food court. A vibrant Rameish Kitchen is situated in the extreme corner ahead, branded by Red Stripe. Desouza has had a long-standing partnership with beer manufacturer, so when he posted about his restaurant décor, the company reached out and jumped on board, which is evident in the eatery’s aesthetic.
On our visit, we were greeted by the sensational smells of natural herbs and spices as customers received complimentary lobster soup. If we were to go by this taste alone, we were in for an exciting treat. I had the honour of having the ‘Woiyoi’ chicken (fried chicken) with blue rice. That incredibly tasty combination was made complete with the jackfruit coleslaw. Now that was the real star of the show!
“I come from a family of chefs, but I wanted to take things further. I’ve always wanted a restaurant, ever since I was working a nine-to-five. Another thing that motivates me to open a restaurant is the massive amount of people online wanting to try my food. And I love to cook, so opening this establishment would afford me the opportunity to make money while doing what I love,” the popular ackee ice cream creator said in a recent interview.
Initially, the young businessman had his sights set on an eatery in Half-Way Tree or Portmore since those are familiar grounds. But with downtown Kingston in his price range, he could not pass up the chance to be part of the Government’s efforts to attract more islanders and tourists to the areas. It was a win-win.
Chef Desouza is currently a one-man show in the kitchen, with only a cashier to help out with the orders. And while that means you get a direct taste of his authentic creations, it doesn’t help the issue of a growing and restless crowd, especially at lunch time. To mitigate the circumstances, the chef reaches early to prepare ingredients and cook meals ahead of time so that he doesn’t run out of food to serve.
“I’m still looking for good staff to put in my restaurant, but for now, I do most of the cooking myself because I don’t have a chef. I hope to get everything in place in terms of a structured work system and good management,” he said.
He confessed that he didn’t see himself without a restaurant, “I hope to get everything in place in terms of a structured work system and good management so I can focus on opening the next Rameish Kitchen soon. I will have Rameish Kitchen right across Jamaica, and soon, in different countries.”
If you are new to Rameish Kitchen, expect a food experience like no other. And the further he goes, expect even more creative menu items that will wow your taste buds.