Lifelong best friends Sarah Willis and Tabetha Phillips started Blue Ridge a few years ago when their plans to return home to Jamaica overlapped, and they decided to do something together. A restaurant seemed like the perfect venture combining both their skills– Tabetha has extensive experience in management and the food industry and Sarah is a trained chef.

CHEF SARAH

The dining experience

The duo figure that if they lure you up on the bad road they should make it special and worth your while, so they offer the complete package – good food, spectacular views, great ambience and attentive service. The menu is varied and enticing, plated and presented in a unique and novel way. First thing you notice is the tableware, whether it’s the tortilla tomato soup in brightly-coloured ramekins, creamy sauces in unusual- shaped dipping bowls, or the mini polka dot tins filled with French fries. Presentation to your table is usually themed and entertaining – it could be a hand-painted wooden chipmunk or a bejeweled Buddha, and they may even place a toy fire engine with sirens blaring to announce the arrival of a particular dessert! It’s always unexpected and playful, making it a fun dining experience that thrills both adults and children.

The Menu

It changes often to keep it interesting for customers, many of whom are regulars. They also have a great kiddie’s menu, and offer options for vegetarians, vegans and persons with special dietary needs.

what to try

For the appetizer definitely go for the popcorn chicken, nibble-sized nuggets of chicken breast dipped in a lightly seasoned batter and deep fried, served on a bed of popcorn; or go for the plantain wrapped in bacon with a creamy cilantro sauce. For the entrée, the guava glazed pork is mouth- wateringly delicious, served with garlic mashed green banana or homemade mac-and-cheese. Or try the land and sea special – chicken breast stuffed with seasoned crab, topped with grilled shrimp and a creamy garlic sauce. If you are vegan, then try the burrito bowl, filled with fire roasted corn, rice, black bean salsa, pico de gallo, and plantain all in a rich Sriracha sauce… Just make sure you leave room for one of the tantalizing desserts! The Blue Ridge beverage menu offers a range of signature drinks – try the mango lemonade, or maybe the Moscata-infused berry slushy.

all things blue

Obsessed with all things blue, the name is a poetic take on the blue sky and the mountains. They also have signature blue drinks – there’s the ever-popular Blue Hot Chocolate, as well as the Rocky Blue Mojito or Blue Mimosa.

The location

Nestled on top of a hill in the Salt Hill district of east rural St. Andrew, it’s primarily a farming community, with small homesteads dotted along the steep hillsides and in the valleys. Several Kingstonians also have weekend homes in the area. Blue Ridge is a working farm of five acres where they grow coffee as well as vegetables and fruits including pineapples, peaches, bananas and otaheite apples.

The blue Ridge brand

They brand their own coffee, and produce artisanal gourmet dips and sauces.

accommodation

Very often, diners who visited the restaurant wanted to stay over rather than take the long drive back to town, so cottages seemed like a good idea. Currently there are two, Butterfly and Peacock. A steep, narrow stone stairway leads to each unit, tucked away in the lush vegetation. Completely private, guests can relax and unwind and enjoy nature at its best – even the intermittent Wi-Fi is a signal to slow down. Breakfast is included and lunch and dinner can be pre-ordered from restaurant menu.

getting there

For first timers, it seems like an endlessly long winding road through the hills and just when you think you are probably lost, the Blue Ridge sign pops up on the side of the road. From there, it’s a short drive up to the restaurant. It takes about 30- 40 minutes from Papine through Gordon Town to Guava Ridge on up to Quashie Gap.

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