From the first sounds of drumbeats and reggae voices crooning, a walk up a brightly painted staircase decorated with a rainbow of fake flowers hanging and a smell of spices that wafts from the bustling kitchen, you get a feeling these guys know how to have a good time.
Located in the ever funky and crowd stricken Forresters Hotel, Queenies is the top level dining establishment that has fast become a Surry Hills restaurant royalty for the past three years.
Greeted by warm smiles from the attentive maître de, Queenies welcomes you home to Jamaica from the get go. There is a friendly energy and the decor reflects this in it’s brightly adorned walls, in particular the rear wall which features a light show and illuminated pig face.
Windows are dressed with lace curtains like that you would find at grandma’s house, but don’t let this fool you as the menu is anything but reserved. Full of traditional recipes made for a modern palate, items are typical in Caribbean spirit being designed with a “ sharing is caring” philosophy.
Starters come in all different shapes, sizes and flavours, so if there is any confusion just speak with the knowledgeable waitstaff who will gauge your hunger level and provide some delicious meal solutions.
With a recent summer menu change diners will find bammies, fried peppers, black pepper beef and coconut soft shell crab as flavour bomb starters. With everything designed for sharing this gives everyone a great chance to sample a little bit of everything.
Spice lovers rejoice with the Voodoo wings- these little devils definitely pack a punch and are married well with a coconut cooler dipping sauce. Sean Paul ceviche is a fresh and delectable starter with delicate scallops, poppadoms, avocado, curry salt and pizazz of fresh lime, taking the tastebuds on a textual journey of soft, crunchy and buttery- a table favourite.
Leave room for the homestyle-generosity when it comes to main meals, Queenie’s will not let you leave the table hungry. Choose from Curry Goat with dirty rice and peas, the Junko Fried Chicken Burger, and a vegetarian option of the Vegetable Rundown (tofu, baby corn, potato, okra, jerk naan, dirty rice, cucumber and mint pickle).
For the indecisive diners fear not, the half and half is the perfect option with the best of the jerk chicken and jerk pork rib world’s served with signature sweet potato fries, coconut crumbed grilled corn and island slaw. This combination just works well together with a balance of flavours, the jerk marinade is not spicy like that of the voodoo wings, so fear not of your mouth catching on fire.
Seafood once again plays a major star in this menu with the Grilled rainbow trout served with juicy coconut prawns, fresh cucumber, mango and sesame- matched with one of the very fruity and inventive cocktails, you will be instantly transported to a tropical island escape.
Check the blackboard for dessert specials, with the current sweet choice being that of the fabulous banana and caramel infused banoffee pie. Serving size is huge and could easily be shared between two-three people.
What better way to enjoy the soulful flavours of Jamaica than with a selection of artistically crafted cocktails. With a general theme of fruity flavours underpinning, house favourites are the Barefoot Contessa, Smoked leaf margarita and Hurricane Queenie. Once again keep your eye on the blackboard as newborn creations will make an appearance here.
Queenies has all the ingredients for a lively, flavoursome and fun night out. From the food to the cocktails to the inviting staff, this great Surry Hills gem is only a brightly painted staircase away…