A recent pop up cafe has hit the restaurant scene in Kingston, Jamaica. Tucked away between the Tile City and Kohler show rooms at 114 Constant Spring Road, (on the right at the intersection of Grants Pen Constant Spring Road) this cafe has lots to offer! For such a cozy spot one would think that it would be cramped but it’s actually an excellent use of space. There is even an mezzanine loft area above with single couches where you can work quietly in your own little corner away from the bustle of downstairs.
For decor, the cafe has a lovely mix of modern and rustic chic with a mix of taupe, brown, grey, black and white colour scheme. Quite an excellent combination to be honest, one I would not have thought of and it works well together.
They opened their doors officially on December 14 2017 and have made quite a splash ever since. Owners Lisa & Kirk Chin have quite the experience under their belt with other restaurants: Fromage Brasserie at MarketPlace, Fromage Bistro at 8 Hillcrest Ave. and the Oak Wine Bar (also on Hillcrest Ave.) They really know what they are doing and are doing it well!
One of the little things I first noticed about CAFE DOLCE is their symbol of the Pineapple. In talking with Lisa, I questioned what the significance of this was as I was intrigued. She explained that the pineapple symbolises “Hospitality and Welcoming.” I was quite impressed at this meaning as she reminded me that it is also on the Jamaica Coat of Arms representing the indigenous fruit. Further to this Lisa informed me that the cafe logo has the co-ordinates of Kingston (the north & west numbers on either side of the pineapple) This could not be a more perfect symbol for a Jamaican Cafe! I love when there are hidden meanings behind the little things that mean so much. Kudos to you Lisa, this is brilliant. A subtle way of always welcoming the Jamaican people.
Upon entering, the staff greet you with a warm smile. It is very spacious and open with lots of natural light streaming in from the entrance. The layout of the cafe is open which allows you to see behind the counter and this gives a sense of accountability as you can see your order being prepped right in front of you. Personally I quite like this as it puts me at ease so that if I wanted to I can see exactly what is going in my order as it’s being made.
The first time I came to CAFE DOLCE, I sat at one of the tables in front of the entrance as I waited for my guest to join me. For our meeting I found the tables a bit small but hey it’s a cafe! They gotta make sure they get a high turn over! lol. In the end it worked out fine as we had seats for our bags lol.
For my order I chose the Bruschetta Chicken Panini and a Chai Tea Latte; and can I tell you I was certainly NOT disappointed! OMGee the panini was amazing!! I felt a little embarrassed when my guest arrived because all I wanted to do was chow down on this delicious sandwich and not talk, but of course I couldn’t. (lol) It had the perfect blend of spices and ingredients: chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, pesto and a delicious sauce. It was toasted to perfection on the outside yet so juicy on the inside. There is just something about the pesto and basil flavours that has me coming back for more every time!
The other items that I have also had are: The Thai Salad and the Chicken and Corn Chowder. Both were absolutely delicious. The Thai Salad was quite a large salad, I simply could not finish it! It was a savory salad made up of lettuce, carrots, cilantro, cabbage, peanuts, red onions and sesame seeds with a side of tangy balsamic dressing. “WOW!” was literally my first thought as I took my first bite!
The Chicken & Corn Chowder was honestly something I have never had. It was the soup of the day and I decided to give it a try as I love chowders. My all time go to is actually Clam Chowder but hey, I love chicken as well as corn so I figured why not! I was pleasantly surprised as the soup was a hearty blend of creamy and broth, (hence the description of a chowder) I know, I know DUH but it was something that stood out to me as some places I have tried either make their soup too watery or too thick. This was a good balance. The soup had bits of corn, carrot, black beans and chicken which were a nice touch. One of the other things I liked about the soup was that it wasn’t hot with pepper. Sure a touch could have been added but I quite liked that it didn’t have pepper as most Jamaican restaurants sometimes kill the food with pepper! (Side note: Maybe offer some on the counters so customers can add on their own?) My only critique would be that it could have had more chicken as I barely found any pieces, but, this by no means takes away from the over all deliciousness! I’m all for healthy foods that taste great and I guarantee you that that is what you will find here at CAFE DOLCE.
As for the rest of the menu they have a wide variety of other items such as specialty coffees and teas, cold beverages (perfect for the scorching heat in Jamaica,) yummy breakfast options along with healthy & delicious sandwiches/paninis, soups & salads. They also have a selection of yummy sweet treats to choose from as well! Looking at their menu I think I can honestly say it is about 85% healthy food and this is such a great thing as we need more places in Jamaica that offer heathy options. Trust me you can’t go wrong here. My personal favourite is the Bruschetta Chicken Panini (described above.) OMGee this sandwich is to die for! I’ve literally had it every time I come here lol. Yes I know I need to branch out and try another but it’s hard when you know what you love!
Other items on the menu have some really fun, quirky and enticing names; “Green Detox Glow,” “Energy Oatmeal,” “Superfood Salad,” “Kamp Kamila Skinny Smoothie,” to name a few. Who wouldn’t want to try these out?! Helloooo Ladies, yes please! (waves hand wildly.)
They also offer a Lunch Special option offering the Soup of the day with 1/2 salad OR 1/2 Sandwich on Mon. – Fri. from 12-2pm. This is a really great combo for when you want a little of both and can’t decide (like me.) I had this option the other day and was very satisfied with the portion. Not too much and not too little. If you decide to go for a regular salad/sandwich however, I can promise you that either way you will get your monies worth!
While observing the staff, I could see that there is a great vibe amongst them. You can tell that they all get along well with each other. Everyone is friendly and jovial together behind the counter doing their thing while still maintaining a high level of professionalism. They are very welcoming and polite to us customers and very thoughtful too. On my Chai Tea Latte one day, they had written my name and drew a little face with curly hair. Lol it really was the cutest and trust me these little things go a long way. Every time I come in, they great me with an excited smile! I was impressed by how quickly they remembered my face and name! It makes a person feel good. As the saying goes: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou. This is so true and you certainly feel the love here at CAFE DOLCE.
The staff here are very accommodating as well. On once occasion I needed a charger for my phone an Kadeen was very willing and quick to find one for me. She even went as far as to plug it in behind my seat. This was greatly appreciated!
As for my barista Shandell, she is such a character! When asking who had made my Latte and who “Shandell” was she quickly struck a DIVA pose with her hand up in the air! “ME!” lol It goes without saying that my Latte was excellent. I’m a serious tea lover and Chai tea Lattes are my absolute favorite. (Side note: I’m not a coffee person and having a Chai Tea Latte makes me feel like I’m a part of the cool crowd lol.) Even though the Latte was a wee bit on the small size at only 12 oz for $550 (and doesn’t come with whipped cream unless you ask for “the niceness” lol inside joke) I still enjoyed it thoroughly, it certainly is among the best I have tried. Now I have a place closer to home for when I get an “Itch for my Fix!’
At around 12:30 the lunch crowd starts to arrive and the cafe immediately comes to life! It is such a fabulous sight to sit back and watch. The buzzing of machines, chatter of the patrons and the delicious smells coming form the kitchen just gives this vibe that gets you going into production mode! So energetic! Definitely what I needed; to get out of the house, get energized and start churning out some work. (this review lol)
Wether you are popping in for a quick bite to eat or using it as an office for the day or lunch meting, CAFE DOLCE really is a great spot. It is quickly becoming a hot spot to go as every time I come here I see someone I know, sometimes even 2 or 3 people! Remember when Loshushan was featured in the paper as the place to “see and be seen” because anyone and everyone shopped there? Yes, CAFE DOLCE is quickly becoming that spot now! Definitely quite the hot spot! So vibrant and lively and then transitioning down to quiet and soulful.
For more information and a detailed menu, you can check out their Facebook page. (click here for a direct link.)
That’s all for now guys, I hope you enjoyed this review. Please feel free to leave comments below and make sure you go CAFE DOLCE!