New Year’s Day also happens to be the birthday of a very special man in my life, which leaves me with the hard decision year after year of where to take him, as most places [that I can afford] tend to be closed for the holiday. To make it easier, I mostly choose to take him out on New Year’s Eve and opt to spend the actual day just enjoying each other’s company.
This time, I wanted a change of scenery, specifically dinner with a view. The view I had in mind was the popular midnight firework display at the waterfront in downtown Kingston, which meant dinner would ideally be either by the sea or on a hill. With a handful of venues coming to mind, I called 4 restaurants with 3 eliminating themselves from the list for different reasons. City View Hotel was the remaining choice; I’ve never been there, nor heard much about it, but I somehow remembered a banner of theirs that’s been around for years that I never really paid much attention to…until now.
After screening their photos and reviews on Facebook, one afternoon I entered the location into Google maps and drove to the venue to have a look in person (I always do this for special occasion dinners). The staff was very accommodating of me randomly showing up on their property just to look around, even though a wedding reception was taking place at the time. The location’s panoramic view of Kingston city was just as mesmerizing as depicted, I was sold, and immediately bought 2 tickets for a New Year’s Eve dinner function they were hosting.
On New Year’s Eve, at 10pm (ish), the “mystery location” was unveiled to the soon-to-be birthday boy as we drove through the hotel’s gate, walked through the lower level of the building, and onto the lawn where seats and tables were set up on different levels. We opted for a seat by the lawn’s edge, no obstructed views, as mellow music from a live steel band played in the background. Looking out and seeing nothing but the city lights made the usual bustle of the town seem non-existent, it was as if it wasn’t the same place I traverse every day, as if the only event taking place at the time was where I was; it relaxed me. The sounds of the steel band, in that atmosphere and at that soft tempo, relaxed me even more. Had it not been for the crisp breeze kissing my bare skin, I could’ve easily drifted into a pleasant sleep.
We were offered a red wine to start shortly before the countdown to midnight commenced. At midnight, everyone stood up to see the fireworks downtown, but with our view we were treated to fireworks from downtown, uptown, and round town… HAPPY NEW YEAR!
After the 15-minute electric display around town ceased, finally, dinner was served. We were teased with soup, gungo peas puree with cream & a hint of mint, ugh! My taste buds tingled, and my neglected stomach was now in greater anticipation of what more I would surprise it with. There was a host of selections for the entrée, namely: Jamaican herb grill chicken with sorrel chutney, parmesan crusted fish fillet with lemon cream sauce, rosemary roasted beef with red wine reduction, coconut flavoured rice with sautéed coloured peppers, candid sweet potato, three-cheese macaroni casserole, garden salad, steamed seasonal vegetables with garlic confit. Luckily, the ticket price did not reflect the level of fanciness portrayed in the foods’ names. Every option was tried, every morsel was eaten, and every food item was relished. Even with my [wanga gut] belly filled, I somehow found (or made) space and went back for one more bowl of soup.
At this point, a crooning elder graced the small stage and hit after hit, had the crowd singing along to some old favourites. It was a nice touch to the evening, his song selections connected as he walked around and made it his duty to interact with each group during his performances.
At 2am, we decided we were ready to let the ethnic fatigue take its toll even though it was evident the night was far from over. Dessert was getting ready to be served, and the live performances seemed like they were just getting started, but with our hearts (and bellies) content, we thanked the staff for a lovely evening and made our way out the door. Before getting into the car, we couldn’t help staying in the parking lot a few more minutes to gaze at the view before us; Hope to book another dinner reservation there in the near future.
- Delectability 80%
- Food Variety 80%
- Staff Interactions 80%
- Ambiance 90%