In case you missed it, the Orlando West Indian Carnival celebrations was a few weeks ago. Combing through all the fete and bumping and grinding I spotted the opening of this new restaurant, GT Roti and Curry. This place promises to give the old stalwarts a run for their curry.
What’s in the name? “GT” represents Georgetown, the capital of Guyana. Roti is that flatbread like item and curry is a stew of Indian origin, in short. There are enormous cultural differences between types of rotis and curries that is way beyond my comprehension. I just like to eat them all. A second look at the name, could be “G” for Guyana and “T” for Trinidad. After all, the cultural make up of these two former British colonies is almost identical.
What’s going to set this restaurant apart from the cluster of West Indian establishments around the Pine Hills area? No alcohol. There is no beer, wine or liquor, which translates to no lingering drunken men as they say in the Caribbean “Liming” the girls as they try to get good food. Some establishments can be quite a scene. The next and most important difference, the owner is committed to delivering a very high level of service and food quality.
How did I know this? Well, I struck up a conversation. It is very hard to not have a conversation with someone who greets you upon entering the restaurant and is eager to answer questions. Very rarely have I gone into a Caribbean establishment and confronted with a warm welcome and conversation. Not to say that Caribbean people lack genuine hospitality, but it does take a little bit to get them to warm up.
Scrolling through their Facebook page it is evident that they are eager to include their clientele in menu building. There is a condensed menu available now. But the owner is actively seeking menu item suggestions through social interaction. How cool is that? Mine you, they offer full catering also.
Here is what I sampled so far:
Bake and Eggplant – Bake is a pita pocket like item that opens to carry any array of items. Could this be the next taco? This particular version of eggplant has a slight roasted nose with a healthy dosage of tomatoes that almost covers the earthy eggplant. The dish leans on the acidic side.
Bake and Saltfish – Salted white fish is seasoned with various herbs and spices. Nice balance of acidity. There could be a little more saltfish in there.
Note: These bakes are about 4-6 inches in diameter. That does not give a lot of space for stuffings. Order accordingly.
Doubles – This is the ubiquitous Trinidadian dish that even President Obama sampled. The Outer shell is a flour tortilla like item that wraps around chick peas simmered in spices. The heat level can be adjusted to your liking with sauces. Or you can get the sauces on the side and adjust as you eat. The resulting little fist size explosion of flavors is like a carnival in your mouth. These little darlings are very addictive.
Shrimp Curry Box – Medium sized shrimps are simmered in curry spices with green mango to give a sour acidity that lends a welcome flavor profile to this dish. All boxes are served with a roti, rice and curry channa (chick peas). This roti was soft, tender and very pliable, the perfect curry sopping vessel. Channa curry had the same sour profile as the shrimps. Shrimps were on the overdone side, this could be because it was “take out” and I took too long to eat it. I don’t see the need for two starches, Roti and Rice, in this box. Maybe they are trying to appeal to all diners.
Mauby and Lemonade Drink – Mauby is from a bitter tree bark that when balanced can be a very delightful drink. It is said to have medicinal properties. Lemonade was tartly sweet.
This restaurant is located at the southwestern corner of Orange Blossom Trail and Sand Lake Rd intersection behind the Chase Bank. Which reminds me to caution you when turning behind the Chase Bank. That is the exit of the drive through, be careful.
I welcome that this restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating. It would be very interesting to see this menu and restaurant evolve. Breakfast times are not set in stone, Closing times are not set in stone. Menu items will appear and disappear. All of these things are getting tweaked as business demands. I am told that if there is a particular item you crave, call ahead….they’ll have It available. Is this a good approach for a Guyanese specialty restaurant, only time will tell. In the mean time I am going back to sample more items.