Those in the know have long made the trek to the Orange Street, Kingston, location of Moby Dick, owned and operated for the last 27 years by Morlyn Mangaroo-McBean and family. This quaint culinary spot, home to Jamaica's tastiest curry dishes, has a new fan, the internationally acclaimed TripAdvisor.
It was in January 2012 that McBean got wind of the TripAdvisor nod. "We knew nothing about it (TripAdvisor); I wasn't here and my daughter got a call from TripAdvisor advising her of the recommendation, and later we received the letter through the mail." She still speculates about which group of tourists could have possibly given her such an excellent review that subsequently landed her a recommendation. However, she is determined to give the best to all customers. She explains, "We are all equal in the sight of Allah, so we try to be nice to everybody. It doesn't matter how much you are spending."
How McBean started her curry restaurant is an interesting tale. Moby Dick was purchased in 1986. Uncomfortable with the idea of continuing to sell pork, she sought guidance as to which other product she could sell. "The previous owner said I had to sell pork, because it was a pig trotters place, but I said no, we are not going to do that. So I thought about it and prayed, because Allah comes first in everything. I got guidance that I should sell curry goat and roti. Being Indian, I thought that was what I knew how to do," said McBean.
McBean's choice proved successful, and her curry recipe, which was taught to her by her grandmother but tweaked to become her own formula, is what keeps patrons returning for more.
Indeed, Moby Dick's culinary delights were being enjoyed Monday afternoon by George Fuller, a California-based investment banker, who was referred to Moby Dick by a friend. "It was delicious," said Fuller, "a fantastic plate. When I was done, the waitress was able to see the bottom
of my bowl."
Jamaica's corporate and foreign customers are not the exclusive clientele of Moby Dick. The less fortunate in the downtown area are also able to enjoy McBean's cooking. According to Charreda McBean Morris, her daughter, who helps in the operation of the business along with her sister Calema and brother Clinton: "We offer a charity box. We give it out regularly. Someone will come and beg for some food. We don't turn back anybody at all. When it comes to food, nobody gets turned back, and we do this every day. Even if you don't have all the money, we will still give it to you."
Though McBean is the "lady in charge" of Moby Dick, she shares with Thursday Life that for all her success, " I give thanks and praise to Allah, my children and staff. They are my tower of strength".
Dhal Curried Goat
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sweet and Sour Fish
McBean’s “special” curry powder retails for $1,200 (exclusively at Moby Dick).
Prices range from $550-$1,800
Catering services are available
Opening Hours: 9:30 am-6:00 pm
3 Orange Street, Kingston Telephone: 922-4468