Brampton is home to outstanding, award-winning Caribbean restaurants with mouth-watering jerk chicken. Traditionally seasoned with pimento, allspice, nutmeg, scotch bonnet or habañero peppers, the marinated chicken is slow-cooked. This gets all the flavours deep inside for a bite of heaven. While well-known establishments for jerk chicken have been recognized in Etobicoke, Rexdale and Malton, Brampton should not be overlooked – the city has a vibrant West Indian restaurant scene with outstanding dishes. Here are our top 5 picks for jerk chicken in Brampton:
Talk about fall-off-the-bone chicken that makes you want to lick your fingers after every bite. It’s smoky, it’s savoury, it has a touch of sweetness, it’s rich, it’s juicy… it’s the chicken you eat when you need comfort food. The coleslaw is perfectly balanced, the rice and peas is moist and smothered in oxtail sauce, and you can guarantee a line-up at the cash register. Baker’s Jerk House is a take-out counter that has been in operation for 8 years. It was also the 2009 winner of the Jerkfest Best Jerk Competition by Jerk Festival Canada. This restaurant’s number is on my speed-dial.
A well-known establishment in Brampton, Portland Jerk is best known for their jerk pork, but their jerk chicken is also fabulous. The chicken has a fantastic balance of heat and flavour. For the brave and sticky, extra jerk sauce and hot sauce add the extra kick. The meat is tender, and they know how to massage marinade down to the bone – talk about everlasting happiness! Portland Jerk is more of a take-out counter than a restaurant; however, it has seating and makes for a popular lunch spot.
Rose’s Caribbean Kitchen has a more expressive menu than the others, but let it be known the chicken is the fan favourite of this restaurant. The chicken has an earthier flavour (good for those seeking a clove & pepper kick) than the other restaurants and it is succulent and juicy. Served normally with coleslaw and rice and peas smothered in curry or oxtail sauce, Rose gets top marks. As it is also a pastry shop, try the made-in-house rum cake if it’s available.
You can’t leave Betta Jerk off the list. One of the more popular establishments in Brampton, the fan base calls out for its jerk chicken, and the fried chicken, but let’s talk jerk. Betta’s jerk is a mashup of love of Cupid’s arrow and the heat of a bustlin’ party: you will fall in love with Betta Jerk’s chicken. It’s moist and it’s spicy, and not sticky or saucy – simply close to perfection.
It’s always a curious moment when you find yourself in a fusion restaurant. In this city, I’ve had jerk chicken samosas and jerk chicken sandwiches – both incredibly delicious, but not the same thing. However, Xaymaca is a Jamaican fusion gastro restaurant with fantastic jerk chicken. Well-seasoned, slowly cooked for charred, crispy skin, and flavourful meat. The jerk marinade is a staple throughout the menu, and the chicken is used to create a variety of dishes, from the pasta to the poutine. If you’re feeling frisky, this is the place to be.