My coworkers and I were quite excited about the addition of the Reef Runner near our office, the food truck version of the Reef, a popular Caribbean restaurant in Vancouver. We picked a sunny day to trek a couple blocks to try it out.
The only experience I had with the Reef was when we ordered catering for the office, which means the food had probably sat out for close to an hour before it got to my tummy. You can imagine how (not) fresh the food tasted, and that’s why I never wrote about the restaurant. Until now.
My Jerk Chicken Roti was wrapped in tinfoil, sitting in a paper container. If it were a combo (which I didn’t get), there would be a generous serving of plantain chips on the side. For some reason, I pictured a burrito-shaped wrap, but it was more like a square wrap. I attempted to unwrap the foil to show you the roti, but it was so soft and droopy that I thought it would slip right out of my hands! I decided to keep it intact so I wouldn’t wear most of it.
And yes, it was droopy. As I slowly opened up my wrap, the sauce already leaked out of the wrap and got onto the foil, made it even harder to hold. After struggling with the unwrapping process, I finally dug in for my first bite.
And boy, it was good! The roti was nice and hot (vs. lukewarm when delivered to the office); the flatbread was soft and moist (not dry and hardened like the ones we got catered at the office). The filling had a good amount of juicy, tender chicken pieces and potatoes, and the jerk spice had a nice kick without being overly spicy. It was so good that we finished our roti pretty quickly. It didn’t look very big, but it’s deceiving. It’s actually a good size and was quite filling.
The sauce was a bit runny, though, and the wrap wasn’t done very tightly, which caused the droopy effect. MP went again another day and she said it was wrapped tighter the second time around; perhaps there’s some consistency issue there.
For $2, I also got 3 Johnny Cakes. What is it, you ask? It’s Caribbean fried dumpling made of flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter (recipe may vary but you get the gist of it) — let’s call it Caribbean donut-cake. When you order the Johnny Cakes at the Reef restaurant, they are the salty kind and are served with butter (think American biscuit); these ones at the food truck are dusted with sugar and cinnamon, which I would consider a dessert item. And I like them sweet! It has the savoury aspect from the use of butter, but the addition of sugar and cinnamon reminds me of a cake donut and that makes a nice treat after a meal. Mind you, the dough is dense like cake, so I don’t recommend eating all 3 of them. Perfect to make some friends at the office!
Despite the runny sauce and its droopiness, I enjoyed my roti very much. And I thought the food was priced quite reasonably. It gave me great insight of what the Reef has to offer, and enticed me to go check out the restaurant sometime.
The Reef Runner
Thurlow Street and Cordova Street, Vancouver