Breakfast Without Borders: Miss Lily’s Jamaican Fare Fills You Up

By Annie Wu, Epoch Times
September 12, 2016 4:16 pm Last Updated: September 12, 2016 4:16 pm

BreakFastLogoAt first glance, the bright yellow heap on the plate appears to be your typical scrambled eggs. But one bite reveals that this is something much funkier. It’s Jamaica’s national dish, ackee and saltfish.

The saltfish is salted cod, while ackee is a tropical fruit that’s devoid of sweetness but becomes incredibly buttery when cooked. Seasoned with Scotch bonnet peppers, scallions, thyme, and black pepper, the ackee becomes a flavorful, creamy conduit for the fish, melting in your mouth.

Miss Lily's Jamaican Breakfast platter. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Miss Lily’s Jamaican Breakfast platter. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

To complete the Jamaican Breakfast ($18), Miss Lily’s executive chef Adam Schop adds small portions of fruit, fried plantains, festivals (Jamaican cornmeal fritters shaped like long crullers), and callaloo, a dish featuring the bitter leafy green sauteed with other vegetables. Into the latter, Schop throws sweet peppers, carrots, onions, and Scotch bonnet peppers for a hint of spice.

The food may lean on the heavy side, but the restaurant’s Caribbean vibes make you feel light and carefree. Miss Lily’s is decorated with fluorescent colors from the tabletops to the walls. Reggae music plays, while a disco ball spins in the middle of the room.

Miss Lily's festive environs. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Miss Lily’s festive environs. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Another heavy hitter is the Breakfast Roti, like a Jamaican-style breakfast burrito stuffed with housemade jerk pork sausage, cheddar, and scrambled eggs, drizzled with a Scotch bonnet emulsion ($12).

The Breakfast Roti. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
The Breakfast Roti. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

To wash it all down, grab a bottle of Ting, a popular Caribbean grapefruit soda ($3) or one of Miss Lily’s tropical-inspired cocktails. The Hot Stepper with soju, bloody mary mix, and Scotch bonnet pepper ($12), and the One Love Bellini, champagne with passion fruit purée, are both fun boozy options ($13).

Miss Lily’s
132 W. Houston St. (between Macdougal & Sullivan streets), SoHo
109 Avenue A (at East 7th Street), East Village
212-812-1482
MissLilys.com

Brunch Hours:
Saturday & Sunday
11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Q&A With Adam Schop, executive chef, Miss Lily’s

Executive chef Adam Schop. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Executive chef Adam Schop. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Epoch Times: What’s your daily breakfast routine?
Adam Schop: Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and a cup of black coffee.

Epoch Times: What would you get for a splurge weekend breakfast?
Schop: Dutch baby pancakes with seasonal compote and eggs Benedict.

Epoch Times: How would you describe your approach to cooking Jamaican food?
Schop: My approach to cooking Jamaican food is the same as for other cuisines I have adopted into my repertoire—it is through travel, eating, and learning about the island of Jamaica. It’s important to understand the history of a place. … I’m still learning about the cuisine every time I travel to Jamaica. Paul Salmon, one of the partners of Miss Lily’s, also has a hotel in Negril, Jamaica, called Rockhouse, and I’m lucky to be able to travel there to learn firsthand about the country’s cuisine and flavors.