During February, Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide is featuring restaurants that are Black-owned or that have Black chefs in observance of Black History Month.
Caribbean Sunshine Bakery is much larger than it appears to be from the outside. At least the restaurant at John Young Parkway and W. Colonial Drive (there are two others in the area). There, it shares a strip mall with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, a Dollar Store, a couple of churches and various other businesses.
The front door would suggest a small fast food operation on the other side, but the inside is more vast, with a couple of different service counters and full service dining area. I stepped inside to pickup the order I had made online and was greeted warmly. After a short confusion regarding what name the order was under – one of several confusions caused by the online ordering system – I was on my way back downtown with my delicious smelling food.
Because it was designated as the restaurant’s most popular item, the oxtail dinner was a must. It featured several pieces of bony tail with its signature fatty meat served on rice and peas and accompanied by steamed cabbage. There was also a goodly amount of gravy that was perfect over the moist rice.
I also got the curry goat, an ample amount of chopped bits of meat coated in a well-spice sauce, also with rice and peas and cabbage. The curry was delicious and I found myself wishing there had been more of the gravy.
Both meats were served on the bone and are best eaten with the fingers so you can just pull the meat off with your teeth. Still, you need to be careful of smaller bones. Whenever I want curry goat I make sure my dentist is on call.
Both meals also had fried plantains and a Jamaican dumpling, the ubiquitous bit of doughy bread that when fried is known as a johnny cake.
One of the dumplings had floated to the bottom of the large cup of beef soup I had also ordered. (Really, you can expect one of those dumplings in just about anything you order.) The soup had nice bits of shredded beef and vegetables, including carrots and potatoes, and little globules floating on top that tell you it was house-made.
I had wanted to try one of the bakery’s Jamaican patties but they were all out. I discovered this after I had placed my order using the online system, which is facilitated through the Postmates platform. It was much wonkier than it needed to be.
For instance, it accepted my order for the patties but only sent me a text message after I had checked out to tell me they weren’t available. And if I didn’t click on the link in the message to verify I still wanted the order, the whole meal would be cancelled.
The oxtail and goat entrees came in only one size, but the ordering form wouldn’t add the meal to the cart until I checked on which size I wanted. At checkout, the total showed a line item for a tip, but nowhere on the form was there a place to enter one. I ended up having to cadge together some cash for a tip to leave at pickup. (I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been dealing much with cash over the past year.)
Most frustrating, the Postmates form indicated the order would be ready in 20 minutes – there was no way to request a later pickup time. So I clicked to confirm my purchase and grabbed my keys to head out for the restaurant. I immediately got a text telling me my order would be ready in 55 minutes. That was annoying, but I figured the kitchen was backed up with dinner orders. I reopened my laptop and started on another project.
Not five minutes later I got another text telling me my order was ready for pickup. So off I went.
These seem to be issues caused by Postmates more than by the restaurant (although many pages of its own website don’t seem to work, either, including the home page). I hope they can negotiate with the ordering platform to improve what was otherwise a very pleasant experience.