Jerk Paradise is a humble hut serving jerk and fried chicken, along with burgers, roti and other quick to-go meals. It's run by Kuganathan Kulanthaivelu and Kalaivani Kalaiselvan, the former of whom spent time at Harlem Underground where he perfected his fried chicken and waffles.
Now that he has a place of his own, he wants to use it to showcase the dishes of Trinidad, where his parents are from. This place used to house a Middle Eastern restaurant, and shawarma is still offered here too.
The joint is super small, little more than a steam table and narrow ledge seating on the opposite side, but a lot of cooking takes place in full view.
Island fried chicken and waffles ($6.50) use prepped chicken but fresh made waffles, using Desiree’s pancake and waffle mix and syrup, also served with chili sauce. You can tell this is a practiced dish, the waffles fluffy and the syrup thick, chicken not terribly crispy but definitely satisfying as far as feeding a craving.
Jerk chicken is also $6.50, and the meat is nice and juicy here with a good creeping heat that sneaks into the warm spice rub. We get some spiced rice and peas ($3.45) and cooling, creamy coleslaw ($3.25) on the side.
A chicken roti ($8.95) is appropriately neon yellow, the bread a little dry but a good shell for the hot and spicy filling with potato. Everything also seems to come with a smattering of red pepper chunks, adding a random bit of colour.
Kugan preps two whole fresh boxes of jerk chicken each day. They have a ton of sauces you can choose to add onto your meal too, such as chipotle, honey garlic, honey mustard, jerk BBQ, and tahini.
Of course, you have to have a giant can of Grace coconut water, a ginger beer, or a Ting, no matter what you’re ordering here. The beauty of the place is mixing and matching the comfort cuisines offered here. They even offer jerk burgers, jerk salmon sandwiches, and all day breakfast.
The place is a in a bit of a dead zone, with not much else around unless you go further along Gerrard or up Parliament, so it’s a boon to the immediate community in terms of an option for a quick and filling bite.