Review: Quality Kitchen At The Leopards’ Club

August 28, 2021 | 1 Comment

[Written by Dale Butler]

A few days ago I introduced this new feature with a description of the history and boundaries of the area, in question, sometimes called “Back-A-Tarn”, but as a long-time resident we call it the heartbeat of Hamilton.

My first restaurant review this week is Quality Kitchen, at 12 Brunswick Street. Tucked away, just a stone’s throw from the Catholic Church on Cedar Avenue, is the distinctive Leopards Club International Bermuda – well known since its inception in 1949 for its community service, supper club live radio broadcasts, May 24th celebrations and having a long list of distinguished members and presidents who introduced the term “Longtail”, with fondness and fanfare, when referring to overseas black tourists who were accommodated in The Plaza Guest House adjacent to the Club.

In spite of Covid restricting membership activity, the club, now being led by former marathon star Cal Bean, has been preparing a variety of events and improvements. It was, therefore, satisfying to witness the reopening of a spotless restaurant under the management of well known caterer Mr. Raymond Dowling and his son Jerome.

The club has always had a reputation for its Friday night fish dinners. At one point the famous Mrs. Lorraine – dressed in a cowgirl outfit from hat to boots – was a resident there. She operated out of a bigger space next door where she offered her all-you-can-eat daily brunch at the Checkmate.

Mr. Raymond Dowling is a seasoned veteran, having studied in the UK and returning in 1988 to work at the Sonesta Beach Hotel. Catering is a very demanding field and he has done well to hold his own, with a special emphasis on Bermuda dishes and local fish, of course. He opened at the Leopards Club International Bermuda on July 1, 2021 after being at the Ocean View Golf Club [Bermuda] from 2017 to 2020.

He also brings to the floor his son Jerome, and hires local Bermuda College students in training, following the tradition of Fred Ming and Herbie Bascome, to name just two. On Sunday, two second-year students gave a friendly greeting and service. No doubt, Tanzania Bean and Sherita Rebello have a bright future at hand, with teachings from an experienced team at the College and now an industry veteran eager to work with them.

There are 16 grill items, from hamburgers to steak-umms, orders of Bermuda fish and the fish dinner which was outstanding – my first choice. If you can’t get that right, why bother. Mr. Dowling’s experience with flavour was very evident, with each mouthful ensuring it will take first place for popular dishes. There are seven side orders expected by Bermudians, such as baked chicken legs, peas and rice, and macaroni and cheese. In the sandwich area, he has seven options and four types of salad.

The prices are quite reasonable and the portions will fill you. During the week, I watched a steady stream come, and when asked why, they mentioned Mr. Dowling or the fact that they had enjoyed meals there since its opening. When I saw the flatbread pizza, I had to order it. It was absolutely delicious and it wasn’t thick at all. Takeout is very popular, with a selection of cold drinks and seating inside.

On Sunday I returned for the small codfish breakfast. I enjoyed it. Yes, there is a large serving as well. It is obvious he knows the Bermuda secret for having ripe bananas and avocados.

Mr. Dowling is on a winning wicket. Ideally located, with a balanced selection of food and an opportunity to cater to your needs, he is off to a flying start and deserves four stars. Just like the Checkmate, run many years ago by Mrs. Lorraine Stowe-Adams, you taste one dish and suddenly you are a regular.

The Quality Kitchen motto: “Nothing Too Big or Too Small, We Do it All.” Weddings, office and birthday parties, church functions and funeral wakes are just a few. Opening hours are Wednesdays to Saturdays from 12.00pm to 8.00pm and Sundays 9.00am to 4.00pm. For your orders, dial 335-2361 or email qualitycatering86gmail.com.

Congrats to Mr. Dowling and his son. Keep the standards of food and service high and locals will bombard you and bring overseas guests as well.

- Dale Butler is a former principal and Government Minister for Culture. He currently writes music reviews for Bernews and previously wrote the popular “Eating with Ed” for the Bermuda Sun in the 1980s. As a former director with the Little Venice Group for 20 years he has a broad knowledge of food and service.

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  1. Ezara says:

    This is just to clarify that Quality Kitchen is for take out only. No seating inside.

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