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The jerk chicken plate, top, and oxtail stew, as served at Bickles Jamaican Grill in Frankfurt, Germany.

The jerk chicken plate, top, and oxtail stew, as served at Bickles Jamaican Grill in Frankfurt, Germany. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

During my recent travels in Frankfurt, the tropics were on my mind when mealtime rolled around. Specifically, the island known for Bob Marley and bobsled teams.

While Jamaica’s four-man crew was hungering to medal on the icy chute in Beijing, a companion and I were in the metropolis on the Main with a hankering for a plate of Caribbean culinary goodness.

We found fulfillment at Bickles Jamaican Grill. Located near downtown and within walking distance of the main train station, the restaurant possesses the laid-back vibe typical of a country whose name is practically synonymous with relaxation. Bickles is also considering a food truck operation at Ramstein Air Base, the restaurant’s owner said.

The menu at Bickles is small because most of the items on it are slow-cooked. Beverage options are similarly few in number but feature a nice variety, including Caribbean favorites like Red Stripe and Dragon Stout beers. A standout on the drink list is peanut punch, a frothy, high-protein amalgam of peanuts, milk, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg.

Caribbean cuisine is a cultural melting pot of tastes and cooking styles that incorporates the legacy of the slaves who came from West Africa and the indigenous people of the islands. Heavy seasoning and blazing heat tend to be hallmarks.

I ordered the oxtail plate, which consisted of oxtail stew, pigeon peas and rice, coleslaw and fried plantains.

Bickles Jamaican Grill’s oxtail stew, as served on Jan. 15, 2022, in Frankfurt. The stew comes with peas and rice, coleslaw and plantains.

Bickles Jamaican Grill’s oxtail stew, as served on Jan. 15, 2022, in Frankfurt. The stew comes with peas and rice, coleslaw and plantains. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

Cooking oxtails properly requires considerable patience and skill, and Bickles did a masterful job with them. They were fall-off-the-bone tender with great seasoning. The fluffiness of the rice also stood out to me, making the mixture of peas and rice a solid hit.

The Caribbean coleslaw was tasty and lighter on the sauce than I’m used to, which probably made the chopped veggies a little healthier. The only thing on the plate that I didn’t care for much was the plantains, because they were cold and a little too thick for my liking.

My companion ordered the jerk chicken plate because the curried goat had sold out that day. Aside from the jerk chicken, his plate was the same as mine.

Bickles Jamaican Grill’s jerk chicken plate, served with peas and rice, coleslaw and plantains.

Bickles Jamaican Grill’s jerk chicken plate, served with peas and rice, coleslaw and plantains. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

The meat was grilled perfectly, but the dish did not deliver the fiery flavor that jerk chicken is known for. Most jerk seasonings have about 15 ingredients, notably allspice, cayenne pepper and Scotch bonnets, an extremely hot chili pepper named for its resemblance to the signature hat of Scotland, the tam o’ shanter.

Bickles’ jerk chicken was seasoned with the German palate in mind, and the characteristic taste lent by the Scotch bonnets was absent.

So would I go back to Bickles? Without a doubt. The food was good, cheap and plentiful. The seasoning was on point, the staff was friendly and everyone spoke English.

The owner of Bickles Jamaican Grill at her restaurant in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 15, 2022.

The owner of Bickles Jamaican Grill at her restaurant in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 15, 2022. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

The upstairs open seating at Bickles Jamaican Grill in Frankfurt, Germany. The restaurant features a range of Caribbean cuisine.

The upstairs open seating at Bickles Jamaican Grill in Frankfurt, Germany. The restaurant features a range of Caribbean cuisine. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

Bickles Jamaican Grill

Location: Mainzer Landstrasse 229, 063026 Frankfurt

Hours: Monday closed, Tuesday thru Thursday 11:30 am to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. , Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Prices: Main course 10 to 15 euros, credit cards accepted.

Menu: English and German

Information: Phone: +49 178 6230098; Email: bicklesjamaicangrill@gmail.com; Online: bicklesjamaicangrill-frankfurtammain.de

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David reports for Stars and Stripes from Wiesbaden. He is from Texas.
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