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This is Solihull's first authentic Caribbean eatery

TASTY: Jamaya

SOLIHULL’S ICONIC Touchwood Shopping Centre now has its first authentic Caribbean eatery in Jamaya, the newly-opened restaurant that provides food that is uniquely Jamaican with the ambience that succeeds in mimicking the feel of eating on the sun-drenched island itself.

In sync with its hashtag #eatwithlove, which adorns its promotional material, the food is lovingly prepared and served by its staff team of 12, which is led by a Jamaican head chef.

Jamaya – a mash-up of Jamaica and Maya, the name of the founder/director Byron Carnegie’s 19-month-old daughter – serves a variety of chicken-based and vegetarian meals/sides plus soft and alcoholic drinks cuisine.

Open seven days a week, it has entered an already crowded market in the iconic shopping centre, where it has the likes of Pizza Express, Wagamama and Nando’s as neighbours.

PICTURED: Byron Carnegie

Born and raised in nearby Birmingham, Carnegie, 33, started his working life in electrical installation and moved into the property market in 2012, launching the First 4 Services property management company in 2012.

He scored lucrative contracts with housing associations and estate agents, specialising in bathroom/ kitchen conversions and facilities management with a staff team tradesmen and women.

From the outside, all seemed to be going well, but that was only an appearance.

“To be honest, I wanted a new challenge, and as I’ve always had a passion for food it had to be a restaurant,” Carnegie told The Voice.

“I started having every Thursday off to brainstorm for new business ideas with my partner Helen.

“It was 2015 and the idea of opening a restaurant started to take shape.” With grandparents from St Catherine and St Elizabeth in Jamaica, Carnegie has gleaned his ideas for Jamaya from regular visits to Jamaica, most recently in December 2018.

He returned with an array of pictures, posters and recipe’s which now adorn the walls of Jamaya, giving the venue more than a fair share of authenticity.

Now firmly established with a business in a third sector of industry to add to electrical installation and property management, Carnegie recalled his feelings as the finishing touches were being put to Jamaya ahead of opening night: “The day it hit me was when the signage was being put up outside.

“The designers and fitters had sent me photos of how it looked but it was a proud moment when I saw it for myself coming up the escalator.

“Here we are right opposite Nando’s! “This is a legacy for my daughter to inherit.”

Carnegie is also creating legacies in Jamaica: he is setting up a charity through which youngsters can progress through catering school.

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