Food Trucks

Chef Niven Patel Delivers Caribbean Flavors With Mamey at the Thesis Hotel

Chef Niven Patel will open two new restaurants inside Coral Gables' Thesis Hotel this year.
Chef Niven Patel will open two new restaurants inside Coral Gables' Thesis Hotel this year. Photo courtesy of Mamey
One of Food & Wine magazine's 2020 "Best New Chefs," Niven Patel, will bring two new restaurants to his Aya Hospitality lineup later this year.

The first of Niven's two restaurants will be Mamey, named for the tropical fruit native to Cuba and Central America, followed by a wood-fired cooking concept Orno in late-2020. Both will open inside the Thesis Hotel Miami in Coral Gables.

While he notes the move is a departure from his current establishments, Ghee and Erba, Patel said he is excited to align with a hotel group that shares his vision.

"The hotel's desire to create restaurants that reflect this approach was a factor in my decision to partner," Patel says. "This partnership promises great things."

Currently scheduled to open for dinner only seven nights a week beginning Tuesday, August 11, Mamey is described as a vibrant and island-minded concept with tapas-style plates. The concept is inspired by Patel's travels throughout Asia, Polynesia, Thailand, and the Caribbean.
click to enlarge Chef Niven Patel's new restaurant, Mamey, will open inside the Thesis Hotel in Coral Gables in August. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MAMEY
Chef Niven Patel's new restaurant, Mamey, will open inside the Thesis Hotel in Coral Gables in August.
Photo courtesy of Mamey
Like each of his previous concepts, Patel said he wants to give the Mamey menu an authentic and organic touch. To do so, the chef says he will source a great deal of fruit, vegetables, and herbs from Rancho Patel, his two-acre farm in Homestead. Started in 2014, the farm currently supplies each restaurant with fresh produce from mangoes and eggplant to avocados and beets.

Patel's dedication to sustainability and mindful sourcing is what helps to define his eclectic cooking style, one that he says is deeply rooted in his heritage while also pulling inspiration from South Florida's agricultural bounty.

"The connection between the plants, the farm, the harvest, and the food on the plate is so important to me and the soul of everything we do at Ghee and Erba we will do at Mamey and Orno," Patel says.

Expect an eclectic array of cultures to be on display with Mamey's menu, each showcasing the exotic flavors and spices commonly found in tropical cuisine. The menu begins with small plates like his yellowfin tuna tostones topped with a tomato sofrito, scallion, and piquillo pepper aioli; Bahamian-style conch fritters served with a cilantro tartar sauce and roasted peppers; and corn and callaloo empanadas. There are also sandwiches and large plates with everything from a Creole-inspired mahi to the crispy chicken sandwich dressed with plantain barbecue sauce, and Trini-style roti with curried chickpeas, spinach, red onion, and tamarind chutney ($8 to $36).

In collaboration with Bar Lab, Mamey's cocktail menu will feature flavorful concoctions that offer an island flair. Take the Mamey Swizzle, a blend of light rum, the chef's own chai tea blend, coconut milk, and mamey fruit. Another signature drink will be the Jerk Sandia, a mixture of Mezcal, watermelon, lemon balm, pomegranate, and jerk spices.

Mamey. 1350 S. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables; Opening August 11.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna