The capital’s Caribbean dining scene is ripening up, meaning there’s never been a better time to treat yourself to a paradise-inspired platter. Yolanda Zappaterra prepares your citywide menu.
Go for Bamboo, bright colours and tropical plants that combine to make a decent stab at a shabbychic Jamaican beach bar, service that manages to be laidback yet charming, and food so good you can almost feel the sand under your feet.
Try Goat curry with sautéed callaloo or ground provision (yam, dumpling and green banana). Sup the Jamaican-style rum punch or soursop juice – it’s a lot better than it sounds.
Mains from £8.50. 12 Acre Lane, SW2 5SG.
Fish Wings and Tings
Go for Trinidadian Brian Danclair’s flair with unexpected ‘shark and bake’ (small in a dough roll), and with Caribbean staples cod fritters in a Red All dished up in a sunny-little Brixton Village.
Try The aforementioned bake, or a huge vegetarian curry roti, both with sauce, accompanied Brian’s ginger beer.
Mains from £6.50. 3 Brixton Village, 2 Atlantic Rd, SW9 8PS.
Go for A taste of the high life. It’s not easy spinning downhome dishes like goat stew into refined ones that echo the food of Gary Rhodes at Grenada’s Calabash Hotel, but it’s managed here with finesse (and lashings of salsa).
Try The fish. Creole snapper with green peppercorn sauce, maybe, or a seafood platter with fried cassava, with a classic cocktail like planter’s punch, a mojito, mai tai or daiquiri.
Mains from £11. 10 Kentish Town Rd, NW1 9NX.
Go for The ramshackle caff-like interior, excellent reggae and ska, affable if haphazard service, and Jamaican food so authentic it will make you feel like calypsoing right back out into rainy grey Soho.
Try The fish dumplings followed by jerk chicken and fried plantain, chased by a fine pineapple punch.
Mains from £5. 189 Wardour St, W1F 8ZD.
Go for The authentic feel of a Trinidadian takeaway. Paper-thin rotis then wrapped around goat, veggie curries. Enjoy them a clientele who’ve perfected insouciance that’s straight Spain (ie, restrain your impatient ways and embrace the wait.
Try The channa and aloo, pumpkin roti, with coconut or tamarind balls to follow, with tooth-enamel-tazing juice.
Mains from £4.50. 12 Clapham High St, SW4 7627 8637.
Fancy a steak instead? Check out London’s best steak restaurants.