Jer’making me crazy! Let’s face it, nothing beats a recipe that’s been tried, tested and passed down from generation to generation, and your mama’s ol’ jerk marinade is one of those. Created with a whole lotta Caribbean spices, left for days to ensure their flavours are fused together, it’s something that us Londoner’s can’t get enough of. Whether we’re indulging in Caribbean chargrilled jerk meats, Ital stews or caramelised plantain, we’re flooded with Caribbean cuisine in the city. So we’ve devised a guide to the best of London’s Caribbean scene for you – expect ample amounts of rum!
You’d be wrong if you thought Carribean was solely dedicated to jerk chicken. Vegans can allowed to enjoy the intense spiced flavours too thanks to Eat of Eden. Their menu is inspired by European and Caribbean Ital, which is the Rastafarian style of cooking and eating, consisting of home cooked spicy stews. Stuff yourself full of their vegan platter, piled high with curries, grains and fried goodies. Oh, and while you’re at it, try their macaroni pie – it’s oozing with vegan cheese without the dairy!
Where: Unit 4, Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8PR
Bringing a slice of the Caribbean to the heart of London is Cottons, London’s longest-running Caribbean brand. With their eccentric interiors, traditional grub and over 300 different types of rum at each venue, it’s hardly surprising it continues to draw in the crowds. Guests can expect to devour their spicy jerk chicken grilled and smothered in homemade jerk sauce, rice ‘n’ peas, and curried mutton.
And veggies are catered for too with their popular Chaguanas dinner plate, piled with chana dhal, black eyed bean, chickpea and callofritters, and plantain, yum!
Where: Various locations across London
Mix and match with Rum Kitchen’s sharing style plates. There’s options for lovers of fish with their saltfish fritters, meat dwellers can munch on curry mutton patties, or dive into Kentucky style cauliflower served with tamarind aioli if you’re wanting a naughty veg hit.
Where: Brixton / Carnaby
Tucked under its leaved archway, you’ll find Negril serving up nourishing meals for a reasonable buck. Having set up after falling in love with a jerk chicken chain when visiting Jamaica, the owners replicate the style of traditional Carribean cuisine packing in a flavourful punch with every bite. But if you’re feeling fragile after one to many rums from the previous night, indulge in Negril at home as they deliver, winner winner!
Where: 132 Brixton Hill, Brixton, SW2 1RS
After spending time scouring the Carribean island of Jamaica and simply sampling the finest food while there, Rudie’s has created a Carribean sanctuary now in London. Marinating their meat for at least 24 hours and using only the traditional jerk drums while cooking over coals, they offer a dining experience fit for royalty. Share the spicy-sweet taste of their smoked jerk small plates and sharing platters with friends and family, refresh your tastebuds with rums and let reggae music transport you to a Jamaican shack along the sea…
Where: 50 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB
If you’re a fan of The Apprentice, you might recognise owner April Jackson from the 2015 series, as she’s since opened Three Little Birds, in Brixton and Battersea, celebrating her island’s cuisine, music and ambience. Although being a bit of a celebrity chef, she’s stayed true to her Jamaican roots with the menu reflecting the classical techniques and sharing style of island life. It wouldn’t be a Caribbean meal without a rum cocktail or two to go alongside, so dive one of their signature cocktails and you’ll be ready for a boogie.
Where: Battersea / Brixton
Influenced by Content District, St Catherine in Jamaica, Cafe Caribbean cooks up dishes that pathed the owners childhood. Having a mum who was brought up in the Content District, the food represents their historical family name and truly honours it with pride. It’s the perfect spot if you’re looking for a lunchtime spot to get you out of the midweek slump.
Where: Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW
With classic ska and reggae filling through the air in the heart of Camden Town, Mango Room fuses together traditional and modern Caribbean cuisine. A crowd favourite among regulars and newcomers is the ‘Camden’s famous’ curry goat with scallions, glazed carrots, potatoes and, of course, a blend of Caribbean spices to tantalise your tastebuds. Or if you’re feeling a fruity hit, try their veggie ackee and avocado, with spinach, plantain, tomato and olive – balancing the perfect combination of sweetness against the salty olives.
Where: 71 Camden Road, Camden Town, NW1 9EU
Nothing quite beats a pasty. I mean, in the Caribbean they call it a patty but it’s essentially the same thing. Spiced meat and veggie fillings encased in crispy pastry, usually made with turmeric to give it its distinctive colour. In 2013, Jamaica Patty Co. was founded with the aim of bringing high-quality Jamaican to the UK. Whether you’re feeling a meaty, fishy or veggie (even vegan!) hit, Jamaica Patty Co. will without a doubt satisfy your pastry cravings.
Where: 26 New Row, Covent Garden, WC2N 4LA
Just like mama makes… Mama’s Jerk BBQ marinade was originally made by the owner’s late nan, Mama Charlotte, creating in her farmhouse back a yard kitchen in Jamaica. If you’re wanting to try the secret recipe, you’re in luck because it’s been passed down through generations and along came the Mama’s Jerk catering services. Try their jerk chick wrap that’s been marinaded for our 24 hours and chargrilled to create the ultimate Caribbean bite – there’s a veggie bean cake version too!
Where: Pop Brixton / Deptford
Tucked away in the heart of Camden, you’ll find a pinch of the Caribbean serving up the best of Jamaican cuisine. Ma Petite Jamaica brings the sun, spirit and soul of Jamaica through their traditional techniques and flavours to the grey skies of London. Try their filled roti’s or one of their mouthwateringly good meats, served straight from the jerk pot. They also have a daily drinks happy hour between 5-7pm so there’s even more reason to try out this quaint little haunt!
Where: 4 Inverness Street, Camden Town, NW1 7HJ
White men can’t jerk, or can they? Well, street food vendor White Men Can’t Jerk have changed London’s Caribbean scene and for the better. Bringing together their love of the Caribbean’s flavour combos and laidback vibe, they serve up a delicious curried mutton shepherd’s pie for the meat eaters, while the veggies can enjoy jerk halloumi, yes, you read that right. A cheesy taste of the Mediterranean is coated in White Men Can’t Jerk’s signature jerk blend, yum!
Where: Venues across London
Dine in Jamaican style as you feast upon their caramelised chicken stew in a rich thyme and onion sauce, or opt for the sautéed ackee and saltfish served with fresh spring onion and cherry tomatoes. All of which are served with ya rice ‘n’ peas, of course.
Where: 2 Yabsley Street, E14 9RG
Using the spirit of his grandmother’s cooking, Chef Brian Danclair opened up his first restaurant, Fish, Wings & Tings, in Brixton back in 2012. Having grown up in Trinidad, he continues to apply his foodie memories to the menu whether that’s his signature roti’s packed full with string beans, pumpkin, chickpeas, potatoes and kuchela, or the tamarind BBQ jerk chicken served up with all the usual trimmings. It’s all dedicated to his grandmother’s long-lasting community spirit and a love of traditional Caribbean flavour combos.
Where: 3 Granville Arcade, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8PR