The Rum Kitchen, Notting Hill

Where are all the Caribbean restaurants in London? After visiting this beautiful exotic area of the world last year, I developed a new appreciation for jerk chicken, rice and peas, and rum punch. Interestingly it is a cuisine I instantly forgot about when I landed back on English turf. There seem to be very few established ‘Caribbean’ restaurants in London. With this in mind I suspect Rum Kitchen in West London will be a hit; not just because it fills a gap in the market, but because it offers delicious food and drinks that will happily remind guests of their favourite holiday destination.

Located in the back streets of Westbourne Grove, it is an area which is known best for the annual Notting Hill Carnival. Caribbean recipes are extremely popular at the event so it seems like a fitting place to welcome this venue.

Cute and colourful decor makes the restaurant feel like a beach hut. Quotes cover the walls, one stuck in my head: “Talk is the Ear’s Food”. Tables take up one half of the restaurant, a casual bar the other and downstairs another bar space is available for later in the evenings or private parties. The large spacious room was almost empty when we arrived at 7pm but soon filled up, and as it became busier the service became noticeably slower so I’d recommend going early if you want a speedy meal.

The menu is short and sweet, no fuss comfort food inspired by the Caribbean way of life. We tried the following:

To start:
Salt’n’chilli squid with aioli £7.50
Jerk chix skewers with citrus dressing £7

For main:
Jerk Lamb cutlets with guava sauce’n’island veges £16.50
Confit pork belly with corn bacon’n’blackeye pea succotash & Rum Kitchen BBQ sauce £12.50

For dessert:
Chocolate Rum cake with choc sauce ‘n’ Ice-Cream £6
Caramelized Banana Puddin’ with Butterscotch Sauce £6

The food was scrumptious, really tasty, delicious smelling and comforting. The squid was fat and juicy coated in a thin crispy batter and served with creamy aioli. My jerk chicken was divine, tender meat that fell away from the stick, covered in the most wonderful crunchy salty breadcrumbed layer. The dishes are cleanly presented, and are made with the freshest ingredients.

The mains were a decent size, my lamb was cooked to perfection, very succulent and wonderfully seasoned. The guava sauce was interesting but just a little too sweet for me. The pork belly arrived with a lot of fat around it, but once this was cut away it had great flavour and texture and was complemented by the bacon and pea succotash (a corn based Caribbean dish).

Desserts were unnecessary but we thought we better try them, especially as we both had a tiny inch of tummy space left. The banana cake was the clear winner, finished in a flash, a fruity sweet moist cake with an addictively good sauce. Chocolate Rum cake was interesting but just a bit dry and plain for us.

Many visit Rum Kitchen just for the rum based cocktails, which range from classic mojito to innovative new recipes. My favourite was the Strange Fruit, a short drink shaken with light Cuban rum, fresh lime, pineapple, and Canadian maple syrup. It was very drinkable and had an intriguingly tangy flavour that I loved. The Rattle Skull Punch is also worth trying, a lovely Caribbean rum punch flavoured with spices and fruit juices.

Experience and taste the flavour of the Caribbean at Rum Kitchen, a great venue for eating, drinking and having a good time.

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