Caribbean, or Afro-Caribbean, cuisine is a blend of African, Amerindian, European, Latin American, East Indian, Arab and Chinese influences, that were brought into the Caribbean, and in turn helped develop what is now a distinct cuisine in its own right. In London, there is an increasing love of Caribbean culture and cuisine, and thus, an influx of Caribbean restaurants popping up all over London, with most primarily focused on Jamaican influences and its heavy emphasis on jerks and marinades. On the menu at most Caribbean restaurants in London you’ll find traditional dishes like curried goat, fried dumplings, the famous saltfish and ackee – the equivalent of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs – and of course, the ever-popular jerk dishes that have put Caribbean restaurants in London on the foodie map.
It all began when the earliest Caribbean immigrants to post-war Britain were struggling with adjusting to the dietary, culinary and cultural differences in their new homes. With a desire to eat the food they love, the first Caribbean restaurants opened their doors in London, and today you’ll find more and more opening all over the vast city and throughout the UK. London is now awash with delicious and funky Caribbean restaurants catering to both the demand from the African-Caribbean community, as well as demand from people of varying cultural backgrounds that all have a combined love of this truly delicious cuisine.
One thing you’ll soon discover is that Londoners take their jerk very seriously indeed. A style of cooking hailing from Jamaica, jerk refers to the spice mix traditionally dry rubbed or wet marinated on either pork or chicken with the jerk spice that’s made primarily with allspice and scotch bonnet peppers along with cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, scallions, garlic, brown sugar and salt. The jerk process is not as simple as you may think, and the marinating and cooking process is an artform within itself, and Caribbean restaurants throughout London have been perfecting this process to satisfy the ever-increasing jerk-lovers keen to indulge in this signature dish, generally served with rice and peas.
Essentially, the staple menu at any Caribbean restaurant in London will include jerk, goat and lots of rum. Just the way it should be. Caribbean cuisine is simple, but that should not be confused with bland and the best Caribbean restaurants you’ll find in London will ditch the flare and show and let those spicy and wild flavours do the talking. Think, for example, dishes like a jerk chicken burger with fried plantain, mango, rocket and pawpaw sauce, goat curry with roti bread, spicy patties brimming with goat, lamb and chicken and those spices we love as well as of course, rice and peas, which we’ve been told must come brown. All of this and more is best suited washed down with a rum-based punch cocktail, just to satiate your tastebuds after all that spice, and that suits us just fine.
While it’s true that Caribbean culture has a strong focus on festival and carnival celebrations – just look at Notting Hill carnival which has become the largest street festival in Europe – the Caribbean restaurant scene in London is booming. So no longer do you need to wait for a few times a year to get your Caribbean food fix as now you can find a Caribbean restaurant anywhere in London. Quandoo has the perfect platform for discovering new Caribbean restaurants in London, so you can find a spot nearby, book your table and get your palate ready for some seriously tasty fare!