Reviewed by Sana
The sparkling azure waters playfully hit the golden sands, as those coconut trees vibe to the unheard music of nature. That is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Caribbean. But, what has that got to do with food I hear you ask? And that, my friends, is what this post is all about – finding a taste of the Caribbean!
As a born Londoner returning to London for my summer holidays, I was determined to find myself a meal melting with Caribbean spices and flavours. After some intensive research (or what some may call reading food blogs online), I set my eyes – and stomach – on a quaint halal Caribbean restaurant, named Guanabana in Camden.
Accompanied by a good friend, we set off to service our souls with jerk chicken. The homely feel of the restaurant with its simple yet comfy garden tables, welcomed us nicely. My order of a quarter piece jerk chicken, kidney bean rice and fried sweet plantain was deliciously spicy with just the right kick. Everything was perfectly cooked and complemented by my house-made lychee mojito pinned ‘Lychee Berry Breezer’ – an appropriately cool name. All that was left for me to feel like I had been washed up on a Caribbean island, was the sound of the sea. Leaving the restaurant with my stomach and purse content (for the meal was reasonably priced for London), I felt as though my Caribbean cravings had just begun!
For my next adventure, following the suggestion of another good friend, I decided upon something closer to home – Turtle Bay in Ealing. Though the restaurant does not serve halal meat, I was intrigued by the wide selection on their menu. Alas, our excited selves arrived at a swanky glass building, very different to Guanabana’s classical terrace exterior. The buzz of people chatting, the modern colourful lights, and the funky décor impressed me straight away. It seemed as though this place had a vibe of its own.
As the shared Pepper Roti starter arrived and we started nibbling, my mind wandered to the main course I had just ordered – Caribbean Fish Curry. Would it be as good as Guanabana’s jerk chicken? It was a deal breaker. When the mains had arrived, the huge portion left me a little speechless. The glass pot steamed with curried vegetables and fried fish atop a bed of kidney bean rice. The colourful ensemble definitely fulfilled the quirky quota. Unfortunately, despite the tender fish and attempt at a range of flavors, I was left disappointed. It was the heaviness of the meal that made me question how tasteful it was. Though I would probably not go for a main course again, my Berry Smoothie was light and fruity – ideal for sunbathing on the beach.
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Born and brought up in London, but currently residing in Kuwait, Sana has always had a fondness for exploring different cuisines. Food, in its many arrays, helps fuel her passion for writing. The ability of food, much like language, to transcend cultures and generations is something that she finds inspiring – and definitely worth sharing.