Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who thinks these gender neutrals should take a good hard look down their pants
CARIBBEAN food? Just fruit isn’t it?
After all, they’ve hardly got cows out that way. They couldn’t take the heat. So it’s the ingredients of Lilt, weird vegetables with risible names and chillies that’ll have your ringpiece glowing like a three-bar fire.
That’s not to say I’m prejudiced. I’ve got an Ainsley Harriott cookbook at home, though admittedly I’ve never used it, and I’ve had those Levi Roots sauces a couple of times and they were alright. Not as good as Honey & Mustard Chicken Tonight, but what is?
So it’s with some grounding in the cuisine that I venture to the new Caribbean place. Though I am concerned about marijuana. I know Rastafarians smoke it as part of their religion, but surely they wouldn’t put it in food? I value my sanity, thank you.
Decor-wise, it’s all very bright and cheerful, which I suppose you’d expect when you’re high as a kite. I do find these huge West Indian blokes with dreadlocks a bit intimidating, though I’m not quite sure why. Probably a cricket thing. The shadow of Viv Richards looming large.
There’s a couple of things on the menu that are definite no-nos. Jerk chicken, goat curry and yams. I’ve seen them and they look like fossilised mammoth turds.
I go for the beef pepperpot, a meat and vegetable stew cooked in a pot called a Dutchie. I know that from the Musical Youth song, which I bought on seven-inch. Told you I wasn’t prejudiced.
It comes with rice and peas, except they’re not peas but small brown kidney beans. I don’t say anything. I’ve heard Dreadlock Holiday, I know what they’re capable of.
It’s all surprisingly pleasant and I pop out for a postprandial fag only to realise I’ve run out. The chef offers me a roll-up and why not, they’re such a friendly bunch. It’s marvellous not everyone who had the benefit of the British Empire is childishly resentful about it.
Anyway, suddenly I’m starving, and order the guava duff – guava fruit in steamed dough with rum butter sauce. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious. And I’m really digging the reggae. After a while I’m even up and dancing and the lights are leaving trails.
I decide to walk home as it’s such a beautiful, starry night. I can’t quite explain why, but I feel on top of the world. And so hungry I pick up a massive bag of Monster Munch.
Overall impression? A wonderful experience, and one I’m sure to repeat. I was so silly to worry about drugs. Also this is the funniest episode of The Simpsons I’ve ever seen.