Where to Eat Caribbean Food in London
With such a large and diverse Caribbean community, it's no wonder London is a great place to eat Caribbean food. Jamaican jerk is perhaps the most popular and well-known food from the islands, but you can pick-up up just about anything you want, from Indian-influenced Trinidadian (Trini) street food, to full-on Caribbean fusion that mixes the wealth of the region's food heritage, taking on British influences along the way. Take a look at this list of the best Caribbean restaurants in London.
Housed in railway arches, like so many other great independent London businesses, Buster Mantis is named after Jamaica’s first Prime Minister, Sir Alexander Bustamante. The owners split their time between the local area (Deptford) and said island, and the food menu mixes Jamaican classics like jerk chicken and saltfish fritters, with anything they feel like cooking, including Sunday roasts with a Caribbean bent.
Fish, Wings & Tings
One of the finest restaurants in the hugely popular foodie destination of Brixton Village - as well as one of the best Caribbean restaurants in London - Fish, Wings & Tings was founded by Trinidadian chef Brian Danclair and his wife in 2012. They describe the food as 'Nouvelle Caribbean', with much of the ingredients sourced from the market on their doorstep. Expect delicious and colourful curries, roti, jerk and stews, washed down with plenty of rum, in an always lively – or should we say rum-bunctious – atmosphere.
It’s all about the fresh dhal puri roti wraps – Trini flatbread made with ground split peas – at Mama’s Jerk, which has several locations across the city. These satisfying bundles are stuffed full of delicious jerk meats and/or veggies cooked using the owner’s grandmother’s secret recipe, fried plantain, and hot pickles that will envelop you. As with Fish, Wings & Tings, Mama’s picks up on Trini cuisine’s Indian influences with the ‘Biriyardi’, a take on classic biryani, using rice and peas. [Various locations].
Negril – named after the beach resort in Western Jamaica – has been bossing Caribbean food on Brixton Hill for over a decade. Expect all the classics here, from jerk to curry goat to saltfish. It also has a pleasant terrace where on a sunny day, as you leisurely sip a rum cocktail, you could almost be transported to the long luxurious beaches of the restaurant’s namesake town – almost. All in all, much-loved Negril is an ideal introduction to Caribbean food in London.
This tiny, unassuming spot in Clapham, which is built more for takeaways, does a fine line in robustly spiced Trini food, for really not very much money at all. Indeed, £10 or so will get you a veritable feast, including hot ‘doubles’, the famous street food snack consisting of curried chickpeas inside fried flatbread, with cucumber, and various sauces like tamarind and coriander – also a great vegan snack. Their sweets are worth investigating too. Roti Joupa also has branches in Shepherd’s Bush and Finsbury Park.
You’re never too far from a Rudie’s, one of London’s best Caribbean restaurants, as they now have six ‘jerk shacks’ spread across the city’s foodie hotspots like Borough Market, Shoreditch and Brixton Village, as well as Canary Wharf and Camden. Jamaican jerk is the specialty here. They are also famous for their ‘iron strong’ rum punch, which is fortified with overproof liquor. And after drinking one, you’ll likely feel bulletproof, or at least chilli-proof – time to tackle the ‘Nuff Scotch’ extra hot sauce.
The Rum Kitchen
Those looking for Caribbean food in Soho should head to The Rum Kitchen in the oasis of perfectly serviceable food offerings that is Kingly Court. Serving up pan-Caribbean-inspired dishes, The Rum Kitchen is a loud, colourful Caribbean restaurant for the masses, with regular DJs and a strong emphasis on cocktails. Indeed, time your visit for happy hour and you may end up staying all night, as this restaurant puts on quite a party. Branches can be found in Brixton and Shoreditch too.
White Men Can't Jerk
These Caribbean food-lovers have been delighting with their imaginative take on the food of the islands through a series of pop-ups for a while now. Now firmly established in a couple of South London pubs (Prince of Peckham and the Duke of Edinburgh in Brixton), their style is pure Caribbean fusion, with one eye on the hungry pub goer: expect jerk chicken and fries, fully loaded jerk burgers and plenty more delicious, sauce-drenched snacks like cauliflower poppers to make your tastebuds tingle.