Saturday 30 October 2010

Barbados: Cottons Rhum Shack and Restaurant

Wooooo, we're going to Barbados! Finally found a Caribbean restaurant that had some (albeit tenuous) link to a specific island. In that it had a named Bajan dish on the menu.....and a Barbados room (although we were actually seated in St Lucia, they only open Barbados when it's full). But hey, no cooking coconut pudding for me this week!

Suzanne, James and I took a trip to Chalk Farm to Cottons Rhum Shack and Restaurant on Thursday. It's situated right on the main road between Chalk Farm and Camden, a few yards away from the Roundhouse (where Elton John happened to be playing as part of the Electric Proms series that night).

We started with a selection of cocktails from the "rhum" shack. Cottons serves over 250 different rums in a bar area that certainly did resemble a shack on a Caribbean beach . If it hadn't been for the constant rumble of London traffic and plunging temperatures outside, instead of gently lapping waves, white sand and hot hot heat, we could have been in Barbados.

The restaurant is actually quite a jumble, in that there are 3 separate rooms named after different islands and they are all on different levels. A tight squeeze to get in there, it was relatively busy for a Thursday, but not packed, so we didn't get to sit in Barbados. It was quite a relaxed atmosphere, but I wouldn't say there was a huge buzz about the place. The mood was marred for me by the constant R&B droning on in the background. Urgh. Still, we're here for the food for the most part.

The starters were, it has to be said, outstanding. We shared a West Indian Meze and Cripsy shredded pork between the three of us. The meze had some tasty morsels - Bajan fish fritters which were lovely and crunchy, a sweet yet highly spiced chickpea and pumpkin curry, with roti, jerk chicken, creole prawns and tabbouleh. The pork, also delicious, had a hot sweet glaze.  Starters, a hit.

Moving on to the mains, James opted for a mixed jerk meat grill, Suzanne had Cottons beef pepper pot and I chose a whole sea bass, served with saute potatoes and a paprika cream. All the dishes were good sized portions, tasty and very filling. Suzanne particularly liked the pepper pot, the sauce was extremely rich.

Now, how much of this meal was actually traditional to Barbados is debateable (perhaps even just the fish fritter starter), but I needed a change from cooking Caribbean, so am mighty glad we found this place. Overall, I'd really rate the food, filling and yummy. This may well be somewhere we come back to before gigs at the Roundhouse.

Food ****
Atmosphere **
Value for money **

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