We Eat

The Rum Kitchen

posted by on 22/09/2013

It’s about damn time we shared another food feature, the last one was released all the way back in April when I headed down to Dante’s Fried Chicken pop-up in Shoreditch. Not quite sure why we haven’t done any more since then especially since I spend most of my monthly earnings eating out with my other half. It’s sad but true, however good food is always worth the money. When the good folks behind the Carribean inspired beach shack The Rum Kitchen spotted that piece on Dante – they asked us to come down and have a taste of what they had to offer. We were never going to refuse such an offer, yo. Come on now.

We love food here at Y&Y and we’re stupidly passionate about SEASONED food. We’re not here for the bland insert-Ethnic cuisine inspired restaurants which fuse the delicacies of exotic countries with the blandness of British food. Just look at Brick Lane and it’s awful curry houses. It’s not right, that’s not authentic at all – it’s offensive. So it’s fair to say I walked into the All Saints Road-based restaurant with a critical eye and a touch of good ol’ British cynicism.

We arrived on a warm Saturday early afternoon after a gym session so the munchies were kicking in, patience was low. Mine anyway. You’re immediately drawn to the colourful interior through the gigantic glass windows, was quite baffled when trying to find the actual entrance to the place as the side area was open. When you do locate it, it almost feels like an entrance to a house with an old school wooden door that’ll be your entry into a whole new world. Go forth.

Shout out to the guy on the top right. He came to eat lunch on his own, a feat that I’m yet to do in a restaurant. Food must pretty damn good for that to happen, right?

The four owners (Alex Potter, Jonny Boud, Fraser Shipsides and Stevie Thomas) felt there was a Carribean-shaped hole in the city’s restaurant landscape. Most people only get to experience Carribean food at Carnival and when you do find a restaurant it’s almost like the Indian curry houses on Brick Lane. Run down and the food tastes like it was warmed on a microwave. I may or may not be talking about a spot in Soho. The Rum Kitchen came from their passion for the cuisine and eagerness to show it’s healthy, robust in flavour and can be beautifully presented.

‘It was concept we developed because we felt there was so much we could use in creating a unique restaurant space with regards to music, rum and its culture. We developed the restaurant’s mantra – ‘no rain, no rainbow’ to help identify that.’ Word. I definitely felt that when we were there at 1pm as it was already loud, bustling with good vibes and smelling awesome.

If I’m completely honest, I don’t really know much about West London. It’s not an area that I spent much time in aside from the weekly YoYo’s trips a few years back. All Saints Road seems fairly gentrified with fancy florists and a Jade Jagger boutique, hardly the picture that was painted of Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park by the media a few years back. The Rum Kitchen showcases the area’s vibrant spirit, taking design notes from it’s Caribbean routes with it’s colourful timber panelling, oil-drum tops, antique posters and quirky hand-written typographic phrases. Add the poppy reggae songs that even I recognise to the mix and you can visualise the colourful and lively atmosphere.

The folks pictured below took up half the space in the restaurant, a massive family gathering – gradient from black to white. Beautiful. #iwasntstalking

THE FOOD

Welcome to Rum Brunch, the perfect remedy to whatever the weeks thrown at you. It’s important to kick back, so tuck into our complimentary Bloody Mary bar. No Rain No Rainbow. Boom, perfect start to the weekend? You get to make your own Bloody Mary with the guidance of the bar man, fun times. More on that further down. You can peep their brunch menu here.

As we came here in the afternoon, we opted for the newly launched brunch menu which is served from 12pm to 4pm. You get a variety of British-fusion Caribbean food like pastries, cured meats and a Jamaican-fied Full-English breakfast but that’s dry. You’re here for an experience of West Indian cuisine so go all the way in with saltfish and ackee, Jerk or the pumpkin curries.

What she had: Jerk Fried Chicken Burger & Coleslaw.

Tin: The jerk fried chicken smothered in the richest sauce can only be described as a slice of heaven sandwiched in between a glisteningly, fluffy brioche bun. At first bite, I found the chicken a bit dry, but the sauce brought everything together perfectly. It was on the spicy side but man was it RIDICULOUSLY GOOD! Brioche burgers are the future. If you’re a chicken-lover, this needs to be added onto your food bucket-list. Chances are you’ll enjoy it. Gwan. Tell them we sent you.

Yin: I thought I’d chip in a little bit here since I couldn’t resist having a few bites of the jerk chicken. Lord have mercy, it was THAT good. I don’t know if it is authentic or not but it damn sure gave me orgasms in my mouth. I’d have gone for this too if it wasn’t for my low carb diet which I’ve been on since I started the 12 week challenge, aside from a few cheat meals here and there, I’ve been good and definitely prefer it this way. Even if you’re a protein head, do head down to The Rum Kitchen just to have your once a week/month/year/lifetime cheat meal with this burger. Succulent, juicy, exotic and <insert more KFC advert terminology here>.

What I had first: Poached eggs with avocado and scotch bonnet chilli on sour dough toast.

Yin: As per usual, post-gym results extra heavy meals especially when you leave your protein shake at home. So I ended up getting two dishes – first one was more of a fusion between Englissh egg’s florentine minus the hollandaise sauce for something a bit more West Indian with scotch bonnet chilli. The spicing was just about right to give it the extra je ne sais quoi. Guess you could call this my starter.

What I had next: Pumpkin curry with toasted coconut and roti.

Yin: I went IN. Prayers were definitely heard and received prior to the meal. I’m not the biggest fan of pumpkins, creepy little fruits but that might be down to its affiliation with Halloween so wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into by ordering. To my pleasant surprise, it was delicious – almost like an Islands twist on the my favourite Thai green curry. Rotis don’t disappoint, especially when you’re consuming that many carbs – delicious. Extra sprints in my next workout to counter-attack this indulgent meal.

MAKE YOUR OWN BLOODY MARY

Tin: This was a first for me. The Bloody Mary that is. The last time I drank tomato juice was probably on a long-haul flight back from the far-East, which was a good few years ago. I don’t hate the stuff, but the idea of alcohol mixed in with tomato juice just didn’t seem appealing in the slightest. Still, it was complimentary and I’m always up for trying new (free) things.

Upon approaching the bar, there were excited people pouring, seasoning and stirring all sorts of condiments into their Bloody Mary’s. I went for lime juice, bacon salt, a dash of chilli sauce and some ice. Opted to stir with a straw instead of a celery stalk. Taste-wise, as anticipated, this definitely wasn’t my cup of tea. I managed about 5 sips before deciding that it could potentially ruin my appetite before the food had even arrived. The cocktail-creation is a lovely sentiment however.

Yin: Just like my other half, I’m not a fan of tomato juice either but I’m always down for some rum. I was willing to give it ago, quite like how they’ve managed to get their customers engage in an activity to keep us preoccupied as we wait for the food.

I’m not even sure what I threw into my mix, a bit of bitters, hot sauce, more hot sauce, some bacon salt and voila. Let’s just say it didn’t exactly turn out the way I wanted and definitely don’t like tomato juice. Give me something sweet any day.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The service needs to be touched upon, I’m not sure how it is usually but I’ve read in other reviews about the two waitresses being swamped. Same scenario when we went down, long initial wait to order then towards the end when we were waiting for the bill. The waitresses were brilliant otherwise, great knowledge of the dishes, politeness and positivity.

I’ve been to a fair few Caribbean restaurants around the city – most remind me of the Brick Lane curry houses, no design or atmosphere – rather generic and bland. There’s a few that are super high end and charge £30+ for a meal with plantain, pfft. The Rum Kitchen gets it right with atmosphere and decor, the rum selection is a treat if you’re on a fun night out and the food is quality. I hope they add a few more authentic dishes to the mix in the near future, it’ll be easier to win over the natives. Get their approval and you know it’s legit.

location The Rum Kitchen, 6-8 All Saints Road London W11 1HH

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  • REVIEWED BY: TIN & YIN
  • PHOTOGRAPHY BY: YIN
  • SPECIAL THANKS TO: BACCHUS PR
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