With Notting Hill Carnival on the horizon, all thoughts turn to the flavours of the Caribbean, with the streets of west London fragrant with jerk spices and rum cocktails. Here, discover the brilliant Caribbean restaurants across the capital where you can enjoy soul-food all year round. From sleek Caribbean-European fusion spots in Notting Hill to Brixton Village favourites, these are the Caribbean restaurants in London you need to have on your radar.
This newly-opened west London spot serves up Caribbean-European fusion food amidst cool, sleekly designed surroundings featuring floor to ceiling wood panelling and velvet upholstery. Highlights on the menu include the Caribbean breakfast, which comes with salted cod, bell peppers and ackee served with breadfruit, plantain and avocado, and the ackee and saltfish arancini. Music plays a big role in the restaurant, with the venue partnering with agency AAA to provide a platform to showcase emerging musical talent from the area, while the artworks on the wall have been curated by India Rose James of Soho Revue gallery and feature playful pieces by Nettie Wakefield, Lily Lewis and Hannah Nijsten.
50 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W2 5SH
With locations in Camden, Shoreditch, Vauxhall and Notting Hill, Cottons has become something of an institution in London’s Caribbean dining scene since first opening in 1985. This is the place to come for delicious Caribbean comfort food served in style – think curried mutton with rice and peas, creole grilled mahi mahi and sweet potato patties. But to be honest, much of the focus here is on rum – each restaurant serves more than 300 types of the spirit, with the Notting Hill location currently holding the world record for most varieties available in a bar, with an astonishing 372 different options. Try them in one of their fun and fruity cocktails, like the Kingston Queenie or Carnival Cooler.
Various locations across London
Wood & Water
After becoming a Brixton mainstay with her first restaurant, Three Little Birds, former Miss Jamaica and The Apprentice contestant April Jackson reinvented the Coldharbour Lane favourite earlier in the year to reopen as Wood & Water. While Three Little Birds had a laidback café vibe, Wood & Water is definitely a dinner and date night spot, with its low lighting, jungle print wallpaper and green velvet chairs. Instead of serving all-out Caribbean fare, the menu is described as “British food with Jamaican soul” – standout dishes include king prawns warmed through with scotch bonnet and slow-cooked goat croquettes with plantain ketchup. Pair whatever you order with one or two of their Pimento Old Fashioneds and you’re guaranteed a good night.
412 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF
While London may pride itself on being one of the world’s most diverse cities, the Caribbean food in the capital has never been elevated in quite the same way as certain other cuisines, such as Indian or Chinese – or. at least, that was the case until Antillean opened in Southwark earlier this year. Billing itself as London’s first fine-dining pan-Caribbean restaurant, its name comes from the beautiful islands of the Antilles and the menu is a reflection of the cuisine you’ll find there. Start off with blue swimmer crab and grilled octopus with scotch bonnet emulsion before moving onto rum-marinated ribeye and Caribbean barracuda with plantain sofrito, mojo and cou-cou – a local favourite that tastes as good as anything you’ll find on those sun-soaked isles.
74 Blackfriars Road, Southwark, London SE1 8HA
Ma Petite Jamaica
Known for being London’s first Caribbean diner, Ma Petite Jamaica has been brightening up the streets of Camden for years and has just opened a brand-new spot in Shoreditch, bringing their unique brand of good time vibes to east Londoners. With its lively reggae bar and booze-filled bottomless brunches served every weekend, a meal here is always a vibrant affair. The menu is made up of Caribbean classics like oxtail stew, curried goat with rice and peas and fiery jerk chicken, and there’s Red Stripe on tap as well as plenty of rum-heavy cocktails to get you in the mood. If you can’t manage a Jamaican jaunt this year, a visit to Ma Petite Jamaica might just be the next best thing.
4-6 Inverness Street, Camden, London NW1 7HJ
Hidden down a little alleyway off Deptford High Street and spread over two railway arches sits Buster Mantis, a local south London gem. A combination of a bar, restaurant and creative space, the small, family-run business is named after the first prime minister of Jamaica, Sir Alexander Bustamante, who was instrumental in establishing the country’s independence, and the food has been designed to reflect the best of the island’s cuisine. The focus here is on local ingredients, so you can expect the menu to change depending on what’s in season – recent highlights include pig’s cheeks with crushed potatoes and duck breast with yam croquettes and runner beans.
3-4 Resolution Way, Deptford, London SE8 4NT
If you’ve spent any time in Brixton Village, chances are you’ll know about Fish, Wings & Tings, the well-loved local staple which has been serving up jerk chicken and Caribbean fish stew since 2012. Last summer, the chef and owner Brian Danclair opened up a new venture a few doors down in Granville Arcade, Danclair’s Kitchen, which has quickly become known for its Caribbean fusion fare. Diners are watched over by a mural of Danclair’s beloved grandmother Valentina, his cooking inspiration, as they tuck into dishes that nod to Danclair’s Trinidadian childhood as well as his stint as a young chef cooking Provençal-style fine dining in Washington DC. Don’t miss out on Tina’s homemade chicken empanadas (named after that infamous grandmother herself) or the cod fish fritters with ginger and lime aioli.
3 Granville Arcade, Brixton, London SW9 8PR