With its artfully sun-faded painted wooden slats cladding the walls, and corrugated iron over the bar, Rum Kitchen’s decor is designed to invoke visions of liming on the beach. It succeeds nicely, making a welcome change from the downmarket café aesthetic that characterises so many Caribbean venues in London. Drink is also a draw, with the west London party crowd piling in to sample the 100 or so rums and cocktails.
Menu-wise, the restaurant offers traditional Caribbean food next to more unusual dishes such as jerk lamb cutlets, pan-fried sea bass with butternut sofrito, or spicy fries and chilli jam. The kitchen does the staples well: ackee and saltfish with fried plantain and dumplings was fresh and light, if a little stingy on the saltfish. But jerk chicken caesar salad was an in-betweener: lacking the bigness of Vegas on the one hand and the lip-smacking heat and rich flavours of the Caribbean on the other.
Our very friendly waitress told us that the menu was soon going to be ‘authenticised’ with some more Jamaican dishes and flavours. What the 21st-century local will make of that is anyone’s guess.