Where to find good, fast, Caribbean food – jerk chicken, rice 'n' peas, roti, ackee and saltfish, patties and drinks
Editors note, 07/09/10: This list of recommended, tried and tested Caribbean takeaways you see here first appeared as a sidebar in our Notting Hill carnival issue in August 2010. The intention was to highlight the best ones within striking distance of the Carnival.
We are well aware that Caribbean takeaways are found in all parts of London, so if you have any specific recommendations, we'd love to hear about them - and will visit them in time for the next time we publish a feature on Caribbean takeaways.
This smart Caribbean restaurant also does takeaway. Call ahead with your order or sip rum at the bar while you wait – the friendly barman blends some potent cocktails. Pepper-pot beef stew and fresh dumplings were the highlights from the restaurant menu for us, though it did take 40 minutes for the restaurant-quality food to arrive, and the bill came to more than £20 per head.
This hotspot in Soho for Caribbean takeaways always has a queue out of the door at lunchtimes. Among the dishes we can recommend are the curry roti dishes (such as mutton or prawn), and the saltfish and ackee. Despite the name, the jerk chicken is disappointing when compared to the other dishes. Around £10 per head.
226 Uxbridge Rd, W12 7JD (8742 9620)
Dyed-in-the-wool west-London haters have been known to travel across town for a taste of Ochi’s meltingly tender and succulent jerk chicken. Dumplings stuffed with ackee and saltfish will keep us coming back for more, and the rice ’n’ peas (with proper pigeon peas) with a hint of coconut was excellent. No wonder there’s nearly always a queue out the door. Around £6 per head.
Bottles of Ting (grapefruit soda) and soursop juice are kept under lock and key at this late-night Harlesden dive bar. It feels more like a bar than a food destination, but the authentic cooking lived up to its great reputation. Our favourite was the oxtail stew, with just the right chilli heat. Stewed peas had more pig tail than kidney beans, and the jerk chicken packed a hot punch. Around £7 per head.
This takeaway’s not a looker, but the highly skilled chefs here have raised the bar for roti in London. This Trinidadian staple of a wholewheat flatbread wrapped around fillings originates in India but Trinnies have made it their own. The open kitchen means you can watch as they wrap to order. Try the ground lentil ‘dhalpoorie’ roti or the ‘bus-up-shot’. Around £5 per head.
37 Chamberlayne Rd, NW10 3NB (8960 9044)
The friendly staff wear their hair nets with verve at this sit-down restaurant and takeaway in Kensal Rise. Brown stew chicken had us nibbling every morsel from the bone, and the plantains were crisped and sweet, though the ‘hard food’ – boiled plantain, cassava and dense dough dumpling – is more of an acquired taste. Around £7 per head.
312 Ladbroke Grove, W10 5NQ (8968 1477)
At the north end of Carnival route this little take-out and caterer really is yum. The lovely ladies here know how to bake, and are known for their patties. The one we tried had flaky, delicate pastry and a tasty curried vegetable filling. Go early if you want to try the jerk chicken patties because they sell out. We consoled ourselves with sweet and soft festivals (fried dumplings), banana fritters and own-made drinks of sorrel and peanut crush (our top recommendation – assuming they’re not sold out). Around £7 per head.