Please note, Levi Roots’s Caribbean Smokehouse has now closed. Time Out Food editors, August 2019.
You can judge a good restaurant by its chicken. Or at least, I do. And the fact that the Smokehouse’s Reggae Reggae jerk chicken had me reaching for Levi’s infamous BBQ condiment made me wonder if this is actually a ploy to shift more bottles of the stuff. But to be fair, his new venture is actually better than that.
Based at Westfield Stratford, Levi Roots’s Caribbean Smokehouse is a vibrant and ambitious restaurant that does everything from Nando’s-style meal deals to more upmarket restaurant fare. The generous menu’s dishes are a nod to that island life, with its chicken soup, curry goat and a top-notch ackee and saltfish. Yet you’ll also find quirky numbers like the roti ‘brap’ wraps or the divine calypso rum cake.
It’s real value for money too. The well-seasoned skankin’ rice with its bite-sized chunks of pumpkin, ginger and peas is a terrific side and will cost you less than four quid.
But back to that chicken. Although it looked good, it was a bit ‘meh’ in the flavour department. If they focus on upping the reggae factor sans sauce, this smokehouse could be a real contender.