Fried prawn and okra balls were served with a pretty orange smear and presented on an awkwardly shaped plate. The sliminess of the okra shone through - I am a huge fan of slime - and it was served with a delicious sweet and sour sauce, once you can dig it out of its jar.
Elsewhere on the table, huge prawns made us all gasp and were meatily delicious, coated in a rum glaze and having a hint of the scotch bonnet fruitiness. Jerk chicken lollipops were decently spiced (top photo) and the jerk ketchup it was served with had some serious kick. We scooped the remnants of the sauce jar with our fingers.
Onto mains, and I shunned menu items like Red Stripe battered fish with sweet potato chips for a more traditional stewed oxtail. This was served with a potato galette and dumpling. Without much sauce with the deboned oxtail meat, this was a little dry but the potato, meat and earthiness of the beetroot smear worked well together and I finished it without much effort.
Goat curry was served in a 'rose tuile', essentially a basket made of thin pastry that was all about presentation rather than flavour. My friend awkwardly smashed it apart, revealing well spiced but otherwise unremarkable curry. The blue neon light really did a number with that photo; the rest were rescuable with the genius of Lightroom, but there was no saving that one.
We declined desserts opting instead for the pub. I found the experience (bar the company) oddly joyless, something I don't associate with Caribbean food. Usually a splash of colour and flavour, the lighting within the restaurant didn't do much to help it. At around £10 - £15 per main course, the food isn't likely to bankrupt you but I've taken more delight from eating jerk pork out of a silver takeaway box on a plastic-topped table in a cafe for half the price. Still, it is refreshing to see a Caribbean restaurant go beyond your usual brown stew chicken, curry goat and jerk options.
While the waiting staff were sweet and helpful, they seemed uncomfortable with their starched whites and formal uniform, and the food somehow seemed that way too. Although flavoursome and ultimately satisfying, the styling was overdone and fussy. We were invited to the restaurant on only its' second day of opening, so hopefully the presentation of the dishes will relax as it beds in. But seriously. Lose the neon.
7A Station Rise
London SE27 9BW
We were guests of the restaurant.