Jerkmaica review: A Caribbean street feast in funky laid back surroundings

PUBLISHED: 11:28 12 October 2017

Jerkmaika roti. Picture: Michael Wheeler/Profoto Design

Jerkmaika roti. Picture: Michael Wheeler/Profoto Design

profotodesign.com

Emma Youle visits Jerkmaica for generous and succulent chicken and tender goat curry

The Crouch End restaurant has an upmarket Caribbean beach bar vibeThe Crouch End restaurant has an upmarket Caribbean beach bar vibe

Set your taste buds ablaze with the spicy heat of Caribbean cooking served up in hipster surroundings at Jerkmaica.

This fun and funky restaurant in Crouch End is founded on a simple idea: Caribbean street food as a hearty alternative to weekend takeaways or a sandwich lunch.

The atmosphere is a welcoming mix of trendy Ibiza hang-out meets Jamaican beach bar.The small round café tables and low seated bar with booth chairs create a chilled vibe, and it’s easy to imagine wondering in after a long day on a golden Barbados beach.

There’s also a roti bar with a chef working at an open counter accompanied by an eclectic sound-track of funk and reggae, the volume just right not to drown out conversation.

The succulent jerk chicken is generously portioned. Picture: Michael Wheeler/Profoto DesignThe succulent jerk chicken is generously portioned. Picture: Michael Wheeler/Profoto Design

At the centre of menu is a small but well thought-out list of famous staples - rotis, jerk chicken and pork, goat curry, plantain, rice and peas - and it’s priced so you can order a couple of main dishes and sides. We opted for four mains and two sides, which was too much for two people, but the friendly waiters generously boxed-up leftovers for us to take home.

The Jerkmaican jerk chicken and smoke pit barbecue chicken were both succulent and generously portioned. The spicing was just right for me although my husband, who loves his jerk hot, hot, hot, found it toned down from the real zing of jerk as you’d find it in the Caribbean. For just this scenario, there is a triple XXX version also on the menu.

The goat curry was fall apart in the mouth tender, lightly spiced, peppery and creamy. A warm comforting bowl of yumminess. The jerk pork was the least successful of the dishes we tried, a little dry and lacking pow. The sides were also very tasty. The rice and peas laced with subtle parsley and the fennel in the side salad sets off the jerk spices deliciously. The fried plantain was as good as chips.

Jerkmaica serves two cocktails for £10 before 8pm, great value for Crouch End, and the rum punch was a cool refreshing accompaniment to the jerk sauce, while the red cabernet sauvignon was robust enough to handle the spice.

This branch in Park Road, Crouch End, is one of three that have popped up in north London - the others in Chapel Street, Islington and Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park - and it’s easy to see the appeal. Well priced, a laid back atmosphere and undeniably tasty food. What’s not to like?

www.jerkmaica.com

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