The Caribbean is a melting pot of many cultures and peoples so it’s no surprise that the cuisine of the region reflects this fusion. Here in Britain we tend to experience the cuisine of the Anglophone Caribbean with dishes from Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana becoming more and more popular. I’m very partial to some nice jerk chicken with rice and peas, while one of our other writers is always tempted by curry goat. Oh yes and take care with the scotch bonnet pepper if you’re cooking at home – must be treated with respect!
As this cuisine has moved into the mainstream and is appreciated by people of all backgrounds nowadays, so the number of outlets – cafes, takeaways, street food stalls and restaurants – has increased. We were invited to the launch party of Cottons, a new restaurant located at St Georges Wharf in Vauxhall. Cottons is individually owned and was established north of the river some years ago; the Vauxhall opening is the fourth branch adding to the existing ones in Notting Hill, Camden and Shoreditch (I make that all four points of the compass covered now!)
We were treated to a variety of tasty Caribbean snacks including jerk chicken and beef patties along with rum punch, while entertained by some steel pan musicians and a reggae band. The restaurant is upmarket and has a unique selling point of a wonderful river terrace with views towards Battersea Power Station in one direction and the London Eye in the other. It’s a fabulous location and I’m sure many people will come to try out the restaurant for this reason alone.
Looking at the menus, there’s a set menu of two courses for £25 or three for £32 including service. Starters include salt & pimiento squid and sweet potato patties while mains include curried mutton, half jerk chicken and Ital vegetable curry. There’s a breakfast menu with dishes at £6-8 and an attractive lunch menu with dishes from £5-9. The a la carte comes in with starters around £6-7, mains from £12 to £18.50 and desserts at £6. If you want things to start with a kick, there are plenty of interesting cocktails, with Wray & Nephew 63% overproof rum featuring in many. The menu is full of Caribbean favourites along with some less well-known dishes – I for one am looking forward to going back for lunch or dinner.
Given the fact that the other three branches have been running successfully for some time, along with it’s brilliant (and convenient) location, I’m sure Cottons will soon become established as a firm south London favourite.
Footnote: Many parts of the Caribbean are going through a very difficult time due to the hurricane damage. You can contribute to the Red Cross Hurricane Appeal fund by clicking the link. Thanks