Following the success of The Rum Kitchen, the Caribbean restaurant and bar in Notting
Hill, The Rum Group has launched a second site in Kingly Court, located just off Carnaby Street. On the promise that The Rum Kitchen would ‘bring a flavour of the Caribbean good life to the capital’ we went down on a rainy London evening to check out their menu of Caribbean classics and rum cocktails.
The Rum Kitchen interior offers a contemporary West Indian inspired space. The low lit room was full of ramshackle signs and brightly coloured tiles; steel drum bases made up the restaurant ceiling and a wooden topped bar, plentifully stocked up with rum bottles, sat at the back of the room; minimalist this wasn’t.
With Shaggy’s Mr Boombastic playing gently in the background, we started to feel the stresses of city life fade away. I was one ‘boom’ away from kicking off my boots, shoving on a shell necklace and quitting my office job when the (extremely friendly) waitress showed us to our table.
We kicked off proceedings with two of The Rum Kitchen’s extensive choice of cocktails; The Painkiller; a classic rum cocktail featuring pineapple juice and coconut cream and a Rum Rum Sling; modelled on the original Singapore Sling, featuring El Dorado 3, Cherry Heering, & pineapple with pimento. Both were smooth and sweet with a tangy, fruity edge; well balanced and lovingly presented.
Next, the starters. The Rum Kitchen offers a range of small plates, great for sharing. We split two, going for the Roti & Choka; freshly made flatbreads with burnt tomato and smoky aubergine dips and Saltfish Fritters; crispy fish cakes served with grilled lime & chilli jam. The Fritters had to be the highlight of the meal; fleshy, flaky white fish with a delicate salty flavour, covered in a crispy coating and fried.
The mains at The Rum Kitchen are a selection of hearty fish and meat dishes, all with Caribbean influences, and many putting a twist on Caribbean classics, such as the Jerk Chicken Supreme and Mama’s Seafood Gumbo. Jerk features heavily, with a whole section of the menu, the ‘Jerk Pit’, dedicated to the spicy marinade. The Jerk Fried Chicken Thighs, served up with shoe string onion rings, were juicy and moist with a crunchy jerk seasoning coating. The thighs weren’t quite as hot and spicy as we were hoping for, but this was soon remedied by the rum jerk bbq ketchup, with the pineapple slaw offering a creamy and cooling contrast.
We finished off by sharing a Chocolate Rum Cake and Caramelized Banana Pud with Butterscotch sauce. The desserts were comforting and rich but would have been more suited to an afternoon coffee break; something lighter would have gone down better.
Open daily from 11am, The Rum Kitchen Carnaby offers a great setting to escape the swarms of stone-faced Londoners and enjoy a bit of Caribbean R&R. The food felt authentic and homely, the cocktails were interesting and well made, and the soundtrack prompted me to revisit the deepest darkest corners of my ipod when I got home (Shaggy somehow made his way on there circa 2002 via a NOW 56 best of). We left The Rum Kitchen to go back into the London rain, but feeling a little fuller, and looking a lot happier, than the commuters rushing around us.