With a dose of the Caribbean having washed up on Glasgow's shores, we couldn't miss the chance to scope out this sizzler of a city diner. So, how did we get on?
Having visited on a cloudy and chilly September evening, this venue was the perfect distraction. Before even reaching the entrance of this Caribbean ‘beach hut’, there was no uncertainty about the theme. Greeting us at the door was the sound of reggae music, and the sight of barrels and cushions scattered to make a seating area which entices passers-by to throw their feet up and sip on a cocktail. Jamaican flags hang from the bar and the walls, alongside graffiti-esque images of Bob Marley, palm trees, various rum logos and maps of Central America. Old rum bottles act as light fixtures, boats act as seating booths, and everything from the window shutters to the mismatched dining chairs convinced us that we had in fact stepped into laid-back island life. Just what we needed.
Food and Drink
Unsurprisingly, the spirit of choice in a majority of the cocktails was, you guessed it: rum. I opted for a Bahama Mama – “A Caribbean classic to steal you away from the Scottish weather, this summery blend of bananas, coconut rum and tropical juices leaves a sweet fruitful finish. Served tall with bright colours”; and it was tall, delicious, and topped off with a chunk of tasty pineapple, this came at a very reasonable £7.95 for its size. If cocktails aren’t your thing however don’t sweat it – that’s if you can help it under the hot Jamaican sun! (Ok so I got a little too into the theme…). There’s also a wine list and a wide selection of beers compared to most restaurants.
Whilst the interior design in Sugar Dumplin worked hard to convince us we were in a shabby beach shack, the food was the giveaway. Far from shabby or thrown together, the dinner menu had our mouths watering from the get go. The perfect blend of Western and Caribbean, every dish came served with traditional Caribbean sides such as rice and peas and fried plantain or sweet potato fries and sauces which varied in heat from “Nyam Nyam” (eat and eat) to “Lawd a massi” (Lord have mercy!).
The dinner menu was scattered with dishes which included the traditional Jamaican jerk spice, a hot sauce type marinade typically eaten with chicken. I started with Jerk seasoned calamari with Nyam nyam to dip, which was served on a bed of salad with some chopped chillies for spice, and was simply delicious, with a generous helping too for £5.75. This was followed by the mouth-watering BBQ Jerk Chicken Breast “marinated for 12 hours and cooked on the chargrill” at again, a very reasonable £11.95. Perfectly tender, the chicken slid off the bone and I finished every bit, including my side of sweet potato and roasted garlic mash, although I was left too full for a rum flavoured dessert.
Ambience and Clientele
The beauty of Sugar Dumplin is that it’s fun and quirky surroundings are for everyone. We visited on a Wednesday evening so it was mainly couples dining, both young and old. However this venue would be perfect for pre night out dinner and drinks with a group of friends or well needed nourishment after a long days shopping. Whether you want to embrace the summer sunshine with cocktails or (more likely) escape Scotland’s, umm, changeable weather, Sugar Dumplin is sure to put you in a good mood.
Sugar Dumplin was one of a kind, and unlike anything else I think that you’ll find in Glasgow’s trendy city centre. Located in the luxurious Prince’s Mall, this themed treasure was a five star experience without the five star price tag. Leave your troubles at the door because in this shabby beach hut, it’s impossible not to unwind.