Popular Caribbean restaurant Rum Kitchen has opened its third venue in Brixton with the same winning formula as before: lots of rum, chicken and chilled reggae tunes.
Brixton is cool now; it’s got markets, quaint tapas bars and places for standing on the pavement looking cultured as you sip Campari, but is still not so gentrified that there's a cereal cafe, yet. Located five minutes from Brixton market, is Rum Kitchen’s third and largest restaurant with outside seating, a hefty wooden bar and space for dancing. The interiors are beachy and pared-back; raw wooden slats line the walls and unusual bottles of amber rum are hidden behind metal grills.
Food & Drink
It’s all about the chicken; chicken in jerk bbq gravy, crispy buttermilk-fried chicken, chicken wings in fiery hot sticky sauce - seriously, get the chicken. The Caribbean-inspired menu has mains such as slow-cooked curries and pulled pork burgers, but even better, get a load of sharing plates between several people, or all for yourself, whatever I won’t judge.
The jerk bowls (£8.50-12.50) came with boneless chicken thighs slathered in sticky-sweet jerk gravy and a side of creamy homemade coleslaw and rice, while the chicken wings were mouth-tingly spicy. The meat and fish dishes were also delicious; the 18-hour slow-cooked pork belly ribs with crispy coconut flakes (£8.50) were so moreish we almost ended up squabbling for the last one and the roasted corn (£4.50) - essentially sweetcorn and bacon - has inspired me to add bacon to all my vegetables.
Yeah, yeah, they have wine and beer but the clue’s in the name when it comes to what you should be drinking at Rum Kitchen. There’s pages and pages of rum-based cocktails, with names such as LL Kool J (£9) and Rude Boy (£9). Seriously juicy Trader Vic’s Mai Tai (£10) was served in a huge skull glass and a burning passion fruit popped on top. We also had a punch bowl (£30) - a concoction of Earl Grey and peppermint tea syrup, tamarind sauce and sweet sherry - that was more lying on a beach than drinking on Brixton's streets.
Rum Kitchen in Brixton is fab and gets the balance between bar and restaurant just right but don’t mistake it for a beach shack run by a Caribbean mama serving recipes handed down through the generations. This is the Caribbean seen through the eyes of the yachtie set, more St Barth’s than backwater-Barbuda, take it with a pinch of salt and do what is de rigeur in the Caribbean: go with the flow.
The original Rum Kitchen in Notting Hill was designed to capture the spirit of the carnival, and they’ve pulled off the same electricity and sense of relaxed fun here. A bucket-hat-bedecked DJ spun The Notorious B.I.G and other 90s classics while groups of uber stylish 20-somethings drifted between the dancefloor and sipping cocktails outside.
There’s a sense of cheer about Rum Kitchen in Brixton that makes it more than a restaurant for a sit-down meal, the kind of place to go for dinner and end up rolling out three hours and five cocktails later, plus there’s chicken and shed-loads of rum, what’s not to love?