I don’t know about you but I always get the January Blues, with the cold, dull weather and back-to-work feeling of doom! So a Caribbean inspired beach shack restaurant and cocktail bar was enough to transport me out of London for the afternoon and to the vibrant West Indies – which was just what was needed.
The Soho branch of The Rum Kitchen is located just off Carnaby Street, upstairs in the foodie Kingly Court, which has greatly improved over the recent years and now houses a lot of other great restaurants too. It is a smallish restaurant, with a fun, inviting interior. The walls are clad in rough, painted timber boards, with antique road /beach signs, contrasting patterned tiles to the bar, wooden bench seating, corrugated tin and oil drums suspended from the ceiling illuminated by coloured light bulbs. It is a busy, vibrant, young and fun interior with a relaxed vibe - the reggae, soul and funk music helps considerably!
We went quite late on a Saturday afternoon (around 3pm) and there was a great mix of groups enjoying cocktails and afternoon drinks, those sharing a selection of the small dishes with their drinks as well as those eating proper meals – it felt like a bar selling good food as opposed to primarily a restaurant. This, plus the informal and chatty nature of the staff made it all feel very laid back. For two hours I was on holiday and thankfully the grey, cold London outside vanished.
To state the obvious, if you like rum you are in for a treat when it comes to the cocktail and punch list. The restaurant proudly boasts over 100 varieties of rum and the knowledgeable bar staff (they know their rum!) are happy to recommend drinks based on your preference and create drinks not on the menu. Opting to order off the menu, I can highly recommend the Rattle Skull Punch which was made using the house rum and was delicious but far too moreish, especially as my other half was on the soft drinks! Whilst drinking it I could almost hear the waves gently lapping against the beach outside!
For the food, we decided to share a selection of the small plates. To be honest I could have ordered the whole menu as it sounded and smelled amazing. The food is simple but delicious – with dishes and ingredients including; Jerk chicken, scotch bonnet chillies, plantain and sweet potato.
We ordered the saltfish fritters with grilled lime and chilli jam, sweet potato fries, sticky bbq ribs and island spiced baby squid with scotch bonnet mayo. I have to say I loved it all – there wasn’t anything not to. The saltfish fritters were my favourite if I was forced to choose – they were fluffy, rich and tasty and the sweet chilli jam was amazing in its’ own right but perfect with the fritters. The sticky bbq ribs were tastier than a lot of ribs I have had; they were tangy, sweet and bursting with flavour. The squid was cooked perfectly (crispy and un-rubbery!). The scotch bonnet mayo was right up my chilli-loving street! I have to say we ordered the sweet potato fries to make sure we didn’t go hungry but in fact, they turned out to be a very near favourite. They were again, cooked and seasoned to perfection; salty, crispy and sweet all at the same time. The food is simply excellent – simple but so tasty.
It is the perfect place to go to brighten up a dull winter’s day. Grab a rum punch, share some small plates and while away the afternoon with friends listening to soul and funk and enjoying the lively, young crowd. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the beach that afternoon and will be back – as soon as I need another pick-me-up!
Foodie first, fashionista second...love Laura x