Review: Papine Jerk

5 Feb
It’s all the same yummy colour!

Address: 8 Lavender Road, London, SW11 2UG
Phone: 0207 924 2288
website: http://papinejerk.com/
Every few weeks or so I – along with Josh and my good friends Hol and Non – head out for dinner in an effort to eat around the world (in London). We, very nerdily, refer to it as the ‘World Food Forum’ and slowly but surely we’re getting to taste the whole world. It’s ambitious but jolly tasty. Last night was the turn of Jamaica and we got a take-away from Papine Jerk; Levi Root’s place in the heart of a South London estate.

The cafe itself was ace – in the middle of a large estate, it was brimming with laid-back charm and smooth reggae vibes. The service was some of the most “relaxed” (i.e. pretty slow going) I’ve ever encountered but the guys serving us were sweet and fun. They joked about the amount of food we’d ordered (enough for 10 people apparently) and told us we’d need a lie-down the next day.. and well, they’re weren’t wrong.
We ordered: Jamaican patties, homemade coleslaw, fried plantains, saltfish fritters, festival, fried dumplings, jerk chicken, goat curry, oxtail, rice and peas, and they gave us free bread rolls! Along with the obligatory red stripe beer and some Caribbean rum we decamped to Non’s place and tucked in!

Well, the plantain was juicy and sweet, the saltfish fritters a revelation: crispy and subtle and the festival was crunchy and lightly spiced. All most all of the food was the same beige colour (which made me think it wasn’t entirely vitamin-packed, oh well..) The patties – filled with piping hot minced beef and chilli spice – were absolutely amazing and tasted super zingy on your tongue. By the time we got onto the mains I could feel my clasp straining on my jeans, but on we gallantly strode. Rice and peas were super: light and fluffy and the perfect spoil to the spiciness of the curry. The oxtail was well cooked: flaky beef that fell of the bone, but the goat was awesome. Tender and spicy – this is what we’re talking about! The jerk chicken was a bit odd: very fruity and extremely bony meat (not like another jerk I’ve eaten) it was a bit of a let-down but still alright. And everything tastes better with a cool can of the stripe anyway.

The meal (which filled four bags!) cost just over £40 – an insanely good bargain – and could have easily fed eight people. An absolute bargain. It was warm, honest, soulful food and lots of fun:
7 stars (*******)

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