Every Sunday since the tender age of 11, I have endured the regimental art of Caribbean cooking at the hands of my dear mother. Over the years I have visited a number of restaurants in search of an authentic Caribbean taste. Until Sunday, when my four year-old ‘Mini Posh Yardie’ and I ventured into uncharted territory and had our taste buds captured by Westfield’s very own Rhythm Kitchen .
Rhythm is the Spice of Life certainly rings true and colloquially speaking, ‘bwoy did this restaurant jerk up our life – Chat bout?’. The tantalising mouth-watering vibrations from the plethora of food served, danced upon our taste buds like the Dance Hall Queens doing the ‘Dutty Wine’ at a Jamaican Reggae Sunfest.
Located on the First Floor Gallery in Westfield Stratford City – Rhythm Kitchen brings the taste of the Caribbean to visitors to the Capital the world over especially as the Caribbean Soul Food eatery is a mere chicken bone’s throw away from The Olympic stadium and the biggest event of the year – London’s 2012 Olympics. Londoners such as movie star and Twilight’s leading man Robert Pattinson, and US celebrity stunner and girlfriend to Formula One Champion, Lewis Hamilton – Nicole Scherzinger have also succumb to Rhythm Kitchen’s spice of life.
The contemporary interior decor is reflective of the nature of the Caribbean, with its vibrant hues of warm oranges, baby blues and yellow, and the food served is as lustrous. As I took my seat ready to be captivated, one of the lovely and very attentive staff members brought over a selection of the finest Caribbean cuisine this side of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Take it from a ‘born and bred’ Jamaican like myself who grew up on the best and most authentic jerk chicken and pork served up on the side-walk of Dhuaney Drive, Kingston, Jamaica courtesy of the ‘Jerk Dongargon’ – ‘Mr. Jerky’. Rhythm Kitchen’s owner and professional chef and former TV Producer, Delroy Dixon, also known as ‘The Jerk Father’ is truly reincarnating and dishing out the body of Jamaican flavours reminiscent of Mr. Jerky.
As the never-ending queue kept filling and refilling up, it was akin to my stomach being under complete submission to the penetrating and intensifying smells of flavours that engulfed my sinuses and induced a certain unfounded gluttony. Posh Yardie was not so very posh, when one observe’s how we, well let’s not be modest mostly I completely devoured the entire tray, plus the extra’s. It took me and hour. Although I had prepared myself somewhat as one does, by not eating too much before a restaurant visit, I fill up quickly – But I was not going to let that mere inadequacy affect my level of consumption – there was no way I was leaving without finishing – no way ho-say! I did not want to go home resenting my stomach for its inability to be a bottomless pit and allow me to eat, and eat, and well – just eat real darn good soul food.
Savouring the best till last, first up, the staple accompaniments, rice ‘n’ peas and plain white rice, the juiciest most succulent jerk chicken and jerk pork with just the right level of spice and scotch bonnet peppering, coated in a divine jerk sauce. When the jerk coats your tongue, you want to savour the taste, with each mouthful seeming tastier than the last – there are no diminishing returns here – not in value and certainly not in the quality of the food. Next, the mild and delicate vegetarian Ragga Stew filled with tender red kidney beans, carrots, plantain and homemade dumplings. Plus a serving of jumbo barbecue chicken wings, lamb curry, macaroni cheese, plaintain and a fresh mango salsa, mixed with cucumber and a dash of cilantro – a lovely, cooling compliment to the main dishes. The highlight of the plethora, the braised oxtail served in a creamy deep sauce with dumplings – simply the best.
Rhythm kitchen also serves a selection of Meal Deals such as jerk chicken or ribs with a choice of two sides from: plain chips, jerk chips, rice ‘n’ peas, Basmati rice, fried plaintain, tropical pasta salad, coleslaw, potato Salad, green salad and mango salsa. Along with the Chef’s Specials of lamb roti, lamb curry, ragga stew, braised oxtail, sunshine salad and red snapper – served in an escovitch style with pickled onions, carrots, peppers and two sides for a meagre £9.50. All Meal Deals including two sides range between £7.25 and 8.50, with the Chef’s Specials ranging between a moderate £6.95 – 12.50. The restaurant also serves meal deals for the family. So if you are a typical family of four, the 3 Little Jerks family feast with 1/4 jerk chicken, regular jerk pork and half a rack of BBQ Ribs with a choice of any four or six sides or salads cost: 4 Sides £19.90 or 6 Sides £22.90. Or you can opt for, My Big Fat Jerk with a whole succulent jerk or BBQ Chicken with 4 Sides costing £19.90 or 6 Sides at £22.90. For the fussy little Princess’ and Prince’s Rhythm Kitchen serves up an appetising mini chicken fillet with chips or rice and baked beans with a fruit juice all for £4.95.
So, after being captivated by the sublime Rhythm Kitchen, the most torturous thing to do was leave, with some dishes unfinished. Although I wanted to consume it all in its entirety as the saying goes, my eyes were bigger than my belly. However, this is one captivator I think I will be bound to for life as the food is so desirable not just to me, but to all pallets.
Rest assured, Rhythm Kitchen is the new and better looking and tastier cousin of that slightly pretentious peri peri flame-grilled chicken place. Yes, you know the one – Now get to know the best one, with five-star quality food at an astonishing three star pricing. I promise, you will be clucking chuffed you did!
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