We wandered over to West London to eat some West Indies inspired grub at new hot spot, The Rum Kitchen in Notting Hill, from the people behind PING, Love Brunch and Bungalow 8. This new neighbourhood venture offers a Caribbean inspired beach shack style restaurant and cocktail bar.
The Rum Kitchen is a welcomed antithesis from the bare brick walls and epidemic diner styled eateries that are on every street at the moment. The interiors have most definitely had some thought (from I LOVE DUST and 44th Hill -who’s work includes Meat Liquor and Ping) the space is colourful and fun, the crowd is local, young and a little rambunctious, while the staff seemed warm, welcoming and friendly. The aim is to showcases the vibrant spirit of the West Indies – although we did find that in reality the tables are a touch too close together, with passers-by knocking your chair every 2 seconds and the music was a little too loud for any conversation over dinner. However once you have delved into the cocktail list and cellar housing over 100 varieties of rums then you might not care about any of that and just want to head to the cosy downstairs cellar, with exposed rum barrels and suitcases adorning the walls and dance off some Jerk.
I can most defiantly see what they are going for, with a London local in-house team in the form of Imogen Elliott from The Portobello Star on the cocktail bar, Head Chef – Darren Williamson who was born and raised in Ladbroke Grove – the son of a Jamaican mum and Dominican father (His most recent success was heading up the kitchen at Puma Yard in Shoreditch where he brought a taste of Jamaica to the London Olympics) along with music director in the form of DJ Fast from The Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Reggae collective ‘Reggae Roast’(ranging from Reggae to Latin and Calypso to Afro-funk). This establishment offers locals a melting pot of energy, talent and fun. There was certainly a lot of energy (and noise) in the room when were there.
The menu is short and sweet (or should I say spicy), offering a smallish selection of choices for starter and mains, with Caribbean classics such as Jerk Chicken and Curried Mutton, along with more modern alternatives such as Ackee and Salt Fish Bruschetta or Roast Cod in Coconut Milk and Scotch Bonnet. The dishes seemed reasonably priced and we had no problem picking from the menu – although compact, so a little limiting for repeat clientele. I ate the Jerk Chicken to start – it was just the right amount of spice for the audience but not sure on the presentation – looked like it should be doing the rounds on a canapé tray, then onto main of Roast Cod, crispy skin on the outside and melty flakes in the middle – divine. The side of rice and peas was a little dry unfortunately. Over all we all enjoyed a tasty and unique dinner experience from a combination of the food and ambience.
Entertaining: This is an option for a fun and lively night out, not one really for anyone over 35 by the crowd we encountered, and that age bracket is stretching it a little. For groups – book for dinner and try to reserve an area down stairs for parties.
Book at table for dinner to be assured of entry – it gets busy, fully booked and bit bustley. It’s members after 10.30, so get in early and find yourself a spot. 2am license on the weekend. We say this is a cool big kids playground and a fun antidote to the big chill outside.
The Rum Kitchen, 6-8 All Saints Road/ Notting Hill, London/ W11 1HH
We ate 2 courses with cocktails and wine for around £45 pp