Caribbean food has yet to truly take off in the UK, with jerk chicken, rice and peas being the only dish most people have heard of. Not a fan of really spicy food, I’ve tended to steer clear of Caribbean restaurants, resorting to getting my Caribbean flavour fix by toning down the spice in Levi Roots’ recipes. So when I was offered the chance to attend one of Peyton and Byrne’s supper clubs (run by Oliver Peyton, of Great British Menu fame), I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to broaden my horizons.
Our host (and chef) for the evening was Shivi Ramoutar. Born in Trindad, but living a rather nomadic life ever since, she puts twists on classic Caribbean dishes and ingredients from her childhood. Nestled in a pretty spot in the centre of St James’ Park, Inn The Park was a clever location for an alfresco dinner – although the strong breeze meant we didn’t stay outside for long. A Dark ‘n’ Stormy cocktail on the terrace before dinner was a nice touch though.
We headed inside to sit at long tables, typical of a supper club set up, and chose our wine. Before the main part of the menu began, we were served a little cup of callaloo soup with crab biscotti. The traditional Caribbean side dish took on a new life as a soup, the spinach-like flavour splitting the crowd. The crab biscotti was softer in texture than any I’d tried before, but was perfect for dipping – although I would have liked to have tasted more of the crab.