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Peyton and Byrne Caribbean supper club review

Peyton and Byrne Caribbean supper club review

by Gemma Harrison 07 October 2015

Peyton and Byrne continue their supper club series with Shivi Ramoutar presenting a Caribbean feast at Inn The Park. Gemma Harrison went to discover if there’s more to Caribbean cuisine than jerk chicken.

Gemma is Marketing Manager at Great British Chefs. She can usually be found in a restaurant, at a food festival or cooking at home.

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.

Salt fish bujol butties with aioli
Salt fish bujol butties with aioli
Jamaican beef patties
Jamaican beef patties

Then began a series of sharing platters which would continue until dessert. First up were salt fish bujol butties with aioli and Jamaican beef patties. These two were a universal hit – spooning a well-flavoured salt fish salad and garlic-rich aioli into the butties was a great (if not messy) idea and the little beef patties were Jamaica’s spiced up version of a Cornish pasty. It was at this point that Shivi came to chat with the diners, and asked whether we’d tried the hot sauce. After her earlier warning that it was indeed very hot, I had decided to pass, but with her insistence, my spice-loving companion gave it a try. After tasting the merest drop, her expression said it all – it was going to be far too spicy for me . . .

Next, we were served two salads, which made a refreshing change in flavour from the previous course. The ginger dressed tomato, red onion and orange salad was an unusual, but successful combination – tomatoes and oranges, who knew? I must say the roasted coconut and cucumber salad was my favourite by a nose – long strips of lightly pickled cucumber with slithers of toasty coconut worked brilliantly.

 
 
Bag-baked sea bass with mango and black bean salsa
Bag-baked sea bass with mango and black bean salsa
 Poached paw paw and vanilla whipimage
Poached paw paw and vanilla whip
image
Shivi Ramoutar

And now, the main event, and what a feast it was: abodo-baked 'green' chicken and squash with crispy chickpeas, bag-baked sea bass with mango and black bean salsa, kale bhaji and rice and peas. The chicken stew was far more mildly spiced than I was expecting and a real joy to eat – perfectly accompanied by the rice and peas and the kale bhaji (more like an Indian saag in texture than a crunchy fried bhaji). The sea bass was served whole, stuffed with lemon and chilli, alongside a mango and black bean salsa – the spicy, citrusy notes permeating through the flesh.

Dessert came in two parts, firstly a bowl of poached paw paw and vanilla whip, then a little take-home bag of salt and spice brittle (which many people devoured before the paw paw even arrived – being placed on the tables from the beginning of the evening it had been tempting us ever since). Tasting the vanilla whip by itself, I wasn’t sure that it would be sweet enough – but mixed with the paw paw, it really worked. The brittle was almost addictive, although perhaps it could have been a little thinner to get the characteristic snap.

What was brilliant about the experience was that it opened everyone’s eyes to the wide range of Caribbean food available – and that it doesn’t always have to blow your head off with chillies!

If you’re interested in cooking Caribbean food, check out Shivi Ramoutar’s new cookbook. You can also find out more about Peyton and Byrne supper club’s here.

 
 

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