On Thursday night Harry Styles went to The Rum Kitchen. On Saturday night Prince Harry went to The Rum Kitchen. On Friday night I went to The Rum Kitchen. Seriously world? How are either meant to fall in love with me if we keep missing each other like this?
I arrived a little ahead of my friend, and as it was a Friday refused to wait for my first cocktail. I chose the Strange Fruit, a combination of light Cuban rum, pineapple, fresh lime and Canadian maple syrup (nope never had that in a cocktail before either). It was delicious – sweet, smokey and with a nice tang from the lime. When my friend finally arrived she ordered a Rubin Carter and I felt I should try a different one. I shouldn’t have. I went for a Sharman’s Cox Daiquiri which said it had a hint of blue. Unfortunately it tasted more like it came from a tacky karaoke bar in Newcastle, the city I was a student in, than an authentic Caribbean beach bar. Lesson learnt, I went back to the Strange Fruit and stayed faithful to it for the rest of the evening.
We started with salt and chili squid, and salt-fish fritters. The fritters were a bit stodgy and had an odd tacky texture, but the squid was lovingly cooked with a crisp battered coating and a piquant sauce on the side. For mains, as it is still Lent and I am vowed off red meat, I opted for the seafood gumbo with corn bread. It had plenty of very good quality seafood in it -squid, prawns, mussels and chunks of white fish all floated in a spicy tomato soup. The gritty cornbread on the side was excellent, although there could have been a bit more of it to mop up the sauce. We also ordered a portion of perfectly cooked chips and a bowl of creamy coleslaw. My friend had the confit pork belly which she said was excellent. I will have to go back again post-Lent to judge for myself. Our bill (we had four cocktails each) came to just under £60 a head.
The food was really good, but you don’t come here for that. You come here for the atmosphere. At the end of a winter that has gone on far too long (seriously Cold, everyone is fed up with you, bugger off already) it was a big warm hug of a restaurant. Come with a group of noisy friends, order stacks of food and line up the cocktails. Then head downstairs to the bar below for more rum, dancing and metaphorical sunshine. And you never know, with a tad more luck than me, you might just meet a famous Harry or two.