With any cuisine, there are always dishes that pinpoint the culture in one bite. Italy has pasta, Japan has Sushi and Mexico – tacos! So, it was no surprise that when I went to Rhythm Kitchen, a Caribbean restaurant. I set off on a quest for Oxtail and anything jerked. Sitting just a short distance from Walthamstow Central station on Hoe Street, Rhythm Kitchen was the first stop on my Black-owned culinary tour. Owner and Chef Delroy brings healthy Caribbean family recipes to the streets of London. Having gone to culinary school and worked in the central London restaurant scene, Chef Delroy has learned a thing or two about flavour and wholesome seasoning.
Whenever I try somewhere new, I always try to sample the menu and taste old-time favourites to see who can cook the meal the best. For the starters, I ordered Mac and cheese, Jerk Wings and Saltfish Fritters. The wings were soft and well-seasoned, the heat packs a punch but it tolerable. The mac and cheese were a suitable addition to the starter. But surprisingly, by far the Saltfish Fritters served with sweet chilli mayo was the showstopper of the night. The fritters were soft with bitesize pieces of fish, unlike other fritters where you can barely taste fish and you have to dig to find any. I wanted to take a bowl of that home!
On to the entrée, having been my first time eating Braised Oxtail served with fried plantain with rice and peas. I didn’t know what to expect, but as a staple dish of the Caribbean, my standards were set high. The oxtail was tender as it fell off the bone, the butter bean stew that accompanied the meat was filling and robust. The plantain was cooked to perfection having a sweet crispy texture adding more depth to the meal.
Although Rhythm Kitchen does not have a dessert menu which I was saddened to find out about as the Caribbean has a plethora of decadent desserts, but they do have an extensive rum collection and stocked bar. The rum punch had tropical undertones transporting to a warm summer and not the grey, cold streets of London. My second cocktail, Zombie definitely from me back to life. Vibrant in colour with an absinth base and frothy white top you will be sure to leave the restaurant walking with a Stanky leg!
All in all, the décor was warm and inviting as were the staff in making us feel welcome and offered us a complimentary sample of Bounty Lime Rum which turned out to be the nicest rum I have ever tasted. The citrus brought out the potency of the spirit, leaving a sweet aftertaste. The food was quick, which I loved (never a good idea to keep me waiting!). The service and experience were a nice escape from the pandemic. I would recommend Rhythm Kitchen to anyone looking to try Caribbean cuisine for the first time.