With Notting Hill Carnival just around the corner, we’re getting into the Caribbean spirit. Here’s the low-down of five of the capital’s best Caribbean bars and restaurants
Notting Hill Carnival – a spectacular two day event that celebrates Caribbean culture in the capital – is just around the corner!
The annual west London Carnival is great fun but – being Europe’s biggest street festival – it can get crowded and, as such, the cleanliness leaves a lot to be desired.
But panic not! Haute Time has the low-down on five salubrious spots where you can enjoy a (stylish) taste of the Caribbean. As Jamaican reggae icon, Bob Marley, once famously sang “every little thing is gonna be alright…”
1. Crazy Homies Crazy Carnival Party
Tom Conran’s Crazy Homies will be celebrating this year’s Notting Hill Carnival (24-25 August) by offering creative cocktail refreshments to revellers through the restaurant door. For those who have danced all day and who are in need of a thirst quencher, head to Crazy Homies and all your wishes will be granted. Staff are friendly, rather than frosty, and have no objection to you lingering around.
125 Westbourne Park Road, W2 5Q
Wondering where to celebrate Carnival? Wander to Wardour Street where at 100 - the site of the original Marquee club - you’ll find Floridita. There’s no such thing as a bad night at this eponymous Cuban themed venue which serves an array of Latin American classics, mouth-watering steaks and killer cocktails in a glamorous setting that evokes 1930s Havana. Strictly Come Dancing choreographer, Richard Marcel, is teaching two salsa lessons every Tuesday evening throughout the summer while on any given night the Floridita bar and dance floor resounds to the rhythms of live Cuban bands and cabaret or Cuban, Latin and international beats mixed by leading international DJs.
100 Wardour Street, W1F
3. Mango Room
The London borough of Camden boasts the best Caribbean restaurant in the capital: take a bow Mango Room which serves West Indian favourites such as Curry goat with scallions, pimento and spices, Char-grilled Jerk Chicken, Seared Yellow Fin tuna with mango salsa and creole Snapper with mango and peppercorn sauce. There’s also a great range of daiquiris and an extensive rum selection sure to transport you to the heart of the Caribbean - as will the soundtrack (expect Ska music from the 50s and 60s plus old reggae originals).
10-12 Kentish Town Road, NW1
4. Rum Kitchen
Rum Kitchen opened to critical acclaim on All Saints Road at the start of 2013 and righty so: Rum Kitchen rocks. But their Notting Hill branch will no doubt be busy over the Bank Holiday weekend... Happily Rum Kitchen now has a second venue in Soho’s Kingly Court. Translation? Londoners no longer need to “go west” for their fill of high-end West Indies fare such as Chicken with rice and peas, plus Rum Punch and creamy, coconut based cocktails. From Monday-Wednesday inclusive, Rum Kitchen’s newest outpost is primarily a restaurant but, from Thursday onwards it’s all about making like Ri-Ri and body bopping until 12.30am.
First floor, Kingly Court, Soho, W1
5. Rough Trade Reggae Jukebox at The Cow Carnival Party
The Cow in Westbourne Park is offering an Notting Hill Carnival party with a difference on August 24-25 inclusive. In collaboration with Rough Trade, The Cow will be turning their classic 1970's NSM Prestige Jukebox into a Champion Reggae Sound System. Gaz Mayall from Gaz's Rockin' Blues Sound System and Dan Donovan of Big Audio Dynamite will also be on hand to finely tune the selection to make The Cow the best reggae spot for Carnival. What’s more, a CD of the most favoured Dub Plates, Reggae, Ska & Calypso Tunes will be available after Carnival draws to a close so you can relive the memories over and over again.
89 Westbourne Park Road, London W2