When you talk of Notting Hill it seems only to conjure up good memories and fun images- the nostalgia of giggling as a child at Spike and his clenching buttocks in a pair of greying Y-fronts or of carnival music and Portobello Market. But now I have another special something to add to my list of Notting Hill associations- The Rum Kitchen.
Having been recently frequented by Prince Harry (the man evidently has good taste in food) it is one of West London’s hidden gems. On this occasion I was taken here to celebrate a very special occasion for the creme de la creme of date nights. Tucked away in Notting Hill behind rows of wedding-cake White houses it looks rather unassuming from the outside but when you step through the door it’s a whole different story…the place is a hive of Caribbean cool, its jerk chicken and ginger cocktails being the irresistible honey to the trendy London bees.
Famed for (and named after) its extensive collection of rum hidden in the cellar, The Rum Kitchen’s cocktails are unsurprisingly second to none. Forget fancy glasses, these punchy numbers are served in chunky little tumblers, jam jars, white tin mugs and beer tankards. Pineapple, lime, ginger beer, Red Stripe, orange, passion fruit, vanilla and much more are mixed to perfection with rum (and plenty of it) to create tongue-tingling concoctions which will make even the biggest heavy-weight tipsy.
Waitresses and waiters (wearing anything from flowers in their hair to silk trousers and stripy espadrilles) boogie in-between the tables in the beach-shack inspired restaurant. With reggae tunes pulling in the locals the place is busy-busy in no time at all with the bar side of the restaurant perhaps even more popular than the food side! This does mean that the place is a little noisy but as long as you’re not trying to have a deep and meaningful private discussion then this really isn’t an issue.
With the cocktails going down nicely and my toes tapping under the table it was time to take a look at the foodie offering. With all of the traditional Caribbean flavours popping up on the menu and a whole lot of jerk, unsurprisingly everything on the menu sounded incredible and I think I will need plenty more visits just to try a bit of everything.
For starter we shared salt and chilli squid with aioli. Making a nice change from squid’s usual restaurant guise of calamari this squid was delicious and HOT. If you like a good dose of fiery chilli then this is something you most definitely need to try.
Having had a a little taster of what the kitchen had to offer we moved onto our mains which were equally as impressive! I had escovitch fillet of red mullet with sweet potato mash and spinach whilst James had the jerk fried chicken burger (doubled up of course). And we didn’t have regrets…these dishes were so filling but so so good. Hearty, flavoursome and filling with lots of added lime and chilli, what’s not to like?
Leaving with full bellies and feeling a little tipsy, the Rum Kitchen certainly lived up to all expectations and a return visit is already on my agenda. With so many more Caribbean favourites to try and a few more rum varieties to work my way through this place certainly isn’t a one visit wonder. Date night, catching up with friends or just out of the love of great food…book now!
To keep up to date with A Stylish Review then don’t forget to follow via the social media buttons!