Our Places Title
Topics

Where to Find Bajan Food and Drink in London and Barbados

by Moderator October - last edited October

Mount Gay Rum Barbados © Maxine Sheppard.jpg

Visit Barbados and you’ll experience a sun-sprinkled fusion of West African and British culture. British interest in the island began in 1625 when Barbados was claimed in the name of James I, but it wasn’t until two years later that settlers arrived; a mixture of British colonialists and African slaves.

The nation’s dual roots are still evident today but have evolved into the Bajan culture we know and love. English endures as the official language of the island, but the distinctive dialect it’s spoken in is a classic part of Barbadian culture. Bajan cuisine remains a surprising but delicious blend of African spices, British staples and Caribbean ingredients: it’s as easy to pick up swordfish or cou-cou on the island as it is to find black pudding!

Just as the British had descended on Barbados, between 1955 and 1966 Barbadian migrants began flooding into Britain looking for work. The UK is now home to several proud and thriving Bajan communities, notably around London, Reading and Ipswich.

Sample the Bajan background

Visiting the island is one way to sample its unique Caribbean culture, but you no longer need to travel to Barbados for a genuine Bajan experience. We’ve created the following maps to share a handful of our favourite Bajan haunts, in Britain and Barbados.

London – Rum and Relish

Mama's Jerk Station, Spitalfields, London

When you think of Bajan food, you think of African spices and no one handles the jerk better than Mama in this family run restaurant. Jerk chicken, jerk pork sausages and even jerk vegetables are lovingly prepared in her kitchen which must surely be a byword for authentic Caribbean fodder. Delicious dumpling soups and plantain are also available for a real taste of Bajan.

The Rum Kitchen, Notting Hill, London

Bajan cuisine is as much about drink as it is food, and it’s impossible to overlook Barbados’ oldest and most popular tipple: rum. Stocking a ridiculous amount of different brands, The Rum Kitchen prides itself on selling a variety of sumptuous Caribbean-flavoured cocktails all day long. These are available alongside gumbo and saltfish bites, and played out with some swinging reggae beats for a truly immersive Bajan experience.

Caribbean London Cotton's Rum Shack Bbar The Rum Kitchen Rhythm Kitchen Trader Vic's Negril Brixton Mango Shack Artesian Bar Cotton's Islington Caribbean spice bakery Jerk City Mama's Jerk Station

Barbados – Views and Vigour

Brighton Farmers Market, St George, Barbados

The Brighton Farmers Market is less of a destination and more of a day out! Opening at 10.00am each Saturday morning, you can pick up a delicious breakfast of juices and patties before embarking on a market that stocks anything from art and jewellery to vegetables or clothing. Best described as lively, its colourful ambience is what keeps it popular year on year.

The Deck Restaurant, Hastings

Get to The Deck to sample real Barbadian cuisine in amazing surroundings.  Situated on the beautiful Garrison Historic Area beach, this mouth-watering restaurant has a great line in shrimp and blackened seafood on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesdays. However, head down any other night of the week for a real taste of the Caribbean by sampling their Bajan buffets of BBQ, stews and plantain.

Barbados /> The Crane Naru Harbour lights Waterside rest Brighton farmers market Mount Gay rum Cin cin Tides The Cliff Ramshackle Rum sixty six The Deck

Have you enjoyed an authentic Caribbean experience? Let us know where.

Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights from London Gatwick to Barbados. Visit Virgin Holidays to find out more information on holidays in Barbados.


To leave a comment, please log in with Facebook.
Comments
User Icon
karena February

Re: http://blog.virgin-atlantic.com/t5/Our-Places/Where-to-Find-Bajan-Food-and-Drink-in-London-and-Barba...

 

I know this is a really old post and It is probably too late to bring up this point, however I feel that it needs to be addressed. Whilst your attempt to promote the culture of Barbados in the UK is commendable, I am afraid that your facts are gravely incorrect and the outcome has had the opposite desired effect.

 

Firstly your paragraph which reads “When you think of Bajan food, you think of African spices and no one handles the jerk….. “ is  wrong and mildly insulting. The word “jerk” is indicative to Jamaican cuisine and is not a form of cooking that is readily used throughout Barbados. The term Baked chicken is synonymous with Bajan food and up and down the island you will find many establishments offering this as a lunch and dinner time staple. You only have to leave the airport and go across by “Frankies rum shop” to get some baked chicken, so it’s not hard to find.

 

Secondly, the company you refer to “Mama” is again Jamaican owned. It took me under a minute to establish this point. If you look at their twitter page, you will clearly see a Jamaican flag on their profile. A clear enough indication, I would have thought that this may not be Bajan fayre.

 

On this next point, I appreciate that I am being pedantic; however some may argue that this whole rebuff can be described as such. Nonetheless I feel the need to highlight this point as it is again indicative of the lack of thought that has gone into this article. Your paragraph that reads

“These are available alongside gumbo and saltfish bites, and played out with some swinging reggae beats for a truly immersive Bajan experience.”

 

If written by itself and had it not followed the “Jerk Incident” ( I think it is serious enough to call it an incident)  I may have been able to overlook it, however I need to point out that Reggae music, whilst it is enjoyed up and down the island, isn’t actually our “national sound” ( for want of a better way of putting it.) For a “truly immersive Bajan experience” one would suggest some soca, or maybe Calypso, I would say spouge but let’s take baby steps here. .

The main reason for this post was to bring to the attention places that you can go to get a “ truly Bajan experience” Your post received a lot of traction and was retweeted on numerous occasions, and has given people an incorrect impression, therefore inaccurately representing our culture. I think it is important to make a clear distinction and actually provide people with facts about where they can taste “real Bajan food”#

 

By failing to highlight this I think I will be doing a disservice to all my Bajan Entrepreneurs. So let’s break this down:

 

  • If you want a take away or to sit down and eat some nice grub, you can head to Bajan Spice in Nunhead.

28 Nunhead Green, London SE15 3QF, United Kingdom
+44 20 7358 0090

 

  • Want to get some souse, fish cakes, and pig tails and lime like you are in a rum shop, check out “In a Pikkle” pop up restaurant at Deptford , Catford and North Finchley markets and the Catford Canteen supper club

www.inapikkle.com 

 

  • Want some Bajan sea food check out Pop-up Barbados at Dalston Street Fest and also check out his supper club

www.http://popupbarbados.com

 

  • If you want a pub to lime in that offers Mount Gay and Cockspur Rum (true Barbadian Rums), great food, dominoes and some good old Bajan music - check out Big Mikes Restaurant at the Catford Ram pub.

https://www.facebook.com/bigmikes.restaurantbar?fref=ts

 

I am sure there are a million more but these are the ones I know. That took me five minutes, next time maybe do some research.

 

Karen Alleyne aka LadyPikkler from In a Pikkle 

Karen@inapikkle.com

User Icon
Moderator February

Hi Karen,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Though the main focus was on Barbados, with hindsight we probably should have titled the article differently and made it clearer that the London section was about where to find Caribbean and not just Bajan food in the capital, as per the "Guide to Caribbean Food & Drink" infographic. Point taken about reggae also.

Appreciate the additional eating recommendations too, which our readers will undoubtedly find useful. Thanks again for your feedback.

User Icon
Gentblue May - last edited May

Maxine's article was a pretty good guide on Jamaican food, which differs markedly from traditional Bajan food, though is often marketed as "Caribbean food".  There aren't that many Bajan restaurants in London though: I cannot find a single one on the internet.  PopUpBarbados is a caterer and Bajan Spiec is a takeaway!

If you liked this, you may also like
Author Avatar

About the author: Maxine

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.