A taste of the Caribbean
I was trying to figure out where the most of my influence comes from when it comes to cooking but I think it is a bit of everything and everywhere. Saying that I have very little knowledge about the Caribbean cuisine besides jerk chicken and scotch bonnets.
By coincidence I met Ray who has a genuine Caribbean foodie heritage. Ray is a food entrepreneur with plenty of ideas and projects. It was so nice to meet him and to have a proper foodie discussion.
It turned out that Ray does a pop up on Sundays at Arttzan on the strand in Walmer. Arttzan has undergone a complete transformation and it is now a cafe and bar with quirky, lovely, details and also offering a great pop up.
Don’t miss out on their Sunday barbecue with Caribbean influence.
When Ray told me he was cooking a taste of the Caribbean as a special I couldn’t wait to try and learn more about Caribbean foods.
We got there just on time and what better way to start a Caribbean evening than with some rum punch?
I wasn’t sure what to expect and the first dish was a sweet corn salad. It had a great balance between hot and sweet with the sweetcorn and notes of lime.
The second dish was Caribbean patties. I had never tried, or even heard of them before I met Ray. They look a little like South American empanadas but the dough is lighter. We had a couple each but Ray already has 16 different fillings available and he is all set up for catering at festivals and events. The patties are the perfect size and I would be happy to tuck in to a big plate of them.
Caribbean beef patty
Caribbean vegetarian patty
The patties comes with festivals. The festivals taste slightly like churros, are very crispy and quite sweet, perfect dipped in Ray’s banana ketchup!
After this we had a little break. The rum punch came in pitchers and I have to admit that we managed to get through a few of them.
The next dish was a surprise, mac & cheese with corn bread. The mac&cheese had pickled chillies and I loved the flavour with the slightly sweet corn bread.
Next was jerk chicken with an Ackee and Calaloo fritter. The jerk chicken was the lightest jerk chicken I have ever tasted. When I have tried jerk chicken before it has always been a little bit on the heavy side but this was quite an experience and how this jerk sauce is made, and why it is so different will remains Ray’s secret but I am so happy to have experienced it!
After the chicken and another pause I started to feel quite full. I tasted the pork but I sadly have to admit I didn’t do it justice but it was very nice.
Just when I thought I couldn’t eat anything more, perhaps for a few days, darkness settled and the candles were lit, I couldn’t believe the evening went so fast.
The dessert was a trio, I can’t remember the first name, it was a biscuit with what tasted like a banana and chocolate filling and chilli jam, a key lime pie with a great lime flavour and a fruit salad that was absolutely delicious.
It was a great evening, time rushed by and we were so well looked after and spoilt with fantastic Caribbean food and not to forget the rum punch. The food had a bite but it was a nice heat and I could taste the scotch bonnets but they didn’t overpower the dish. I went to bed with a smile on my face and the whole evening was just as much about friends as food and enjoying the positive and lovely atmosphere.