Jerk City

I’ll admit I know very little about Carribean cuisine, with my only exposure being food that I’d eaten at the Notting Hill Carnival from the little stands they set up all around the area. Given all the rain lately and my craving for some really spicy food, I headed down Oxford Street towards the two places that I know will be open, Jerk City and Mr Jerk.

I took a moment to decide which one to eat at, and in the end I chose Jerk City over Mr Jerk. Perhaps it was because of the more homely feel of the store opening, rather than the dark purple, somewhat modernised dining room of Mr Jerk that seemed somehow out of place when eating jerk chicken.

Upon stepping inside of Jerk City, you order at the counter, with two menus taped down and a warming oven on display showing you some of the side dishes you could order. Most of the dishes were well below £10, with the large jerk chicken serve at £7.50 (with 10% extra for eating in). I had no idea how big the portions were and I’m glad that I didn’t order any sides in the end since their portion was huge, almost spilling over the plate edge! Tempted by a different drink, I also tried their pineapple soda drink – a perfectly sweet and summery drink that went well with the dish.

Their tables are small wooden, outfitted with salt, pepper and two types of chilli sauce (both using lots of scotch bonnet peppers). I tried both of them (one of them quite liberally) and I found myself reaching for the refreshing pineapple drink a few times during the meal to help cool down my mouth.

When the jerk chicken arrived, the serving size was immediately noticeable and I didn’t think that I’d be able to finish the entire serve. Alongside the jerk chicken, drenched in some sweet, BBQ-like sauce was a huge serve of a traditional rice and peas (rice and beans), as well as a side salad.

The jerk chicken puzzled me a little because I thought the beauty of the chicken was supposed to be the blackened, salty, spicy crust on the chicken at which you could choose to add jerk sauce at a later stage. It also surprised me that the sauce was sweeter than expected, and much less spicy (hence the liberal use of the hot sauces). Overall it was still a great dish though I have no idea about how authentic it really is. Tasty nevertheless.

Name: Jerk City
Found at: 189 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 8ZD
Contactable on: 020 7287 2878 Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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