In one other of our London restaurant critiques, we go to Antillean Restaurant and Cocktail Bar in Southwark to expertise pan-Caribbean dishes and flavours. Opened in 2021, Antillean is a vibrant, vibrant, and soulful restaurant the place Chef Patron, Michael Hanbury, and his group invite you to expertise Caribbean delicacies in an off-the-cuff, high-end eating environment in London’s SE1.
Our go to to Antilliean was by invitation in April 2022. Nevertheless, this text expresses our trustworthy opinions primarily based on our expertise.
London is a type of international cities with the everlasting capability to be each previous – preserving hundreds of years of historical past – and new, consistently evolving and reinventing on the similar time. Innovation is definitely hardwired into the material of London’s restaurant tradition.
We love experiencing that blend of previous and new each time we go to Southwark, considered one of South London’s most outstanding boroughs – together with native historic factors of curiosity equivalent to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tower Bridge, the thousand-year-old Borough Market, and the Shard, a towering instance of the current redevelopment that has taken maintain within the borough.
Simply minutes from Southwark and Waterloo stations is one thing new, Antillean Restaurant and Cocktail Bar. Its shut proximity to the Previous and Younger Vic theatres makes Antillean an ideal alternative for pre-theatre eating.
In a second of nostalgia, as we walked in direction of the situation within the afternoon spring sunshine, we recalled visiting Baltic restaurant Ognisko (now closed) which as soon as occupied the identical constructing on 74 Blackfriars Street.
Entering into Antillean, we have been curious to see how Michael Hanbury and his enterprise companions had reimagined the area inside this Grade II listed coachbuilding. Moreso, we have been excited to attempt their pan-Caribbean menu which was the principle attraction for us.
Upon entry, we have been happy to see that Antillean’s inside designers had retained the excessive ceilings and uncovered wood beams we recalled once we final visited the area. Tender pure gentle from the massive skylights flooded the room, complimenting the nautical-chic decor that the designers had chosen for the inside.
We thought the acoustics of the area may have used one and never each a DJ set and a dwell saxophonist. Nevertheless, the jazzy music generated a buzz that introduced the area to life and heightened our anticipation for our Antillean expertise.
Pan-Caribbean delicacies at Antillean
The restaurant takes its identify from the Antilles, the various Caribbean archipelago made up of island nations and territories that, between them, current a mixture of African, French, Spanish, Indian, Dutch and Chinese language culinary influences.
Michael Hanbury and his group took on the problem of capturing the culinary variety introduced by the area and have created a collection of menus that may solely be described as pan-Caribbean.
Pushed by his love of the West Indies, Caribbean meals and cricket, in 1997, Hanbury left behind a profitable profession as a Metropolis dealer to journey the world; this impressed his later transfer into the hospitality business.
Spending 11 years on the celebrated Asia de Cuba (rising to develop into their govt chef), it was at this Chino–Latino fusion favorite that Hanbury met his future enterprise companions who would be part of him in founding Antillean – his first solo enterprise: then culinary director, Baziz Rachedi, and director of operations, Chris Martin.
The Antillean three-course Saturday Brunch Menu
On this event, we had been invited to attempt Antillean’s Saturday Brunch Menu (£35 pp – costs topic to alter) with an elective rum pairing (£40 pp) – the bar at Antillean lists an intensive collection of over 100 distinctive sorts of rum from world wide.
With our welcome cocktails served rapidly, our Antillean pan-Caribbean brunch expertise started with flavourful plates of ceviche – tender items of mojito-cured grouper with hints of mint, lime and rum and scallops served with chilli and lime.
A course of sharing plates adopted, made up of dishes of mackerel escovitch, mushy hen skewers served with a mango and tomato salsa, grilled prawns and grilled octopus in scotch bonnet emulsion served with mango, mint and cucumber.
Visitors can select one massive plate/principal from the brunch menu. Nevertheless, for us it was unimaginable to decide on between Hanbury’s signature ‘Flying Fish’ (barracuda) with cou-cou, plantain sofrito and mojo; the jerk hen served with mango and a radicchio salad; the rum-marinated rib-eye steak served with yuca fries and the jackfruit curry served with butternut squash and steamed rice…so we ordered all 4 of them!
Alongside every course, we loved a little bit of storytelling as every rum pairing was served. They included a 3-year previous Havana Membership, Mount Homosexual Black Barrel and a 5-year previous Doorly’s from Barbados.
Though we had eaten our fill, we couldn’t resist the desserts on provide – a collection of candy treats together with carrot cake, chocolate torte served with passionfruit and mango, Rum baba with a spiced rum syrup and Guinness punch ice cream.
General, we thought that Antillean’s use of high quality components elevated every dish’s flavours, creating an thrilling however not overpowering interaction between candy, spicy and savoury. The curated rum pairings accentuated the tasting expertise.
With their vary of menus (along with brunch, there are additionally a la carte, signature and pre-theatre set menus), Hanbury and Rachedi have infused conventional Caribbean dishes with their international affect.
In doing so, they’ve created one thing that each celebrates and elevates the variety of flavours from the area.
In a metropolis the place eating places come and go, we hope Antillean finds itself turning into a agency favorite for diners looking for an elevated expertise of Caribbean delicacies in South London.
Reserving your Antillean expertise
To ebook a Saturday Brunch at Antillean or any of their different eating choices, go to their web site at antillean.co.uk or name 0203 011 4449.
You can even observe their journey on Instagram @antilleanrestaurant