Negril is a Jamaican joint set back off Brixton Hill and offers a no-frills vibe but high quality Caribbean food. You may well recognised its rustic yet colourful front.
There’s no mistaking the true Caribbean influence here. Calypso chicken sandwiches, ‘adzuki bean’ quarter pounders and bean burgers come with their optional hot sauce. The fish section consists of Jamaica’s national dish Ackee and saltfish and it’s good to see goat is included in their curry menu too.
But we were here for jerk. And we were eyeing up their Negril platters – a sharing plate for two of ½ jerk chicken, and a number of sides.
So when the waitress warned us they were low in supplies, we thought we might just cry.
‘Hang fire,’ she warned as she headed to the kitchen.
Returning with a grin on her face, she explained we could still be granted our beloved chicken. They had just a couple left.
Breathing a sigh of relief, we relaxed into the surprisingly buzzy Wednesday night atmosphere.
There was one thing missing – a nice glass of something. We’d forgotten it was BYO. But reluctant to face the outside chilly temperatures to get to the off-licence, we settled on some bottles of fiery ginger beer.
When our feast arrived, it was a generous mix of plantain wedges, rice and peas, coleslaw, mixed salad, chips, salt fish fritters, and of course, our jerk chicken.
The chicken was everything we were looking for – chargrilled, crispy (but not overdone inside) and engulfed in flavour. Oh yeah, and did we mention, it’s free range too?
The plantain was perhaps a little under ripe, so not as soft as I’d hoped, but nonetheless, offered the sweet contrast that is so distinctive of West Indian cuisine.
The salt fish fritters were a great accompaniment too. Although a little stodgy, they reminded me of a past Caribbean holiday and for a wintry Wednesday night, this was great comfort food.
We could have probably done without the chips, but the ‘slaw’, salad, and rice and peas were great, and at £19.95 for the entire platter, we couldn’t question the value for money. All chicken in Negril comes with a small pot of hot sauce. And beware, it’s firey! A small dip now and again added the occasional necessary injection of heat.
I’d love to sample some of Negril’s other creations next time we visit. Pumpkin curry, traditional Jamaican ‘roti’ bread and coconut and chilli prawns all made my mouth water as I read the menu.
And if you’re looking for a Caribbean start to the day, they claim to serve ‘Brixton’s best breakfast’ with all sorts of tempting items, from jerk sausage to Caribbean Toast and the ‘Callaloo Special’.
I could go on, but I’ll stop here and say, this could be the best jerk chicken I’ve ever had.
Negril, 132 Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RS, 0208 674 8798