LONDON EATERIES – Ma Petite Jamaica, Caribbean culinary calypso in Camden Town
So, what to do on a wet and dreary Monday evening? Well if you’re around Camden then a visit to Ma Petite Jamaica will help blow that misery away! It was on a rainy Monday evening that myself and a friend were feeling the lack of love for British weather and decided to pay this sunny haven a visit! Stepping in, we were immediately transported by the sounds and smells of the Caribbean, to somewhere far more appealing that North London in the winter! We were greeted by a bevy of friendly waiting staff in a colourful beach bar like setting and guided to our table to the sound of uplifting reggae dancing out of the speakers. A cocktail was offered… a Prosseco was requested and suddenly we were away!
Ma Petite Jamaica sits a short way up Camden High Street and stands out from the rock n roll bars and dark and divey restaurants on the strip and surrounding area. The restaurant has colour and personality everywhere, but still retains the laid back cool vibe of the neighbourhood. The kitchen is at the back of the restaurant, but the delicious smells can be savoured throughout, and with this in mind it wasn’t hard for us to order quickly from the authentically Caribbean menu.
My friend LOVES Caribbean food so she was straight up front and in there, choosing the Ackee and Saltfish – a Jamaican staple. I plumped for another popular choice of jerk chicken skewers to start. Both came quickly and with a smile and some friendly banter, so rare in London these days! The Ackee and salt fish was well balanced between the salty fish and the creamy taste of Ackee. The two plump dumplings were perfectly cooked, not too dry and delicious. I was presented with lots of it sticky chicken skewers in a super spicy and sticky sauce. I would have preferred just the seasoning rub as the sauce was very sugary, but hey, the flavours were there and there was lots of it!
The mains were also a triumph of classic Caribbean street food and cooking. The red snapper and salad I ordered was brilliantly cooked, the fish was moist and delicious, the only downside however was that it was smothered in that sweet and sticky jerk sauce so be warned, but saying that it was again very tasty. My friend had the snapper also, but with rice and peas, creamy coleslaw and plantain…Totally tropical and no fuss!! We had a cocktail each just before we left from the beach bar and again they were as zingy and tasty as anything else on the menu. The taste of Jamaica was definitely there in the ginger beer and carrot juice based cooler I had and of course many are rum based, all delivered with a smile.
The whole experience was a welcome injection of colour, taste and cool Caribbean vibes on an otherwise downbeat Monday eve. I can imagine it pumps in summer to and is definitely worth a visit if you want something fun and different whilst in the area. It’s no fuss, entertaining and authentic with great staff, in a beachy setting – I mean who DOESN’T want a beach in Camden!
Ma Petite Jamaica, 4 Inverness St, London NW1 7HJ, Phone:020 7482 2977