Review of 'Levi Roots' Caribbean Smokehouse'

When I first moved to England what seems like a very long time ago I met Levi Roots at a food show in Earl's Court. I knew he was a bit famous so had a chat and had him sign one of his jars of sauce for me. Little did I know that he was a champion of the British “Dragon's Den” show. Other than a cooking show on television a few years ago I really haven't heard to much from him…though have still been seeing his sauces in supermarkets so I knew he was still around…Surprise, surprise, I come across his restaurant in Westfield Stratford unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment though perhaps more because our choices rather than the food itself.

Located on the “terrace” of Westfield around the back near John Lewis, Levi Roots' Caribbean Smokehouse might be easy to miss as yet another business in a rectangular box but it is certainly worth a visit. The good weather meant there was a queue for the seats outside but we agreed to be seated by the window inside. The restaurant interior is done up like a Caribbean beach bar which is a bit fun with seats that are intentionally meant to look mismatched all contributing to the somewhat artificial “authentic” look. The open kitchen area in the corner does lend a bit towards authenticity though…

The menu is on two sides of a paper placemat divided into “Starters”, “Mains”, “lite n' tings” (sigh), “Sides” and “Puddings”. We were not in the mood for a large meal but we did start with 5 “Jerk Chicken Wings” (£5.90; also available in 10/£9.50 and 15/£14), “BBQ jerk chicken wings. Served with 'come-getme' creamy jerk sauce” which, for me, was the star of our meal. The chicken was deliciously juicy and covered with an amazing jerk topping with a large amount of cream sauce that was also very tasty. Yeah, expensive, but quite nice.

Wings

Looking at the menu I was thinking about jerk chicken but remember what I said about having a lighter meal? I decided, regretfully, to have the “Ackee & Saltfish” (£8.50) main (it is available in a smaller portion as a starter), “Jamaica’s national dish! Juicy salt-cod with spring onion, thyme, scotch bonnet & ginger with roti & tomato” which was certainly alright but not exactly a flavour sensation. I did not find it terribly fishy by my companion found that is was. The roti here was wonderfully tender and delicious.

Salt Fish and Ackee

Speaking of my companion, she went for the “Roots Roti-Dilla” from the “Beach Shack Food” section of the menu (all £11.90 including your selection of fries or salad) “Grilled roti, filled with cheese, scotch bonnet, peppers, scallions and pulled jerk chicken” with fries. She found this quite tasty though, again, a bit bland despite the scotch bonnets.

Roti-Dilla Chicken with Chips

We skipped the puddings (remember, something light?) but they looked very interesting.

So, I think we ordered the wrong things. We should have stuck to what we know he does very well: Jerk. We will be back to give this a go as I think we did not experience the best of what is on offer. I will say that is quite expensive for what you get. At almost £38 (including several non-alcoholic cocktails) it was quite expensive considering we only had a small starter and two modestly sized mains…and it was lunch.

Interior

Rating:

Review Date: 2018-04-22


Cuisine: Caribbean

Address: 103 The Street Westfield Stratford City Montfichet Rd London E20 1EJ ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Stratford Underground NRLOGO Stratford

Location: London (England) - Westfield East London

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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3841 6897

URL: http://caribbeansmokehouse.com/