As diverse and rich in restaurants London is, there are certain places that stand out from the rest whenever the conversation arises. If someone asks for the best Chinese, you say Hakkasan; the best steak, you say Hawksmoor, the best burger, you say Patty & Bun; and the best Caribbean… is Cottons Camden.
Cotton’s Rum Shack in Camden is a Caribbean themed restaurant bar that salutes three distinctive regions of the Carib - St Lucia, Margarita and Barbados. As the name suggests (and there are no gold stars for guessing), rum plays a major role. In fact, Cotton’s holds the largest collection of rum in Europe (no fewer than 250 different types). Together, these componoents conspire to produce an authentic West-Indian experience.
The menu is made up of a combination of dishes that are likely to be found in any Caribbean restaurant, alongside some house favourites. Those unlucky enough to have suffered through a meal with me will be fully aware that I could probably write the book on indecision. This isn’t much of a problem at Cotton’s, as dotted throughout the menu is the presence of possibly my favourite two words on a menu (behind bacon and steak) – ‘selection’ and ‘platter’. These two words are bail-outs for anyone who, like me, likes far too much of everything to only have three dishes.
At Cotton’s I started off with the Island Mezze Platter - The delicacies of several islands on one plate…Salt cod fritters, chokra, creole shrimps, aubergine caviar and Trinidadian roti. A super dish and a must try for seafood lovers. The Mixed Jerk Meat Grill Platter followed this - Cottons signature dish of jerked pork ribs, chicken pieces, pork kofta and chicken wings, rice n peas, jerk sauce and fried plantain. Every component of this dish was beautifully made, rich in flavor and the hearty portions mean fights won’t break out with dinner accomplices (a real possibility with me).
We rounded of the meal with the Pineapple and apple crumble with rum custard, vanilla ice cream and candied pineapple. I absolutely loved this dish – it was like some hybrid matrimony with pudding from my child-hood and the Caribbean. The crumble was large and crunchy and the sweet fruit and vanilla completed an exotic take on a classic dish. I washed this down with the aptly named ‘Killer Doppi’ – a 4 story homage to rum - containing different flavours, types of rum and increasing levels inebriation – super stuff! The menu also contains a vegetarian section (for those in denial), a few seafood options, as well as set and party menus for larger groups. There are also plenty of cocktails to peruse and such is the vastness of the rum collection, you can go here every day of the year and never have same cocktail twice.
Now in its 30th year, Cottons Rhum Shack still maintains the title of ‘London’s Best Caribbean Restaurant’. Whether you’re making your way through the 250 strong rum collection or enjoying the authentic Caribbean cuisine, Cottons is the place for you. Cottons sits at the quieter end of Camden, on the Chalk Farm side, which creates the perfect setting for almost any occasion. Cottons has been the first thought in Caribbean restaurants for decades now, and it would seem this is unlikely to change.
MORE ON COTTONS RHUM SHACK
Venue Page Here - For More info, opening times and menus