Last weekend was Carla's birthday celebration. She had picked Rice and Things, for a Jamaican feast. Before we left Rich and I were Googling for a menu and the one thing that came up most was the association with Jamie Oliver, who deemed the chef here to be one of the best he'd come across. Not that Oliver's opinion matters a whole lot to me either way but this only heightened the curiosity. Rich and I took the walk from our flat to Cheltenham road, me with a twisted ankle (yes I am a brave soldier) and in about 25 minutes we had arrived.
We had already talked about getting a set menu so we could sample a number of dishes between the 8 of us, and as the second set menu had pretty much all the classics on it it was an easy decision to make. They have a good selection of rum based cocktails which I had on good authority as being fairly strong. I chose to have wine whilst Rich went for beer.
|Ackee and Saltfish|
|Spring Village Fried Chicken|
Our dishes also consisted of jerk chicken, goat curry and a slow cooked beef stew that was a substitute for peppered steak, as well as the above fried chicken, saltfish and ackee all served with well loved rice and peas. Having never had ackee and saltfish I wasn't sure what to expect. Although the saltfish was a strong flavour it was balanced out by the spices and ackee, it kind of reminded me a little of kedgeree in it's flavours, I was converted. The jerk chicken was spicier than I'd had before but so flavoursome, the heat stayed with you for minutes afterwards but was perfectly juicy coming off the drumsticks.
|Slow Cooked Beef Stew|
I am not sure I could pick a favourite dish to be honest they all had their merits. The fried chicken, beef stew, which just fell apart in the mouth, and the jerk chicken possibly topped it for me. But it was great to finally eat more than a mouthful or two of goat curry, rather too fatty for me to order on it's own but it had great depth of flavour that was wonderful when combined with the rice and peas.
|The proof is in the empty plates|
All in all you would be hard pushed to get better comfort food than the dishes that were served up to us. Warming, spicy dishes that were pretty much a hug on a plate, the place might be a little home spun but that is all part of it's charm. With giant portions and our whole table sharing, family style, it was a great evening out and I am looking forward to returning. Check out what else they serve at Rice and Things on their website.
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