For a taste of traditional Caribbean cuisine in a smart, contemporary setting, it’s worth heading a little off the beaten track to Ayanna’s, one of London’s most distinguished Caribbean restaurants. Once inside, the restaurant is bright and spacious, the decor is unmistakably chic and stylish and, in the corner of the room, you’ll spot a stunning grand piano that’s used for jazz and live music nights.
Having been greeted with a sparkling Champagne cocktail, we took our seats and perused the confidently short menu, with braised oxtail, curry goat and spiced sea bass among the highlights. As recommended by our waiter, I began with whitebait, which was beautifully tender and tossed in Scotch Bonnet pepper to give it a powerful kick – it was delicious. What’s more, the fish was fresh that day from Billingsgate Fish Market. The spicy butterfly prawns were equally delicious, fried in butter, garlic and chilli. We followed with the signature jerk chicken main course – the succulent chicken breast and Ayanna’s own jerk spices really packed a punch. This fiery dish was accompanied by rice and peas, a Caribbean staple. To finish, the Jamaican rum cake and mango and ginger cheesecake were divine.
Each dish was presented beautifully, but most importantly tasted authentic. Ayanna’s is suitable for everything from romantic meals for two to business meetings and formal dinners. It’s great for larger celebrations too, so make sure you book in advance.