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Abigail Spooner gets a taste of the Caribbean at a vibrant three-course brunch
On Blackfriars Road in south-east London, and conveniently located a stone’s throw from Southwark and Waterloo stations.
Chef patron Michael Hanbury has brought the rich flavours of the Caribbean archipelago Antilles to the London restaurant scene. On the culturally diverse menu, you can expect French, African, Dutch and Chinese influences among others. I’m here to try the new three-course brunch, which is running every Saturday from 12-3pm, complete with tropical cocktails and live music.
It's set in a converted 18th-century coaching house – high ceilings, exposed oak beams and lots of natural light give the space a bright, airy and welcoming feel.
We start with a couple of cocktails that immediately give us a taste of the tropics. I opt for a refreshingly fruity concoction of gin, peach liqueur, pineapple and spicy mango. In true Caribbean spirit, my friend sips on a punchy rum cocktail with cherry syrup. The bar offers over 100 different types of rum, so you’ll certainly be spoilt for choice!
The sharing tapas-style starters give us a taste of the vibrant and varied food on offer. Juicy grilled prawns marinated in an Antillean salsa verde are served with a tangy avocado salsa. Charred chicken skewers are tender on the inside and crisp on the outside, whilst mackerel escovitch is served with lightly pickled and julienned vegetables. Last but certainly not least, a colourful watermelon and heritage beetroot salad is fresh, earthy and packed with flavour.
The brunch menu offers a choice of four main courses, but we are both drawn to the barracuda, something neither of us has seen on a menu before. It arrives perfectly cooked, with crisp skin and a full-flavoured flesh that flakes away with ease. The fish is served with a herby mojo sauce, plantain sofrito and cou-cou (a traditional Caribbean cornmeal side).
The sharing desserts can only be described as sunshine on a plate. There are a couple of generously soaked mini rum babas (with extra syrup on the side for dunking!), a decadent chocolate torte with passion fruit and, our favourite, an ultra-moist carrot cake with pineapple. An irresistibly smooth scoop of Guinness ice cream brings everything together and delivers a boozy kick.
Antillean strikes just the right balance between high-end food and casual dining. Considering welcome cocktails are included, the three-course brunch menu is reasonably priced at £35 per person. Gather some friends, go for a Saturday stroll along the Thames and round it off with a Pan-Caribbean feast.
Tasting my way around the flavoursome array of starters.
Visit antillean.co.uk for more information.