– THE LOCATION –
” Bright and tropical much to mimic a tropical paradise ”
The location is first on the list because it’s honestly show stopping. Having been to the quaint and cute smaller branch of Camden more times than I can count, I was pleasantly surprised and dare I say overwhelmed by the upscale of the branch on the bank. Camden has a real soft spot in my heart for the quality control every single time and the truly lovely staff and service, BUT Vauxhall might just be my new favourite.
Located on the bank by Vauxhall bridge it sits in a parade of Michelin-esque restaurants but the only one of its Caribbean kind. It can be a little hard to find if you are unfamiliar with the area but once you arrive, you’ll see it was worth the trip. Both the interior and the exterior are bright and tropical, much to mimic a tropical paradise. Outside sits an array of seating options shadowed by an umbrella each which I imagine to be quite the spot under the swelter of Summer, while sipping on an ice cold rum punch.
– THE PRICE – ££
I often describe myself as a savvy sally when it comes to bargains and getting a bang for your buck. However, on the subject of food, I am finding that as my pallet is maturing, I am becoming more of the opinion that most of the time “you get what you pay for”. I typically buy Caribbean food from my local takeaway fairly often and spend £5-7 on a decent meal, when considering this, Cottons does fall into the pricer end of that averaging at £15+ for a meal excluding drinks. However this price can be justified by it’s top notch quality, wholesome flavour and large portion sizes. Seldom will a meal leave you feeling less than satisfied at Cottons.
That being said, if you want a taste of the Caribbean for a fraction of the price Cottons Vauxhall also offer something they like to call ‘Jerk Madness’ on Mondays and Tuesdays. On my visit this time, I took advantage on the Tuesday receiving anything from the Jerk Grill menu for a whopping 50% off, that’s £8.25 for my meal of choice. Did I hear someone say Bargain? I think so.
(They also offer an affordable Bottomless Tropical Brunch on Saturdays, with one main meal and bottomless rum or Prosecco for an hour or two which I am yet to try. A Battle of the Bottomless brunch review segment will definitely becoming soon since they have become all the range in recent years! What do you think? Let me know below! )
“As I bit into the Jerk pork ribs, I knew I had been converted”
– THE TASTE –
As mentioned in the Island Pot review, I am very particular when it comes to Caribbean food. Growing up eating nothing but this, I know exactly what it should smell, taste and look like. Cottons do try to adapt their menu for a slightly wider clientele which is fair enough, however often when restaurants try to adapt their menu they go far beyond the cuisine and away from the authenticity. I am delighted to say that Cottons strikes the right balance and fusion of both.
I tried something new and ordered Jerk Chicken and Jerk Pork Ribs with rice and peas, coleslaw and a side of Mac and Cheese. Now I would like to note two things, 1) I don’t like Ribs 2) I am VERY particular when it comes to Mac and Cheese, often only liking my own.
Upon arrival, the presentation of the food was 10/10 the portion size was very generous, all that was left to review was the taste. As I bit into the Jerk Pork ribs, I knew I had been converted, there was definitely a party on my tastebuds that Tuesday night. The whole meal ruptured with flavour, with a tinge of spice but nothing too dramatic or overpowering, simply the perfect combination of sauce and heat to enhance the flavours. The rice and peas also followed suit packing a distinctive but tasteful punch and as for the Mac and Cheese, not too bad at all – in fact I would have it again and that’s certainly something coming from me.
– THE SERVICE/STAFF –
This is a new addition to my food reviews simply because it’s a must. I chose Cottons on this particular Tuesday for my cousins birthday and I know many readers will agree with me when I say that it’s very hard to find a birthday restaurant that shows genuine care about a specific celebration and goes out of their way to make it extra special.
We were a humble party of just 5 but were still catered to individually, whether we had specific questions about the menu/ingredients or anything else. A staff member even went the extra mile to cater to my young Goddaughter with a sweet treat to make her smile. It really is the little things that count.
Special mention to our waitress Sonia who helped to make our visit special with jokes, service with a smile and attention to detail. We also bought a cake from outside to surprise my cousin with, when we were ready to have the cake the waiters pumped celebratory birthday music from the speakers and arrived with the cake with a beautiful fiery sparkler of their own accord to add to the ambience of the occasion.
Great job Cottons, if this is anything to go by – I will back here for the next family celebration pronto.
Take a trip down to your local Cottons soon for a little taste of the Caribbean, It hasn’t disappointed me yet!