Review: Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse in Westfield Stratford
- Credit: Archant
We know winter is just around the corner so if you fancy a little sunshine back in your life Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse can make you feel you’re on holiday without having to step on a plane.
As soon as you enter the eatery in Westfield Stratford you are greeted with melodic reggae music from the owner Levi Root’s homelands of Jamaica.
Levi, a reggae singer, shot to fame after he succesfully pitched his ‘reggae reggae sauce’ which used his grandmother’s recipe on the BBC’s Dragons Den.
Since then he has become a culinary success with not just sauces but sodas, snacks and recipe books.
As a fellow Jamaican I was happy to scrutinise the menu to ensure the dishes on offer were authentic and I’m happy to say they are.
Why does this matter you might ask?
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It is very important because there is nothing worse than being duped into believing your are eating a country’s cuisine when you’re not.
The starters had a lovely choice of dishes to suit all palates including vegetarian, pescatarian and vegan which I found refreshing.
I’m a big fan of ackee (a type of Caribbean fruit) so I was delighted to see it on the menu.
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It resembles scrambled eggs but tastes far superior.
Unfortunately it’s quite expensive to buy in the UK and is only available in a can unlike in Jamaica where it’s is freshly picked off a tree.
Ackee is traditionally served with salt fish and dumplings (fried balls made with flour and water with the option of cornflour) and Levi stuck to the tradition.
Alongside peppers, onions and thyme (a herb that is a salient part of Jamaican cooking) my serving was cooked perfectly I could taste the different ingredients with every mouthful.
The dumpling was a bit on the dry side but a welcomed accompaniment.
My dining partner went for the Jerk chicken wings which were marinated in traditional Jerk season and made In a Jerk pan (a traditional cooking drum), he was also happy with his choice saying it was moist and flavoursome.
For our mains we both opted for traditional rice and peas (at Levi’s the peas were kidney beans) while I enjoyed curry goat (yes it really is made from goat)and he endeavoured brown stew chicken.
Curious as to which curry seasons was used for my dish I was informed it was Betapac which is one of the most popular curry seasoning.
The meat was tender and flavoursome the rice was also cooked perfectly and again I could taste the thyme, pimento and coconut that are staple ingredients.
My dining partner enjoyed his stew chicken but said it could have had a touch more pepper.
I told him that’s what pepper sauces in a bottle are for as we all have differing tolerance to hot stuff.
I tried it and it was fine for me but admittedly I have no tolerance when it comes to pepper!!
I hasten to add we enjoyed two sides of fried plantain (a fruit from the banana family) and JA Mac ‘n’ cheese both were authentic and delicious.
After our starters and mains, which were of generous portions, we decided to share desserts.
Again the portions were generous and day I say it but can easily be shared between two people.
Pineapple upside Down cake with two scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream – highly recommended.
The restaurant has a fantastic range of drinks to wash down your meal and it would have been rude not to try a reggae rum punch which consisted of Jamaican Wray and Nephew rum with fruit juices.
We also loved the flavours from Ting-A ling-Aling which is again rum with a grapefruit soda (called Ting) and strawberries.
All in all take a trip to the smokehouse and you can enjoy a taste of Caribbean at a very reasonable price right here in the UK.
For more information about Levi Roots Carribean Smokehouse including opening times and to see the full menu range click here.