Reviewed by Sabrina Fancy
I recently experienced a taste of the Caribbean when I dined at Cottons Restaurant in Notting Hill (about a 3 minute walk from Notting Hill tube station); there is also one in Camden and Shoreditch. The restaurant has a very laid back feel about it, playing calypso and reggae music and the staff were all dressed in colourful Caribbean shirts!
We were greeted by a friendly member of staff within a few minutes and seated right away.
We started off with the cocktails of a Mai Thai and a Daiquiri, which were very impressive! They were quite large and beautifully presented with a little umbrella sticking out of the top (just like you would picture if you were on holiday in the Caribbean). They certainly did not skimp on the alcohol either and they tasted delicious!
The menu itself was extensive but there was a good selection of meat and fish dishes and it was difficult selecting what to eat since everything looked so yummy!
We decided on a starter of jerk chicken. The portion size that we received was very big for a starter! Let me say that this was one of the best jerk chicken’s I have ever had. It had the right amount of spice and sauce and was cooked to perfection! In the past I have found the jerk chicken to be a bit dry, but this was lovely! I am still dreaming about this now! I would have been quite satisfied consuming this all night, it was that good!
The next starter was the scallops, which was infused with rum and molasses. It was very tasty as well. I liked that Cottons uses unusual ingredients to make their food really stand out.
Next were our mains. I decided on the fish and seafood platter, which had scallops, king prawns, squid, mussel’s monkfish tails. I was curious as to how they could put a Caribbean twist on this and they pulled it off beautifully with a lime and coconut garnish and the fried plantains on the side. If you are a seafood lover – this is a must for you!
I tried my companion’s dish, (who is of Guyanese and Jamaican origin) which was the Guyanese 48-hour slow cooked beef pepper pot with fondant potatoes. He confirmed the authenticity of the food and that it tasted like something he would eat back home!
Despite being very full we could not resist trying the desert! On the recommendation of the staff, we had the Passion Fruit Soufflé with cinnamon crumbs and candied ginger along with the Mango baked Cheesecake, which had guava sorbet, passion fruit, and honey and spiced granola. They were both lovely but the passion fruit soufflé was articulately refreshing!
Overall, the food was good and prepared well. The unique thing about Cottons is that it’s Caribbean cuisine incorporate things from Trinidad and Guyana and not just Jamaica. It really tries to take Caribbean food to a new level which I liked, however this is reflected in the price as it is more expensive than many restaurants, with the average price of a main being around £20.
The service was laid back, but hey – it’s a Caribbean restaurant with a similar ambiance!
The strength of this restaurant is in its food. It does a great job in its food preparation, which tastes home cooked. One would never know that Cottons is part of a small chain of restaurants! Cottons also goes out of its way to make sure you have a Caribbean experience with its little touches and the ambiance.
I rate Cottons Notting hill a 3.5/5 and am looking forward to having the Jerk chicken again!
For more information, opening times, to view menus or to book a table visit www.cottons-restaurant.co.uk/notting-hill.
Cottons Notting Hill, 157-159 Notting Hill Gate, London, W11 3LF | 0207 243 0090