One of my biggest pet peeves about food blogging, halal food in particular, is that there are so many restaurants to cover; it’s near impossible to visit the same place twice. Loads of establishments seem to be opening up all the time, adding to the already super long list of halal restaurants that I’ve yet to write about, and I’m always keen to discover them.
One particular example would be a Caribbean restaurant I visited a few years back. It was my first time experiencing the cuisine, and I just loved all the complex and spicy flavours, so I put it on my list to revisit. Fast-forward four years, BW and I had a non-blogging dinner date and I was in the mood for some delicious Caribbean food, only to woefully find that the restaurant had closed – ugh! Thankfully, an email dropped by to inform me of a relatively new Caribbean place based in Finsbury Park, and that is how I came across Lulu’s Caribbean Cuisine.
Their menu was quite varied with the likes of saltfish fritters, fried plantains, and a sweet potato cheese bake (omg), but seeing as it was just the two of us, we decided to stick to their staples as recommended by the waitress.
Sorry about the picture quality guys, it was dark in there!
This was the best dish of the evening. Biting into the succulent chicken leg, I was instantly hit by the heat from the scotch bonnet. It wasn’t an overbearing spiciness, but there was a little nose-dribbling action going on (sorry guys!), especially if you got the more saucy side of the chicken. But wait, there was more! It had this lovely smokiness from the grill that combined well with the sweetness from the marinade. A great dish and next time, I’ll order a main portion of this.
Cod fishcakes that had been mixed with a few herbs and spring onions, and then deep-fried. They were okay, but I couldn’t taste the cod at all which was a shame. The tamarind jam added a nice tartness and had been smothered over the fritters.
There definitely wasn’t anything “baby” about these ribs – they were massive! Unfortunately, the ribs were a little tough and we found it quite difficult getting the meat off the bone, but the dark sauce that enveloped the ribs had a nice sweet and tangy taste to it.
And those were just the starters. Oh my gosh, we still had mains to come so I did what Halal Girl would do and undid the button on my jeans.
A caribbean-style burrito stuffed with a rich goat curry, and served with an assortment of sauces on the side. The roti itself was a little dry, and the filling was a little lacklustre in comparison to the other dishes, but it had a good meaty flavour. The accompanying chutneys were really good – coconut, tamarind, chana, and mixed vegetables with pumpkin.
A generous portion of slow cooked, rich, and deliciously meaty oxtail curry arrived to the table with a serving of rice and peas on the side. The meat was still attached to the bone and was dotted with little pearls of soft fat that added a great texture to the already-soft beef and added some body to the curry. The butter beans gave the curry some texture and had soaked up some of that tasty meat juices! Although, some pieces were a little tougher to eat than others, this dish was another firm favourite of ours.
Creamy mac and cheese that had been cooked with red peppers to give it a little kick, and had a slightly crisp layer of cheese on top. Mmmmm.
Overall, the bill amounted to £50, excluding drinks and service, so £25 each. Considering this was a casual weeknight date, it seemed a little steep but when looking at their generous portion sizes, we had definitely over ordered. My advice would be to either order a lot of starters to share, or just go straight for the mains with a couple of sides, otherwise there will be plenty of leftovers.
For a first-timer, BW really enjoyed his Caribbean meal, and even polished off most of the dishes we had ordered. For me, Lulu’s was something different that I haven’t had in a long time and is a great option for Iftar should you be in the area and craving some comfort food. The flavours in every item we ordered were complex and moreish, and even though some of the dishes we ordered lacked in the cooking, such as the lamb ribs and goat roti, we still had a satisfying dinner. Just be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in!