Calypso Kitchen are offering up hearty Caribbean dishes to literally feed the masses, writes Sammy Milton
Caribbean food has slowly but surely been making its way into Bristol’s food scene. Whilst it used to be limited to certain areas of the city such as St Paul’s or Easton, places such as Biblos started to pop into the mainstream a few years back, bringing with it regular interest and regular customers. Biblos has been doing so well that they’ve opened up another two sites (whilst sadly shutting their flag ship in St Werburghs) – another Biblos hut in the city centre and Calypso Kitchen in the buzzy district of Wapping Wharf.
When we were invited along to try their menu, I was all up for it. The fact that the day of the meal fell on the hottest day of the year so far made it even better – Caribbean food on a boiling hot day by the harbour? Why not.
When we arrived at Wapping Wharf, it was a hotbed of activity. People were sat down by the water, takeaway food on laps, already three sheets to the wind – heaven. We ducked out of the sun and made our way inside. Cool calm greeted us at the door, and we were immediately seated at a corner table by the manager.
Drinks ordered and menus perused, we took in the space. Done up like a Caribbean shop, there were metal tables, high ceilings and a sort opens kitchen. We ordered starters and mains together and sat back to enjoy the bustling atmosphere around us.
When we arrived at Wapping Wharf, it was a hotbed of activity. People were sat down by the water, takeaway food on laps, already three sheets to the wind – heaven
To kick off, we went purely meaty. Very BBQ chicken wings with a spicy sauce arrived arranged prettily on a plate and packed a real punch. Messy, of course, but all part of the fun, these were big, meaty and delicious. Next up we tried the jerk pork ribs. Again, these didn’t disappoint. Seriously substantial and so tender they melted in our mouths, we were most impressed and demolished them within minutes.
So far, so good. Then, something happened. It is at this point that I’d like to state that it was the nicest day Bristol had seen for quite some time, which naturally sends people flocking to the Harbourside eating establishments, and suddenly, what seemed like hundreds of people came through the door to eat in and get takeaway.
We’d literally just ordered our mains, but sadly they got lost in the hordes of people that had ordered too. The kitchen were also a chef down, an unavoidable disaster on such a busy evening, so none of this was their fault. The manager apologised profusely and sent over more drinks. Finally, around an hour later, our mains arrived.
I’d chosen the king prawn gumbo – a sumptuous dish of huge monster prawns with ackee and spinach in a tomato sauce on a generous bed of rice and peas. I have to say, I was very impressed. The portion sizes are ample yet not overwhelming, and I enjoyed it very much. My friend said the same about his curry goat with butterbeans – tender cooked goat meat on the bone with beans, slaw and more of those tasty rice and peas. He declared it delicious, clearly not minding the wait and between us we made short work of our mains.
We declined desserts, not because they didn’t look nice, purely because it was getting late. All in all, we had a very enjoyable evening at Calypso Kitchen, and whilst the wait was a bit of a pain, it wasn’t the end of the world. I dare say, if the sun ever comes back out, I’ll be at the back of the queue with the rest of them, clambering to get Caribbean take away to eat by the water.