I was invited to a wonderful black owned restaurant in London in October. I'm here to tell you all about my experience.
I first visited Big Mike's Calypso Kitchen in 2019 when the C-word wasn't a thing. The customer service, the energy, the food and the portions were on point, so I obviously had to return.
I have tasted some truly sorry jackfruit in my time. The best jackfruit I have had has not been lazily drenched in barbecue sauce and softened until it is nearly pulp-like. At its best, jackfruit is fairly absorbent of flavour and mimics the look of pulled meat fairly well. I am used to eating jackfruit in the 'pulled' form, but I think I am now converted.
The generous portion of jackfruit bites were far from oily, a blessing for someone who feels ill at the sight of oil stained paper at the bottom of the food container. I opted for the vegan mayonnaise as a condiment (I was offered a choice of about four or five dipping sauces). The coating of the jackfruit was crisp and not dense at all.
Taste wise, the bites were impressive. Did they taste like meat? Slightly, but we have to get away from wanting every vegan option to taste like meat. I liked them for what they were. The jackfruit that I have been introduced to in the past - the sorry, soggy, cooked-in-vain jackfruit I've eaten before cannot be compared to these.
The stringiness of the fruit was still there. The bites were succulent and whatever they were seasoned with definitely was released with every bite. Everything I am saying is just testament to how well they were cooked; they were as firm as I would have liked them to be. The mayo was a good condiment choice, but next time I will go for Big Mike's signature sauce as the kick would have taken the bites up a notch.
Chana Curry in Dhal Puri Roti
The first thing I thought when I saw the chana roti was "wow. It is huge." Not one to be intimidated by anything, I took it down.
Ahh, the roti. The dhal puri layer between the layers of flaky roti. Beautiful. It was soft and buttery but still held its integrity until the end. The chana was so well cooked and seasoned! The spices used were so aromatic and the chana (chickpeas), although they had maintained their shape, were creamy in the mouth once broken down.
I would have preferred the chana to be slightly more salty, but this is down to personal preference and can easily be fixed by the customer. I chose not to add more salt because really, appeasing the salt fiend in me is a hindrance to my health anyway.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Big Mike's Calypso Kitchen. The customer service was fantastic. Very strong dishes. My friend enjoyed her food very much, especially the Mac and Cheese which contains a whopping four cheeses.
I would highly recommend the dishes I tried as well as the Bajan fishcakes, which I tried last year and really enjoyed.
Make sure you show this place some love - you won't regret it. Place an order. Tell them that Sio sent you.
Big Mike's is an easy place to find (it's in BoxPark Croydon). If you want to know more about them, check out their website: https://www.bigmikesck.com/homef753531c