Updated: May 19
Long story short, Jamaican food is life.
The Dutchie is an underground crowd pleaser a short walk away from East Croydon station. I mention this because if you decide to visit The Dutchie, you should use public transport to get there. Trying to find parking in Croydon is the most awful activity and at so many points, I was so close to leaving my car in the middle of road.
Anyway, the restaurant.
The restaurant has a basement, quirky feel about it. I couldn't see any windows whilst I was there. It was evening time when I arrived so maybe they were there but I just didn't notice. The tables were set and ready with the key condiments (Red Pepper and Sweet Chilli Sauce) and clean cutlery. The staff were very helpful and not intrusive at all. They made their presence known but didn't interrupt the meal every two minutes.
My first course was none other than the Roti and Chickpea Curry. I actually preferred this dish over my main course (I can eat roti all day) because the FLAVOURS! The creaminess of the curry, the softness of the chickpeas and the delicious sweetness the sweet potato offered...a faultless meal. The Dhalpuri roti skin which was filled with split peas, was smooth on the tongue and melted in my mouth. Excellent starter dish. It was sized well and I can't imagine that the average person would struggle to finish a main after eating it.
Main and Sides
I ordered the Coconut Fish which came with rice and peas and plantain. I also ordered - ahem - bammy, plantain and 'festiballs'. Now, we have a lot to get through, so I'm not going to give you too much fluff.
The Coconut Fish, I was slightly disappointed by. Silly me, I didn't read the menu properly and didn't realise that the fish would be battered. The batter, despite being described as 'light' on the menu was heavier than I would have liked it to be. There was too much of it. I didn't like that the coconut sauce was smothered over the battered fish. I would have preferred for the sauce to be on the side or that the fish to have been marinated in a coconut sauce so that the flavours would have penetrated the fish as opposed to the batter, which wasn't as appetising when slightly soggy. The actual fish within the batter, was flaky and cooked very well.
The rice and peas were delicious. Perfect, in fact. I know everyone cooks rice and peas differently but I like them with kidney beans and non-bullet rice. The rice has to be skinny and basmati like for me, basically. Lastly, I must be able to taste the coconut milk. Check on everything. Well done, Dutchie, my love. Great portion size, too. I also loved the serving bowl it came in. Pretty.
Plantain will always be one of the highlights of my meal, so I'm usually unlikely to complain about it. These fried slices of plantain had a lovely brown hue and crisp edges. They tasted very fresh.
Bammy! I'd never tried it before but was always intrigued by it. Bammy is a thick flatbread made with cassava. I think I needed some sauce to eat this with, because although it was fairly moist, I had a lot of dry (dry by nature and design - not dry because of lack) food on my plate. It had a slightly sour taste to it that reminded me of 'pap' (Nigerians will know what this is - I hate pap) but it was much tastier. I can't compare bammy to any food out there in the mainstream, so you'll just have to try it for yourself. I would eat it again.
Lastly, the 'festiballs'. If you've every eaten festivals before, these were the same as them, just shaped like balls. They were very pleasant-tasting. Like harder dumplings with a sweet taste. I preferred this over the bammy, side-wise. Very well cooked and well presented.
In conclusion, I really should have ordered coleslaw as well. Oh well. Okay, really. What a fantastic meal. I definitely enjoyed the vast majority of it, and the components that were good were really good, for example, the roti and chickpea curry.
Yes, I would visit again. I'd be very happy to do so!
Have you been to The Dutchie before? If not, here is your chance.