Jerk City is very much styled as a local café, rather than a restaurant. No doubt it does a roaring central-London trade, but patrons come here for the food, not the decor or comfortable ambiance. It even states that it’s a “family restaurant” with no alcohol on sale, though I’m pretty sure I heard the waitress listing Guinness among the canned beverages on offer!
“Some might question the logic of Time Out choosing something other than the eponymous jerk chicken to feature in their top 100”
Some might question the logic of Time Out choosing something other than the eponymous jerk chicken to feature in their top 100 dishes in London, but we’re not here to argue, but to sample the mutton roti.
Roti is a dish associated more with the East than the West Indies, with (I’d assume) practically any filling wrapped in something between a flat-bread and a crêpe. In this case, it’s mutton curry that bulges inside these ones.
The bread is dense, almost dumpling-like, giving an overall feel similar to lamb stew. Vegetables and meat gleam in a thick gravy that seems like it might clot if left long enough – not necessarily a bad thing, but unclear if it’s a good thing either. There’s a substantial quantity of meat, and this makes for a hearty, warming winter meal, with the mildest of spicy heat.
I might come back to Jerk City for a quick, cheap bite, just off Oxford Street. But frankly it’s clear that, in a city with a large Caribbean population, there are better joints to get really great regional food (particularly jerk!), and with a good deal more genuine atmosphere.