***Edit December 2011: Caribbean Spice Jerk Centre has now been taken over by new management and I’m sorry to say, is no longer worth visiting***
I’ve been working my way around the jerk shops of Peckham. Some have been soul destroyingly pants. Spice and Nice Bakery, I’m looking at you. Gabby’s takeaway, you made me sad. It has not been a good couple of weeks on the SE London jerk scene and then, to top it all, I received the earth-shattering news from a friend that the chef at my favourite place, Smokey Jerkey in New Cross, doesn’t use scotch bonnets in his jerk marinade. I mean, what?! I’m still reeling.
It’s enough to plunge a woman into dark mental places but I’ve found salvation in Caribbean Spice, which has sprung up all happy and yellow under an arch near Peckham Rye station. As with most jerk shops and to be fair, most places in Peckham, it’s a no-frills outfit. There’s a kitchen where they cook stuff, a counter for serving it on and a few stools should you wish to hang about to eat it. No messing.
I was down there the day after they opened, default-ordering jerk chicken. It was very good indeed. Wet marinated and suitably sticky with sugar, it necessitated a good bout of finger-licking afterwards. The chilli heat made me sniffle. I wondered if it needed more allspice but when I looked down for my next bite to make sure, it was all gone. Caribbean Spice, welcome to Peckham. You’ll do a roaring trade in such a perfect location. So many times, I’ve come out of that station and before I know it, I’m standing in front of the counter placing an order. At this rate, I’ll need to start taking a different route home.
Caribbean Spice Jerk Centre
Station Arcade, Rye Lane
(It’s in the alleyway that is the side entrance to the station)
Tel: 0207 358 8491