I’ve been attempting to visit Caribbean restaurant Negril for yonks. Like, years yonks. The first failed attempt came when a Brixton restaurant crawl (yep, restaurant crawl – I also did one in Peckham) was cut short. Two years passed with no success. Then I started working opposite the damn place. Surely my time had come? Opening times were duly noted and I skippy skipped over there at lunchtime the next day to find it…shut. Turns out the opening hours written on the sign outside are completely inaccurate. Ace.
Anyway the other evening I ended up in there on the spur of the moment. I was drunk. I was hungry. I was nearby. The outside tables were rammed with punters on a beautiful sunny evening; excitement levels and expectations were high. We ordered a half jerk chicken meal, sat back with a couple of beers and waited to revel in the very definition of delayed gratification.
That didn’t happen. It didn’t happen because that jerk was poor. The chicken had barely a taste of allspice, hardly any chilli heat to speak of and a skin that was really quite odd; a little bit like eating tracing paper. Mostly however, it was just incredibly dry. So dry it was actually hard to chew and swallow. There were two hot sauces; one is worth mentioning as having quite an unapologetic shitload of scotch bonnets in it. The slaw was…meh; way too much mayonnaise. The salad was a salad.
If the food had been any good, I could let the presentation go, but seeing as it wasn’t, I’m going to get annoyed about the fact that they’ve tried to make it more restaurant-y in style by putting everything in bowls and using *gasp!* a proper plate. The best jerk chicken in London comes in a takeaway carton, hacked into pieces with a cleaver, shoved on top of a mound of rice and peas, hot sauce squirted carelessly on the side. Behold my meal at Tasty Jerk…
Why is Negril apparently so legendary amongst Brixton locals? Perhaps it’s gone downhill? Frankly, I’m baffled. And, after a 3 year wait, also extremely deflated. Come to think of it, I’ve never found any really good jerk in Brixton. Does it even exist?
132 Brixton Hill
Tel: 020 8674 8798