Restaurant review: Caribsoul, George Street

By - Friday 16th October, 2015

Marcia Henry-Morgan enjoys her jerk chicken with rice and peas, but suggests you don’t ask for ice and lemon with your glass of tap-water

46 George Street, Croydon CR0 1PB

Time from East Croydon:  5 minutes

Chicken with rice and peas.
Photo author’s own.

I have been told that Croydon has a cornucopia of eateries and this I have seen for myself. From takeaways and restaurants to cake shops and niche dessert dining, there is something for every taste and every pocket. And they’re not all based in Croydon’s South End – Croydon has plenty of other locations where great food can be found. George Street is a good example: here you can find Bella Italia, Scrumpchinos, Miso’s Noodle Bar, and Café Nero if you fancy a coffee and slice of red velvet cake. There is also the newest addition to George Street: Caribsoul.

Caribsoul, which specialises in a fusion of Caribbean and American soul food, landed in Croydon about six months ago and is based where the old Wimpy used to be. Its location is rather handy; a stroll away from East Croydon train station, a stone’s throw away from Park Street and Katharine Street where many buses come in and out of Croydon, and across the road from the George Street tram stop.

Just make sure you brush off the tell-tale pattie crumbs!

Personally, I set a high bar when it comes to Caribbean food as I am a British born Jamaican with amazing cooks aplenty in my family… everyone in my family cooks regardless of gender, so if I am eating out Caribbean then it needs to step up to the plate – pun intended!

I have ducked in to Caribsoul on a few occasions when on my lunch break and strapped for time; they offer a takeaway service, which is very handy. So, if like me, time is often of the extreme essence and you need to eat whilst walking back to the office, then grab a pattie – you won’t be disappointed. If you’ve never had a pattie, think pasty with a Caribbean attitude. Now, I will be honest: a pattie is very hard for me to say no to, especially when it’s accompanied by a can of ginger beer. The patties at Caribsoul are reasonably priced and filling; just make sure you brush off the tell-tale pattie crumbs before you get back to work!

I was more than a little shocked at £1 for ice and a slice in the tap-water

After trying the patties, I thought it might be nice to take a load off and dine in. During the day, Caribsoul has a £6.50 lunchtime special menu. For my first eat-in experience, I chose the jerk chicken with rice and peas, with a glass of tap-water. I was more than a little shocked that they wanted to charge me £1 for ice and a slice of lemon in the tap-water so, unsurprisingly, I elected to have it without. It gave a whole new meaning to ‘Watergate’.

On a more positive note, I didn’t have to wait long for my food, which was presented nicely with a salad garnish. The jerk chicken was a wet jerk, which was not an issue for me at all. What I mean by this is that it’s marinated jerk chicken in gravy rather than the dry-rub jerk cooked on a barbecue, which is typically found at carnivals.

Just the right amount of heat dancing over my taste buds

The dish was nicely spiced and sent just the right amount of heat dancing over my taste buds. As I said, I judge Caribbean food to a high standard, and this wasn’t as good as my mum’s, but if you want a taste of the Caribbean without having to do the dishes, then you might want to swing by Caribsoul. For me, it was like having a midweek Sunday dinner without the hassle, and I’m sure anyone who is West Indian will agree that you can’t really make chicken with rice and peas for one.

But Caribsoul offers far more than just rice and peas dishes. As I said, the menu is fusion and, for my next visit, I really want to try the chicken with waffles, in a serious Marcia versus Food challenge!

Marcia Henry-Morgan

Marcia Henry-Morgan

I am a marketeer by profession, originally from the East Midlands and moved just over a year ago to Croydon for work. I love food, whether it’s eating out or cooking at home. London has a lot to offer in the way of work and play but I am keen to discover what is available to me locally as I feel you don’t have to always head off to the city to have fun.

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  • Jonny Rose

    Yo Marcia – glad to see you finally made it to Caribsoul. Similarly, when I go there they have had to be (silently) judged in light of my own family’s Michelin star-level Jamaican cooking; it’s a tough mantle to bear but I’d say they succeed. I’ve yet to eat a dish or have an experience there that is less than 4*. Next time try their curried goat – it’s divine!

  • Patrick Blewer

    Hi all. No windies connection bar touring Barbados as a young cricketer then returning many years later to get married. Loved the food both times. Only regular place for me has been a very good carribean shack in spittalfields where I work. This sounds pretty good. Cheers for recommend. Do they do spicy salt fish fritters?

  • Marcia Henry-Morgan

    Hi Patrick, sorry about the delay in response I don’t recall seeing salt fish fritters on the menu. Johnny curry goat, that is something I take more than seriously, I don’t muck about when it comes to that.

  • Tamara Dako