A Caribbean Food Fest at Sugar Dumplin:
“Hey Fattie Bum Bum, Little Sugar Dumplin”- I’m old enough to remember Carl Malcolm’s 1975 hit. It was a blast of Caribbean sunshine from the past so with the winter weather kicking in it was great to be invited by Caribbean restaurant group Sugar Dumplin to celebrate the opening of their brand new site in Wembley. You might have seen owner/co-founder Norris Panton recently appearing on Sunday Brunch to demonstrate some of their dishes and drinks. We’ve been promised jerk chicken, slaw, goat curry, and chickpea and butternut squash and I’m hungry!The interior has the feel of an authentic Caribbean rumshack. It’s lively and fun as is the steel drum player serenading us with a selection of hits. I’m drinking a Reggae Rum Punch, a delicious rum, coconut and tropical juice cocktail and after several I’m feeling positively cheery and ready to party.In the interests of sobriety, I’m munching on a big plate of fried Plantain which makes the perfect accompaniment to the cocktail. But owner Norris has other ideas offering me a taste of Admiral’s J Tiki-Fire overproof spicy rum. Essentially it is a caramel flavoured firewater (overproof means with an alcohol content of greater than 57.5%…). By the time the gospel singers turn up I’m ready to join the choir and have to be restrained by my guest who reminds me that this is a party and not to ruin it for the others.Fortunately just as I’m going to get my inner Whoopi Goldberg on the food turns up. Jerk Chicken is baked with a smoky flavour and some delicate spicing.Sweet potato fries are ridiculously moreish whilst Jamaican Patties are nicely spiced and have a good quality flaky pastry.A rich butternut squash and chickpea curry has a real depth of flavour and is one of my favourite dishes on the menu.Rice and peas is a great match with both the butternut squash and a deeply warming Goat curry. I have a funny feeling that we are going to be seeing a lot more of Sugar Dumplin on our high streets and in our shopping malls. It makes a welcome change from the sea of identikit Italian offers and with a bit of tweaking could easily become a student/family favourite. The branding is distinctive, lively and attractive and brings a touch of colour to the rather soulless Wembley Park Boulevard.
Unit 106, Level 2, Wembley Park Boulevard, HA9 0FD