It’s time to welcome Usain Bolt to the UK for the World Champs so let’s celebrate the best of Jamaican food in London
Jamaica has been accused of being a laidback place in the past (apparently) so when you find out there was a rustic hippy area in the 70s that attracted all sorts of dreamers, dropouts, rastas and psychedelic for, you have to believe it was the epitome of chilled out.
Spending long days in the hot sun drinking cold lager and sampling the consciousness-expanding plants on the island is an evocative idea and naming your restaurant on Brixton Hill after the area is a risk in some ways: can you live up to the vibe.
Fortunately, Negril has a damn good stab at it, with its little garden area, ackee and sailfish, roti wraps and jerk chicken, and a BYO approach. Also, and perhaps unusually, the include a number of Ital dishes. rastafarians promoted the vegan approach and Negril pays respect with bean burgers and pumpkin curry.
The smoked tofu salad has become something of a local legend and true to the inclusive nature of the original Negril, the restaurant attracts and welcomes all sorts of people.
Jamaica is a melting pot island, a land of native Arawak Indians until the Europeans arrived in the 1600s and forced their culture on to the island. The international trade of the times brought enslaved workers from India, Africa and China and all brought their cooking ways. to leave Jamaica with a broad reaching, fresh, vibrant cuisine, brilliantly represented by Negril.
As the World Athletics Championships arrive, bringing with them the greatest living Jamaican – one Usain Bolt – it would only be right to sample some of the cooking that has made Jamaica, and Mr B for that matter, so great.