We visited the now annual Jerk Cookout Competition yesterday, held in the beautiful gardens at the Horniman museum. These gardens are a favourite destination for walks and are conveniently only five minutes from our house. The festival began last year and features fifteen of London’s best Caribbean restaurants.
We were really hungry when we arrived and the cooking was in full swing. Huge barrels converted into barbecues lined the perimeter of the field, the smoke carrying a mixture of spicy scents making our mouths water. There was a wide range of ‘jerk’ on offer; chicken, pork and snapper alongside dishes like curry goat and rice and peas. Apparently, ‘if you can eat it, you can jerk it!’
I decided to stay simple and ordered jerk chicken with salad which was delicious; perfectly grilled chicken, succulent and juicy with excellent balancing of spices. The chef had managed to capture the fruity flavour of habanero chillies without keeping too much of the heat. The chicken was then given a liberal slathering of spicy sauce which again was lip smackingly good.
It’s a shame we didn’t have time to sample more before the heavens opened and we retreated hastily to the local pub. Although it is obvious that the festival is fairly new, there was a really happy vibe and the quality of the food was high. Its definitely worth a visit if you live in the area.