Taking influence from the diverse flavours of The Antilles, Antillean set out on a mission to show Londoners there is more to Caribbean cuisine than rice and jerk chicken. The restaurant, its airy oak-beamed abode moments away from Waterloo and Southwark Station, concocts a spectacularly delicious menu of truly unique dishes – and undoubtedly delivers on what it promises.
If there is one thing you can be certain of, it’s that you won’t go hungry at Antillean. With a menu that lends itself perfectly to sharing-style, for a 2-person sitting, you’ll barely be left with room for dessert after 3 small and 2 large options. And not leaving room for dessert is not recommended – but we’ll get onto that later.
The small plate selection oozes with uniqueness, demonstrating that even the usual dishes can be upgraded with a little creative thinking. There’s Oxtail Patties and Grilled Octopus served with mango, cucumber, mint, and scotch bonnet emulsion, as well as Blue Swimmer Crab on an avocado bed and juicy Grilled Spiced Portobello Mushroom Cups.
A small plate stand-out is the Watermelon & Heritage Beetroot Salad, that had it not come strongly recommended by staff and patrons alike, could have easily been overlooked.
The masterpiece bursts with contrasting flavours, its spicy, slightly tangy dressing complimenting the sweetness and textures of the key ingredients perfectly. It ranks highly on the scale of best dishes in London, so no visit to Antillean should go without an order of it.
The large plates include a tender Rum Marinated Ribeye with Boniato Mash, Roast Achiote Tamarind Chicken with Antillean BBQ sauce, and flavoursome Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Black Bean Sofrito and Milt & Turmeric Yoghurt.
If you’re looking for the ‘wow’ factor, you’ll easily find it in the Blue Swimmer & Soft-Shell Crab Curry. Comprising of sweet potato, plantain, pineapple, rice and peas, and topped with a fresh whole soft-shell crab, it’s creamy and mildly spicy, and decadently rich without diluting the subtle flavours of the seafood.
If you’re as indecisive as we are, the Dessert Platter is the perfect end to the meal, featuring tasters of each option including the Rum Baba, the incredible Plaintain Tarte Tatin, and the infamous Guinness Punch Ice Cream with Havana Club Spiced Rum. And if your sweet tooth isn’t completely satisfied, there’s also dessert cocktails on offer.
The restaurant is known for its rich rum collection, boasting an impressive selection of premium bottles that will impress even the greatest of rum connoisseurs. It also means that apart from offering tastings and masterclasses, customers also have the pleasure of a varied cocktail menu, including the likes of Blanchisseuse Punch (Angostura 5yo Rum, Citrus, & Tangerine) and Whispering Death (Havana 3yo Rum, Copalli Cacao Rum, Graham’s White Port, & Citrus).
The Antillean logo of the native flying bird and rum barrel overlooks the main dining area, a reminder to enthusiastic patrons of the heritage and story of the restaurant. A former 18th century coaching inn with vaulted ceilings and natural light, the space is dominated by a clean blue and white colour scheme, with an impressive pop of colour coming from the yellow salt and pepper shakers and red candles on each table that makes you reach for the camera at first sight.
The owners impressively accomplished a 6-week turnaround from the moment they received the keys, personally undertaking painting, reflooring, and refurnishing, as well as recruiting, training, and establishing the culinary offering. A feat with a personal touch that has undoubtedly now paid off.
One of the best parts of dining at Antillean is the lack of anything similar in London, or indeed the UK. While each corner of the country offers an abundance in choice of French, Italian, and even Korean cuisine, Caribbean fine dining is scarce. Antillean capitalises on its uniqueness, and applies its own twists and unexpected turns in flavours to make it a truly original experience.
Antillean is not quite like anything you’ve seen before. From the truly one-of-a-kind menu creations to the sleek airy interiors, it’s subtle but powerful vibe transports you to an island paradise from your seat in London’s Southwark. Whether you’re looking for new unique flavours or delicious dining with lounge-like comfort – or indeed a good glass of rum – Antillean serves up an absolute feast.
You can find Antillean at 74 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8HA.
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