In Reviews

The Rum Kitchen. If they want to have that ‘Totally Tropical Taste’ they should serve Lilt on draft! I think to myself, then pause a moment to pour fizzy drink on the curb. You might already know this, but Lilt is not only tropical but topical too – the name has just been scrapped! (And, also – it’s not vegetarian or vegan – Google it!) Lilt will now be ‘Fanta Grapefruit and Pineapple’. Naming things is tricky – I still recall the feeling of unease when Snickers changed to Marathon, Opal Fruits to Starburst and Jif became Cif. And the sheer joy of the ‘Boaty McBoat Face’ and ‘Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machiney’ bonding the nation.

Therefore ‘The Rum Kitchen’ is a pretty good name for this place. It has a kitchen that serves Caribbean food and more rum than a pirate could say ‘Arr ‘ave it all’ to. Quite frankly it ‘Does exactly what it says on the tin’.

What’s it all about?

The Rum Kitchen website tells us to ‘Be More Carnival’ (Said in the voice of the O2 cat telling us to ‘Be More Dog!’) with an all day party of food, drinks and music. Well, that’s something we all enjoy. The venue is lively at weekends with live DJ’s and high-energy fun. Prefer to hear yourself talk? Go in the week, like I did, when the low-level lighting and background music makes for a more chilled night. I’m loving it.

Where is it?

You might not instantly know where ‘The Rum Kitchen’ is, or had previously dismissed it as a chain restaurant, but there are only four of them in the group (Brighton, Brixton, Soho & Shoreditch) What happens if they choose a venue in a destination not beginning with a ‘B’ or a ‘S’? ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’

Their website says it’s ‘beachside’ and right next to the Palace Pier, which isn’t strictly true. But it’s only a pebble's throw from there on Black Lion Street. Locals – it’s the old Jamie’s Italian site.

What’s right about it?

I like a venue with a big floorplan – it’s ideal for meeting groups of friends. Got a huge group of mates and/or an event to celebrate?  Book the upstairs private event space for up to 80 people. It even has its own bar (swanky) and its own private roof terrace (fancy). Think IKEA ad – ‘You’ll always find me in the (Rum) Kitchen at parties!’

What type of Food is there?

Jerk! No need to be so rude πŸ˜‰ It’s all about the Caribbean flavours – mostly jerk. My dining buddy, Lilli and I were given a sharing platter with sides that were ‘Made to make your mouth water’! Stand-out items were the Sweetcorn Fritters with Pineapple Chilli Jam and ‘KFC’ nope, not the ‘Finger Licking Good’ brand – this is Krispy Fried Cauliflower. Tasty. Tasty. Very very tasty. They’re very tasty.

Is there a lot of Rum?

This is going to sound like an exaggeration, but they have over 100 Caribbean rums. I would have thought they were telling porky-pies if I hadn’t seen the walls of bottles around the restaurant. They double as venue décor. Smart! The rums are imported from the West Indies and expertly handled by in-house mixologists. My choice was a pineapple daiquiri. It was really strong. That’s not a complaint. I just had to sip it slowly to ensure I was actually seeing lots of bottles and it wasn’t my rum-addled brain. On the menu it does have ‘Brighter & Lighter Cocktails perfect for lunchtime and early evening’ and so I then had a Rumbustion (rum, apricot liquor, pineapple, peach & coconut) in the interest of balance & research & because I like rum. All in all we had a great time. It was ‘exceedingly good’.

No one asked for it, but I’m giving it to you anyway…. Here are the lyrics to that classic TV ad for Um-Bongo:

🎡 Way down deep in the middle of the Congo,

A hippo took an apricot, a guava and a mango.

He stuck it with the others and he danced a dainty tango.

The rhino said, "I know... we'll call it Um Bongo!"

Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they drink it in the Congo!

The python picked the passion-fruit, The marmoset the mandarin

the parrot painted packets that the whole caboodle landed in.

So when it comes to sun and fun and goodness in the jungle,

they all prefer the sunny, funny one they call Um Bongo! πŸŽ΅

And a version I made up for The Rum Kitchen because I like to do completely unnecessary things for my own entertainment….

🍹 Way down deep in the middle of The Lanes.

A mixologist took some rum (made from sugar canes).

She stuck it with some pineapple to make a tasty daiquiri,

The punter said ‘What a special skill- no sign of gimcrackery!’

(R)UM Bongo, (R)UM Bongo, they (actually don’t) drink it in the Congo!

The staff picked the carnival music, the headdress with a feather,

The chef created Caribbean menus that brought it all together

So when it comes to sun and fun the whole team like to pitch-in

They all prefer the yummy, scrummy one they like to call ‘The Rum Kitchen’ πŸΉ





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