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Sunday 2 March 2014

Dub Jam - Ticino Kitchen - Diwana Bhel Poori

Guest Post from Jane - Due to Matt's increasingly busy diary, I got to take his place at a new opening this month - Dub Jam, a Caribbean themed 'Jerk Bar and Rum Shack' on Bedford Street, near Covent Garden.

The bar is full of character; it takes you far away from London's busy streets and sets the scene with music solely selected from Trojan Records' back catalogue (arguably a theme of the restaurant), and well-chosen décor.  The walls are bright and colourful, illustrated with Trojan record covers, above the bar is placed a huge sound system, again a piece from Trojan records and the chairs, tables and everything even down (up?) to the ceiling are reminiscent of a beach side shack.

Trojan Records

The drinks list was short but well done - two Caribbean beers (Carib and Red Stripe) were refreshing, and a Pina Colada slushy was sweet and suitably tropical. Which brings us onto the punch - now, here at The List we like a gimmick, but Dub Jam have really taken things up a notch. Homemade rum punch is gravity fed through a wall of speakers above the bar, 'infusing it with reggae sound waves' , before being served through a pipe into hand-painted tin cans. To be fair, the punch was very tasty, and just as impressive was Kieron, the manager's, straight face as he explained the production process - "It's bass filtered!". This is really a place to make you smile -  a million miles away from the Adventure Bar cloakroom it used to be.

Dub Jam - speakers for infusing rum with reggae & filtering with bass

The food is tasty and affordable.  We tried the plantain fries, lovely sweet potato wedges with a homemade salsa in mild, medium or hot (I wasn't brave enough for the hot).  Burgers, in three varieties; selecta (house special), chicken & pineapple, and bacon & avocado.  I had the bacon & avocado, a generous portion served in a ciabatta.  Dub Jam also offers a series of jerk skewers; chicken, peppa pig (jerk pork) and halloumi (which I was told was a speciality).  The pork was tender and, having been marinated for 48 hours and then marinated again, full of delicious, spicy flavour.  A selection of sides included cheese fritters, and rice and peas could be ordered too.  Prices on opening (1st March) I understand were to be from £6-£10 per dish.  Excellent value for a good and interesting meal in central London, and great fun too.

Whilst I've got your attention, I'll briefly mention two more restaurants that I have popped in to this month.

Ticino Kitchen, an Italian on Bermondsey Street opened in late February.  Connected to the bakery of the same name, this restaurant offers pizza (a surprising first for Bermondsey St, although I hear Franco Manca and Farina, sister of Zucca, will be adding competition later this year) as well as fresh pasta and meat dishes on a changing menu.  Prices are mid-range between £9-£16 per main.  We had Sea Bream with beans and vintage tomatoes and Ox Tail Gnocchi.  Both were delicious.

Scallops at Ticino Kitchen

At the less expensive end of the scale, I finally made it to Diwana Bhel Poori, about which I've read many a rave review.  This is a small vegetarian Indian restaurant near Euston (perfect for a joint trip to the Bree Louise or the Euston Tap as long as HS2 doesn't destroy the whole area).  The Bhel Poori, a signature dish, is notably better than those of Mumbai's Chowpatty Beach and the dosas are to die for. You can get more than you could possibly eat (though we did try) for under £15. Take your own beer.

Read more guest posts from @JaneSlocombe:

Blackfoot - House of Ho - Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Square Meal

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