Cottons Rhum Shack
Bringing the Caribbean Sunshine to Camden
Review by Deniz Karagulle
Situated between Chalk Farm and Camden, Cottons is a hospitable refuge of Caribbean charm offering not only “nouvelle cuisine Caribbean” but also a selection of over three hundred rums.
In the interests of retaining a critical eye (and palate) this is a review of the former rather than the latter. The decor of Cottons matches its service and ambiance in that it is clean and relaxed while being efficient and unobtrusive.
The menu has been assembled with greater care than one might expect, with consideration given not only to traditional bold flavours but also to balance and presentation, which have a tendency to be overlooked. The menu draws inspiration from across the region rather than concentrating on any single country, adding breadth to the choice on offer.
Cottons is a proper restaurant rather than a fast food outlet– so you’ll want to allocate a decent amount of time to your meal. The theme maybe reminiscent of street food, but this is considerably more refined and takes an according amount of time to prepare. The BBQ chicken and fish cakes were cooked perfectly, as were the jerk fish and Boston pork. Catering to healthy appetites, if you’re planning on coming here in the evening you may wish to have a lighter lunch as the quality of food is as evident in the final course as it is in the first. My dinner companion advised me that the Caribbean trifle (ordered under manager’s recommendation) is worthy “of being put on the map”, though I feel I had made the better choice with the soursop (or custard apple) mousse. Neither of us were disappointed at any stage.
For the curious of culinary procedure, one of the dining areas allows an open view to the kitchen where you can see your food (and anyone else’s, for that matter) being prepared. A reasonably priced if limited wine list is available, though with such a vast selection of rums and a friendly and knowledgeable staff on hand to offer advice, one would be better served taking advantage of such resources.
Enquiries: 55 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AN