Above: Not just any ol' jerk chicken. The jerk sauce is Lisa's family's homemade secret blend.
When I first met Lisa to talk through her ambitions of setting up a supperclub to introduce Londoners to authentic Jamaican and Carribean home cooking, one of the things she mentioned by the by was "Oh if the weather is nice we can eat and maybe BBQ on the terrace".
Lovely Lisa was so laid back and understated, I was gobsmacked when I showed up at her Surrey Quays apartment building to help out with front of house at her debut, and found this professional table setup below, with a panoramic view of the Thames and Canary Wharf.
I am very pleased (and relieved!) to tell you that as lovely as the ambience was, it was not the best bit of the evening. Bring on the food!
Is there anything as lovely as light-as-a-feather freshly fried dough fritters? The slightly spicy ones on the right with very traditional saltfish and ackee were especially delectable.
Here's team Wild Serai in da house! Lisa was apparently inspired to start her Jamaican supperclub after she attended Yolanda and Sharif's Malaysian supperclub in New Malden. Just so you lucky future guests know who to thank...
I always encourage hosts to share some history and stories about the dishes they choose to make. Again, Lisa's poise and depth of knowledge about Jamaican cuisine and its foundation in "making the best of whatever scrap bits slaves were given to eat" really impressed me, given this was her first supperclub.
My personal favourite dish was the day was Lisa's oxtail stew, marinated and slowcooked for... what, days? Given the depth of flavour? I've never tasted oxtail like this, in any cuisine. In this particular rendition it was cooked with white beans and carrots.
Another Jamaican classic - curried goat, with some deadly rum punch in the background (going by increasing volume of conversation and laughter at the table!) I wish the goat looked as good as it tasted.
Accompaniments: Rice and peas, but the rice here was much more savoury and fragrant than any Carribean restaurant I've ever been to, as the rice was cooked in freshly squeezed coconut milk (a real treat in London as any islander or Indian auntie will tell you). Also, very sweet fried plantain.
If the above dishes look very substantial, just keep in mind that we haven't gotten to the "meat courses" yet!
Here's Mark, master of not 1 but 2 down-home drum grills for the evening.
You've probably had jerk chicken (above) before, but how often do you see jerk pork belly? The one nitpick I would make here is that the grilled meats should be served as soon as they're ready, rather than left to sit, cool down, and dry out a little. Ok, it'll probably cause a nuclear meltdown in my mouth, but heck, I'll risk it.
For dessert, Lisa made 3 kinds of (very potent!) rum-soaked cakes. Here's one of our guests taking in the fumes... I mean fragrance!
To finish, luxuriantly thick hot chocolate, hand ground from unprocessed cocoa pellets (below) and infused with herbs and spices. This is going to be knock-your-socks-off addictive when the weather turns cold again (errr I guess that means now).
The verdict? Well I heard later that some guests paid Lisa extra so that they could take boxes of leftovers home with them!
If you're curious about authentic homecooked Jamaican cuisine, or are homesick for the real deal and frustrated with the shallow samey-samey powdered flavourings of more commercial eatery options, then get thee booked into a Lisa's Jamaican Kitchen supper.
And pray for "terrace weather".
Click on the logo below to see Lisa's Jamaican Kitchen's latest events.
Disclosure: I'm the founder of Edible Experiences, and run marketing and bookings for Lisa's Jamaican Kitchen.