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Trenchtown, Tollcross describes itself as a ‘Caribbean Social Club’ which is a nod to the street and community roots of places in Jamaica,  where folk gather to drink, dance, listen to music and roller disco! At least they did a few decades ago when I visited, tings may have changed. But you can expect laid back vibes rather than a stuffy restaurant and Simone and me polished up our patois and went for lunch. 

It’s a colourful place with shantytown decor. We sat in a banana yellow booth and read a very tempting menu starting with a list of small dishes like sweetcorn fritters, squid, duck roll and chicken wings which you could graze on happily. There are also larger curries (Mrs Bite makes a good Curry Goat) and meat and fish seasoned with Jerk.   Fruit and veg also figure highly in big salads like the ‘beach bod’ or in sides of watermelon, pineapple or greens. 

Eventually I ordered Red Snapper which arrived in tin foil and was as fiery as the Jamaican sun. Luckily this fish is meaty enough to withstand the blend of Scotch bonnet, thyme and garlic. It was served ‘wit’ equally hot pineapple morsels doused in lime and coriander, and some much needed bland steamed rice. I loved it and will even forgive those white enamel bowls with the blue rims. 

Simone had ordered Ribs with coconut jerk and a salad which ‘was tangy, sweet, crunchy and full of fresh leaves’. The dressing was orange and mango I think although the menu says different. No problem as it was a natty dread ‘superfood’ salad whatever the specific elements. The ribs meanwhile were ‘righteous man’. An impressive portion of soft, tender flesh and a coconut glaze which Simone said was silky with just the right about of spice and sweetness. 

The ‘riddims’ were a bit frantic for lunchtime – perhaps swap the hip/hop dub mash up for some lighter classic reggae like the Mighty Diamonds, Denis Brown or even Yellowman at midday guys. Looking forward to trying more food here though and to the ‘merri chrissmus’ reggae tunes. (S. Wilson)

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