365Bristol Lunch Hour: Calypso KitchenPosted on: 05 Oct 2018
Lunchtime. It’s surely the best part of the working day. It marks the end of the slow, coffee-fuelled morning and the beginning of those final hours in the afternoon before we get to leave work. If your workspace is centrally located like ours, it’s good to go for a lunchtime ramble now and again in search of a great spot to sit down and munch until your heart’s content. Dining out for lunch is a good chance to catch up with a friend, loved one or spend the hour alone to treat yourself once in a while! Alternatively, if you’re an employer, the lunch hour is the perfect time to take the employees out to a well-deserved meal as a thank you for their hard work.
With Bristol being the foodie hotspot that it is, there's a seemingly endless amount of fantastic restaurants in and around the city centre. You can find food from all over the globe from a wide range of eateries here, and with so many flavours to be sampled, we have made it our mission to test, try and time as many as we can. This time around we headed to Calypso Kitchen, situated in Wapping Wharf.
There's no-one in the world that can do it quite like they can in the Caribbean when it comes to real feel-good food. The vibrant flavours, aromas and colours of signature dishes like jerk chicken, curried goat and sweet plantain are a real treat for the soul, and Calypso Kitchen on Goal Ferry Steps, Wapping Wharf appears to have hit the nail on the head.
The restaurant, opened recently by the team behind the beloved Biblos Cafe, is a great place to be before you've even had a chance to look at the menu. A simple, stripped-back decor is combined with plantlife and clear signs of Caribbean influence - the cutlery and napkins are kept in old Tropical Sun Jamaica Ackee cans - while there's a range of seating to choose from.
Having been to Biblos on several occasions before, we had high expectations for the food (which came after a short wait which, of course, is a factor when dining on your lunch break), but what was served to us was far better than either of us could have imagined. I went for the Jerk Red Snapper - a fillet of perfectly cooked and beautifully seasoned fish, rested on a bed of rice n peas, incredibly crispy kale, sweet potato and grilled vegetables. The fish was unbelievably flaky and tender, but what stole the show was the flavour. Grilled in jerk butter, the punch of the jerk seasoning, the slightly smoky flavour of the char and the saltiness of the butter were a delight.
The second main was a classic order of Jerk Chicken with Caribbean 'slaw and rice n peas, all of which was prepared and cooked to absolute perfection. The chicken was cooked exactly the way you'd like a jerk dish to be - still moist and tender on the inside but carrying a slight char on the outside - and we had no idea what went into the Calypso Kitchen jerk mix but it was about as good as either of us had ever had.
We went for two sides between us, classic offerings of deep-fried dumplings (Bajan Bakes on the Calypso Kitchen menu) and sweet plantain, both of which were a fantastic accompaniment to our meals. The batter on the dumplings was fluffy with a sweet flavour, while the Bajan sauce provided more of a sharp, mustard-y edge to the dish. The sweet plantains were nicely caramelised and slightly charred, with a deliciously plummy, almost Hoi Sin-like sauce on the side.
As satisfying and filling as our mains were, we managed to find time room for dessert and were very glad that we did. We opted for the Salted Caramel Brownie and Salted Caramel Cheesecake, and both were unreal. The brownie was warm and marbled with a rich salted caramel sauce, while the cheesecake rested on top of a dense biscuit base.
All things considered, Calypso Kitchen is surely one of Bristol's ultimate feel-good food spots, and a fantastic place to grab lunch if you work in the city centre. It represents fairly good value for money given the size of the meals and the prices (roughly a tenner for a main and £3/4 per side dish), and while our meal filled us both to the brim, it wasn't stodgy, and the vibrancy of well-made Caribbean dishes was more than enough to carry us through a full afternoon in the office. It was appropriate that the sun was beaming in Bristol on the day of our visit to Calypso Kitchen, and we strolled back to work with full bellies and very satisfied smiles drawn across our faces. I suspect we'll be back very soon.
You can find Calypso Kitchen on Goal Ferry Steps, Bristol BS1 6WD, serving lunch from 11am onwards every day of the week.
Having moved to Bristol from Cornwall in 2015, Matt recently completed a degree in Journalism at UWE. He's keen on a wide variety of musical genres, as well as taking an interest in art and illustration, producing his own work in his spare time. Matt makes the most of Bristol's diverse nightlife and attends live music and club nights regularly. Get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.