THAT’S MY NAME. THAT NAME AGAIN IS MR JERK
OK, Another of our irregular pop culture quizzes. A huge prize for anyone who can tell me in relation to which TV programme and which episode, my title for today is an homage. Form an orderly queue folks.
Anyway, after a tiring day of popping from pillar to post talking to the great and the good of publishing with only the merest plate of Jamon Iberico to keep me going, I was, quite frankly in need of a some comfort food and plenty of it.
So, I arranged to meet my sometime dining partner, Gavin ( the bastard son of Bill Nighy and Bela Lugosi) at The Dog & Duck for a swifty before heading off to Mr Jerk
Owned, I think, by the good folk at Jerk City, Mr Jerk is a little more spacious and sedate than its shriekingly loud neighbour, but offers more or less the same menu to, what seemed to be, a predominantly West Indian and African Crowd
The menu is short and a little confusing in the sense that the list of appetisers actually only contains two dishes that could be counted as a starter and the rest (coleslaw, plantains etc ) being side dishes. But, there is plenty of stuff there to attract.
We began with orders of fried fish (flying fish I think) which fell off the bone and had some pleasing crispy bits alongside plantain which had the suitable combo of crunchy outside and meltingly sweet insides.
We went ordered three main courses. Curry Mutton with Rice & Peas, Jerk Chicken and A Prawn Roti. They mixed up our order and forgot to bring out a main course portion of the Jerk so, substituted with a single starter portion. This would, under normal circumstances, have caused an international incident where a hungry Hermano is involved, but the portions of the other two dishes were so huge that, as it was, we barely finished what we had.
The curry mutton was so much better than my own attempts a few months back with the meat falling apart at the merest fork pressure and giving up wafts of Jamaican curry spice. The “dirty” rice was great too and we both scooped up spoonfuls of it with the rich gravy.
The roti was enormous and filled with a sweet spicy sauce with both large and small shrimp enough to feed at least two people.
The Jerk Chicken, when it arrived, was suitably sticky with sauce and the meat remained moist. Not as good as that at the Red Pepper on The Holloway Rd where I have been known to pick up my plate and lick it clean with loud slurping noises while the lady owner nods approvingly and says “dat’s a good boy”. But, good all the same.
The service was sweetness itself and with a well deserved tip and a couple of pints of draught red stripe ( as gassy and horrid as I recall it being at the 1982 Notting Hill Carnival, the last time I drank it ) brought the bill to £40 for two. Very reasonable for a meal that could have fed another person without any trouble at all.
All these Caribbean restaurants opening up, they will have to start calling SOHO, “ The Jerk District” for a whole ‘nother reason.