By Boston & Bryony
Over the last few weeks, some of the TOG student ambassador team visited Caribbean Restaurant, Spiced Roots in Cowley. They had the BEST time!
What an incredible experience this traditional Caribbean restaurant gives you! Not only is the environment candle lit with an upmarket dining feel it comes with relaxing vibes and friendly customer service to make you feel comfortable and well served during your meal. The traditional food is made available for all dietary needs, which was really impressive, without compromising on any taste or flavour. And taste and flavour are what this place gives you!
We started off with some recommended cocktails. The Trinidad Sour – a fruity, strong but sour and smooth rum cocktail. The Rum Punch – a fun and fruity rum juice served over ice. The presentation was fancy, and we LOVED the use of metal and paper straws – sustainability yes! This eco touch should not be ignored!
Then the starters came out, we were given a small selection of menu items. Saheena with
tamarind and cumin sauce, these were flavoursome baked balls of goodness, one of our favourites of the night. We had smoked aubergine chocka which was incredible, it was my first-time trying aubergine and the flavour they created with it was amazing. As well we had some jerk chicken spring rolls and the speciality dish poached octopus served with avocado and a drizzle of lemon infused oil. WOW! What an honour to try so many new foods and flavours.
Next came the second round of cocktails. There were plenty of mocktails and non-alcoholic options. We chose the Old Cuban, a fruity and fizzy rum infused drink. Also, the West Indian Sangaree – which was a punchy, citrusy drink with a strong rum aftertaste. Traditional rum spiced rum cocktails were very much to our taste and had such a wide variety to suit all flavours and tastes.
Then the chef put together a selection of the main courses for us to try. The food took a while to come out, but good food takes time and it was certainly worth the wait, moreover the company and the service was so wonderful. First up was the Guyanese Pepperpot Beef cooked with authentic Cassareep served with Cornmeal dumplings and glazed vegetable, this was an amazing rich stew-based meal, with delicately cooked beef and vegetables. Next we had the Oxtail & Butterbeans served with Mac & Cheese, this was incredible, a less spicy dish, a sort of creamy suit coupled with an even more so creamy pasta dish – incredible. Next came the main dish of the night – Jerk Chicken! Wow! Marinated for 24hours minimum, usually 48, and smoked in their special wood smoking oven. Incredible. We had some succulent sweet potato fries and flavoursome rice on the side too! The presentation on all the dishes was beautiful considering it was home cooked authentic food.
Then … dessert! We had traditional rum sponge cake, with homemade rum and raisin ice cream – simply a delectable. And then… AVOCADO ice cream, home-made, what a taste, sweet but savoury, it was incredible. Along with baked pineapple, which was cinnamon spicy and juicy it was as if it was a cake, but simply just baked fruit. To top the night off and to exemplify the excellent customer service, we were given mini pina-coladas to finish the meal off.
Spiced Roots is an authentic Caribbean restaurant with incredible service and some of the most flavoursome food I have ever tried. I will say, I had the opinion that the food was going to be too spicy, but it wasn’t the flavours were well combined and toned. The Spiced Roots rum bar overall served some incredible, inventive and interactive cocktails all at a reasonable price considering their ingredients and decorations.
The restaurant itself is quaint and homely, decorated with a traditional feel so you can almost imagine you’re sat out at dusk on the sunny hot sands of the Carribean with laughter and ease amongst the air.
The restaurant has recently been awarded the best restaurant and best global restaurant in Oxford and what can I say it certainly deserves it. I cannot recommend trying this place out enough for an entirely authentic and complete taste of another culture and a brilliant way to relax and spend an evening out!
This week I was fortunate enough to visit Spiced Roots on Cowley Road and, to put it in the words of my quest, “this wasn’t a meal, it was an experience”.
The restaurant is small, but cosy, and the limited space means you truly do get a personalised experience. We were the first people there that night and we were both greeted with a cocktail of our choice. I had a Pina Colada and my guest had an Old Cuban. The best part of the cocktail menu was that the staff were more than willing to make little changes to meet our tastes, and the later Rum Punch we had was made slightly sweeter for us!
The food began with a selection of traditional Caribbean starters, none of which we had tried before. Each time a plate was brought to us, our waiter told us a little bit about the origins of the dishes. There was a fabulous selection to cater to dietary requirements and we could not have been happier. For me, the highlight was the Saltfish Croquette, which satisfies my craving for a fishcake type dish that I have regularly! I would also highly recommend the jerk chicken spring rolls, which were incredible! Each dish had a specially selected sauce which complemented all the flavours.
The main event was two platters of “mains” which varied from curries (the Goat curry was
incredible!) and traditional beef pepper pot (which required a very specific preparation) to plantain chips and jerk chicken wings. I had never tried any of the foods before and everything was amazing! The desserts and coffee finished the night nicely and I never thought I’d be able to drink black coffee, no sugar (when my usual order is milky coffee with at least two sugars) and enjoy it, but WOW!
I cannot recommend Spiced Roots enough. Nothing was too much trouble and the staff were knowledgeable and kind, which really made the experience worthwhile. We came away with massive smiles on our faces, feeling pleasantly full and as though we had learned more about a culture neither of us knew much about. If you ever get the chance to visit Spiced Roots, please take the opportunity for what will be the best experience! Thank you so much to the team!