Now I love a fancy-pants restaurant as much as the next girl, but places like Guanabana make me happy to be alive. A little restaurant on the main road between Camden and Kentish Town, it does Carribean and Latin American food predominantly but bits and bobs of other things, cheap-as-chips and with no frills or fuss.
I went with two chums, and we left full, a little drunk and not much poorer than we were when we walked in, result!
The starters were all dreamy – the jalapenos were breaded and stuffed with cream cheese – so far so standard – but the peppers themselves rather than being the insipid things you get in a lot of places were lovely and spicy instead. The chicken was juicy in a peppercorn-y sauce with sesame seeds (no idea what they’re doing in a Carribean, but they tasted so damn good I don’t care!)
This is Andy, look at his little face! He thinks they’re great!
The empanadas were melt in the mouth. They came with a spicy sauce but I wouldn’t bother with that as the flavour of the pastries was a bit overwhelmed by it (we saved it to dunk our chips in instead).
For mains I ordered the spicy jerk chicken. Know why I did this? Because the waiter told me it ‘wasn’t that spicy’. Well, either he’s a liar or I’m a wimp because the first mouthful nearly took my face off. Having said that, it tasted so good I still managed to eat more than half of it before Andy took over and I downed a pint of water and panted for a bit. I do enjoy a bit of spice but next time I’ll be having the safer ‘sweet BBQ’ option I think…
My friends, not having been assaulted by their food, were also very impressed. They have quite a fancy Carribean/Latin themed burger list here which went down a treat (though I’m a bit of a burger purist, so I’ve never had one). The Messy Mexican had jalapeños, cheese, burger sauce and lashings of guac. Sarah’s Chicken Chicharonnes tasted a bit like chicken-y pork scratchings which took some getting used to but were very satisfying!
The best sides for me were the cassava chips which were gloriously fluffy and came with tasty guacamole and the fried plantain which was lovely soaked in the spicy sauce that came with my chicken. I wouldn’t bother with the halloumi which is just a bit weird, but the others more than made up for it.
What we ate:
(All to share)
Spicy jerk chicken
Messy Mexican burger
Parmesan & garlic fries
Sweet fried plaintain
(All to share)
What we drank:
A couple of bottles of red. This place is BYOB (*angels sing*) so your choice of alcoholic bevvy is limited only by your own imagination. There’s a big Sainsburys down the road in Camden or Tesco Local/Co-Op/Oddbins up the road in Kentish Town. They do have a good range of Mocktails at the restaurant as well.
Would we go again?
Book via their website here http://www.guanabanarestaurant.com/#booknow and let us know what you think!