Looking for restaurants in Dalston? Read our review of Island Social Club, and check out more suggestions for eating in Hackney here.
Island Social Club in a nutshell
A nightly celebration of rum and roti in a stripped-back setting in Curio Cabal, Haggerston, for a must-visit 12-month residency in 2019.
Marie Mitchell (on the food) and Joseph Pilgrim (on the drinks), best known for Rumshop, Rotishop and Pop’s Kitchen, are the team behind this modern pop-up.
Marie Mitchell and Joseph Pilgrim are the team behind this modern pop-up
What’s the vibe?
Very East London – wooden tables, school chairs, herringbone floors, and succulents in concrete pots – but with a buzzy warmth.
What’s the food like?
There’s not much to choose from but everything hits the spot. The homemade bussup-shut roti is an absolute must-order – everything else is a vehicle for this buttery, flaky friend. Curry mutton has a heat that builds – a ‘lickle kick’ they call it on the menu – punchy with scotch bonnet, ginger and garlic. Colombo de poulet (our favourite), inspired by the French Islands, is incredibly light and fragrant, coconut milk bathing a combo of tender chicken, sweet pumpkin and cho-cho, which is a sponge for flavour.
The roti is an absolute must-order – everything else is a vehicle for this buttery, flaky friend
Coleslaw is a far cry from the mayo-slathered, soggy sides of yore – locally grown cabbage, carrot and red onion are brought to life with a sprightly lime dressing. Plantain is cooked two ways, boiled skin-on, then blackened on the grill, and is addictive when dunked into a sweet and sour tamarind sauce, or if you’re feeling daring, the hot pepper.
And the drinks?
If you’re a fan of rum, the drinks here are worth the visit alone. Think family rum punch recipes – from Ma’boat (inspired by Joseph’s Grenadian father), to Trini Lime and Ti’ Punch in another ode to the French Islands. Jinga beer wows – homemade ginger beer with zippy lemon and ginger, stiffened up with rum and gin, and topped up with a creamy, frothy Belgian beer. Scotchy margaritas are livened up with, you guessed it, scotch bonnets and are all the better for it.
Jinga beer wows – homemade ginger beer with zippy lemon and ginger, stiffened up with rum and gin, and topped up with a creamy, frothy Belgian beer
If you order the dessert of cornbread with sweet chilli jam and vanilla ice cream – and you should because there’s only one, so it’s ideal to share – ask for extra chilli jam.
Island Social Club at Curio Cabal, 258 Kingsland Road, London E8 4DG
Words by Laura Rowe
Photographs by Chiron Cole