The olive team review Calypso Kitchen the new restaurant in Bristol’s Wapping Wharf. The latest addition to Bristol’s newest foodie scene, is a traditional Caribbean restaurant bringing you everything from king prawn gumbo to goat curry. Feeling Caribbean inspired? Check out our best ever Caribbean recipes here
In a nutshell
With a colourful, industrially stark décor that’s not trying too hard, and dishes that bring traditional Barbadian flavours sizzling to life, it’s a natural fit to the group of vibrant new restaurants and bars here.
William Clarke and Ariel Czaczkes, founders of Bristol’s popular Biblos restaurants, are behind this stylish set-up.
Known for their Middle Eastern and Caribbean fusion food, the duo have turned the dial firmly towards the Caribbean end of the spectrum at Calypso Kitchen.
The Barbadian recipes that make up most of the menu have been handed down through the generations to William, while a few of Ariel’s Middle Eastern family recipes will also appear in the form of flatbreads and wraps, too.
Think jerk belly pork, king prawn gumbo and goat curry. Everything is made in-house, and there are some interesting vegan options on offer, too.
What’s the room/atmosphere like?
Tall cement walls, exposed floorboards and corrugated iron act as the backdrop to bright murals, handwritten blackboard menus and bursts of tropical greenery.
Glass runs floor-to-ceiling across the outer half of the restaurant, framing views of the harbour beyond. Relaxed benched seating and an open hatch looking into the kitchen lend this place a canteen-style charm.
Menu must-orders and misfires
Deftly spiced, grilled peppered shrimp, sourced from the Blue Mountains in Jamaica, were served in their shell and were so tender they were almost creamy. Arancini, of sorts, with black-eyed peas had gentle coconut flavours and a fine, crisp breadcrumb shell.
Jerk was spot-on but the salted caramel cheesecake, already a bestseller, boasted all the rich, malty satisfaction of a retro milkshake, with a thick sweep of caramel across the base this is definitely the thing to order.
Banks Barbados beer, from behind the bar, is a touch sweet and light, in the style of a North-American lager and proved a great match for the BBQ flavours. Jungle Juice, a candy-sweet, palm-green rum cocktail laced with Midori from the cocktail list went down a treat, too.
Cool yet comfortable surrounds, warm and charming staff, and a menu of Caribbean classics, finessed: what’s not to like?
There’s no stress when the bill arrives, either. Starters range from £3.50 to £7, with mains from £8 to £12.50, or grab a wrap for little over a fiver.
Calypso Kitchen, Unit 3, Gaol Ferry Steps,Wapping Wharf, Bristol BS1 6WE
Words | Rosie Sherratt, May 2017