“I don’t like self-praise,” says chef Roger Shakes, “but a lot of people have told me this is the best Caribbean in England.” Serving the classics of Caribbean cooking – curry goat, ackee and saltfish, fried snapper – in a proper sit-down dining experience, Roger’s Kitchen is a restaurant bringing a touch of class and sophistication to Camden Road. Walk inside and you’ll immediately know exactly what we’re talking about. The smell of spices will hit your nostrils like a freight train and you’ll instantly want a taste of what Roger’s whipping up in the kitchen.
Roger’s food is the stuff of local legend and he’s carved out an impressive legacy for himself in his home turf. Previously the head chef of Mango Room, Roger is a chef who cares about making sure his dishes are obviously as delicious as possible but he also pays close attention to where that food is served.
“What I’m doing here is creating an ambience,” Roger tells Mob, “a place where you can come and sit down and relax.” The vibe inside is lovely. White tablecloths are draped over every table and paintings created by a local artist adorn most of the free real estate on the walls. It’s the sort of restaurant you warm to the moment you step inside. It’s the combination of that friendly atmosphere and the excellent food which has made Roger’s Kitchen a favourite with so many people. Some customers drive in all the way from Epsom for a taste of juicy tiger prawns while Roger even recounts a couple who made the trek down from Birmingham for dinner. If that’s not a seal of approval, I don’t know what is.
As it has been for most restaurateurs, Roger admits that staffing has been an ongoing problem post-Brexit. The fact of the matter is that it’s hard to find good people in the current job market and that’s resulted in Roger spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Not that that’s had any detriment on the dishes that come out of the pass. Roger’s Kitchen is a truly unique restaurant and the chance to enjoy a meal there is an experience that you shouldn’t pass up anytime soon.