Tuck Inn, Dalston

There is a really nice little art shop in Dalston that happens to sell a brand of notepads/sketchpads that my friend wanted to take a look at up close and personal before purchasing them.

On the 27th February we made that happen and battled the snow, went on the epically long overground to take a look at them and grab some food whilst up there. There was no set food spot in mind but I put a tweet out and got a few suggestions back. After a bit of walking around and becoming increasingly keen to retreat from the chilly blizzard outside we ended up sat on the wooden table and benches of Tuck Inn.

Tuck Inn Caribbean food

Now I will happily admit that jerk chicken, fish stew and plantain isn’t the sort of thing I am hugely familiar with. Yes I have had a few different varieties from a number of cafes since landing in London over five years ago but not enough to really compare and suss out “good” jerk chicken.

In some ways I think that helps because it removes the expectations a bit and stops my mind trying to declare what is authentic (for more on this give Ugly Delicious a watch on Netflix) and it means I can just dislike, like or love a dish purely for what it is in front of me.

We ended up in Tuck Inn because of their £5 deal. That’s one hefty portion of jerk chicken, a side of rice (I went for spicy rice because I’m not about the kidney bean life) and some salad too. It was a meal and a half to eat but so delicious and tasty that there was no chance I would be backing down.

The spicy rice had a real punch to it, with finely chopped bits of red chilli in there, but it worked well against the chicken and of course could be cooled down by the serving of salad. A couple of guys were sitting on a table next to us and one of them had to have spicy rice as the rice and peas needed more making up and kept looking across to see if I was admitting defeat so he could stop too. Sorry but I was not going to stop and look like another over confident white girl trying to show off with some spicy rice – I was on a mission to complete it with mildly burning lips or not.

The chicken was so full of flavour, gently cooked to be fall off the bone and still succulent inside, that every bite was a delightful blend of seasoning. It was certainly the sort of chicken well worth getting your hands dirty for.

And as well as the food being tasty, hearty and well cooked the guy behind the counter and doing service was so incredibly friendly. He gave the persona of being happy to be there, not be over the top but also have a chat if you wanted to. He pointed people to free water and wasn’t pushy to sell drinks to people. There was a rare sense of pride that I feel is lost in so many food spots this days and it was a refreshing change.

Would certainly recommend if you are in the Dalston area. A friend tells me they are often open late and it makes for a great drunk food but I will have to take her word on that!

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