Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Oh Bamboula...

Dining in Brixton, as I frequently do owing to the fact that ALL of my friends moved there, I come across a lot of Caribbean food. Bamboula, just opposite the town hall does a good trade in the old favourites (friiiied chicken, jerk, curry goat, plantain, festival etc), and has the added bonus of a very reasonable take-away menu and special offer boxes of Jamaican joy. The inside is decorated like a primary school teacher's idea of the Caribbean, with bright colours, bamboo fencing, fairy lights and maps of Jamaica adorning the walls. Jolly enough if perhaps not the most authentic in the area.

Where Bamboula falls down is on it's service. Last week before a cinema visit, a friend and I popped in for a bit of Wednesday night jerk before watching Precious (which is awful by the way, terrible made-for-tv rubbish: avoid.) Our waitress came to take our order, which she achieved, only to return 4 minutes later and ask if she could take our order. We explained that she already had and were greeted with incredulity and complete blankness. It was like somebody had stolen her brain between our table and the kitchen. She returned once more to the till and verified that she had indeed taken our order. Well yes, we said, we know. Sigh.

Surprisingly the food arrived, and was almost what we'd ordered. Always order more plantain than you want, as only half of it will ever arrive. This is a universal rule of Bamboula.

My jerk chicken was very good as ever, deep and sweet but lip-tinglingly spicy, but was overwhelmed by a hulking pile of coleslaw on the side. Really, far, far too much coleslaw, and I LIKE coleslaw. It wasn't home made either, which it usually is in Bamboula, maybe they didn't have time that day, I don't know.

There was a big hoo-hah when we asked for the bill concerning the card machine, which our hapless waitress seemed to have no idea how to operate. She, being merely incompetent and seemingly lacking in short-term memory, was a vast improvement on previous encounters with Bamboula staff, who range from surly to abusive.

If this place could sort out their staff and service, then it'd be a great place to sample Caribbean food minus the intimidation I often feel in other Brixton restaurants.

12 Acre Lane
London SW2 5SG
020 7737 6633

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