I visited Island Spice Caribbean restaurant in Hanwell, London. First impressions were that it was incredibly small, and looked more like a takeaway place rather than a restaurant. The window featured a menu and lots of posters of events going on in the area that might be of interest to its customers. When you walk in, the first thing you notice is all the posters on the wall of legendary black icons like Michael Jackson, Barrack Obama and Bob Marley. There are also maps and pictures of the Caribbean and colourful pictures, giving the place an exotic vibe. The walls are mainly painted orange and white, the bright colours adding to the tropical feel. There is a fridge at the front filled with continental drinks such as fruit punch, Rubicon and Supermalt, plus unlabelled concoctions of fruit juices and punches. At the front desk I am greeted by a waitress who describes the best dishes in the restaurant and allowed me to sample some of the sauces, to see if I can handle the spice. Throughout my dining experience the service was very prompt and friendly and there was a very welcoming atmosphere.
I selected the Jerk Chicken with plain rice and a fruit punch to drink, whilst my companion ordered the Brown Stew Chicken with rice and peas and a fresh pineapple juice to drink. On each table hot sauce and salt was available to give extra flavour to the food if needed. The furniture was very simple and modern adding to the laid back feel of the restaurant. They were playing disco music from artists like Kylie Minogue and Abba while we dined, which I thought was pretty random as I was expecting reggae music to go with the Caribbean theme. From talking to the waitress I learned that the restaurant turns into a bar from 12-4am starting this summer playing musical genres like soul and RnB, which will make it a nice hangout spot in the evenings. The food arrived very promptly with really large portion sizes and was extremely hot temperature wise.
I would describe the fruit punch as very refreshing and fruity and a good sized bottle, which went down well with the food. The Jerk Chicken was delicious, it was spicy but bearable and not in a way that took away from the taste. The chicken was well cooked and juicy and balanced well with the side serving of coleslaw which cooled down my palette after the spice. My companion described the pineapple juice as tasting very fresh and milky. It was thick in texture sort of like a smoothie and it needed to be shaken before consumption but in all was very nice. The Brown Stew Chicken he described as being sweet with a mild taste. Again the coleslaw made the dish well balanced and the chicken was also juicy.
Overall I would give my dining experience at Island Spice a 4/5 as it was a really nice meal. The laid back atmosphere makes you feel as though you have escaped the world and it is a great hide out from the busy streets of West Ealing. I would definitely recommend a visit and will go again soon.
Fancy something different? Look no further than Tuk Cho, the pan-Asian restaurant in Ealing Broadway, West London:
Island Spice could be a cool spot for a date, for some more date ideas from none other than R&B singer/songwriter Eric Bellinger look below: