Monday, 17 February 2014

The bright lights of Xquisite

So I had just moved to Tulse Hill and couldn't wait to try the local restaurants. Two weeks in and I had already tried four - it's nice having a new kitchen don't get me wrong, but spending two weekends shifting boxes and building furniture, cooking is the last thing I want to do (ok maybe not the last, but you catch my drift).

Before even moving here I already had one place in mind that I wanted to go, Bubbas - a Caribbean restaurant in the old station building. I had heard pretty good things about it and it had been on my list of places to go for a while. So you can imagine my disappointment to find that it had closed, sadly due to the owner passing away. But it would appear that in the very same building, a new Caribbean restaurant had taken it's place: Xquisite.

So it's Friday night at 8.30pm the restaurant should be buzzing with customers yes? No. Peak serving and barely anyone in sight, I was intrigued to find out why. 

Walking in we found the staff to be friendly and polite, if not a little bit slow and once we finally ordered a drink from the somewhat poorly stocked bar (I'm still convinced they had just popped to the corner shop), we had come to the conclusion that this slow service may be something of a theme and not wanting to put up camp for the night whilst we waited for each course, we decided to skip straight to the main.

Glass now empty and still no food. After several "can we get you anything else?" - we got their hint.

We'll have a starter.

And woosh just like that, out comes the soggy non-crispy salt fish fritter as if it had been waiting for us to order it all along. Not lacking flavour, but definitely lacking texture. Not the sort of filler you want whilst we wait for our mains.

But finally they arrive - mine a beautifully slow cooked oxtail stew with rice and salad, and my boyfriend had a fantastically spiced shrimp curry. 

Although the flavours of the stew were gorgeous, I'm not actually sure what it looked like let alone what colour it was supposed to be, if you look at the pictures you'll see what I mean. 

The nauseating lights of Exquisite switched from one colour to the next, setting my senses in a spin. Although the tender meat fell off the bone it was hard to see what was bone and what wasn't, creating a frustrating experience. 

I found closing my eyes quite useful - I could actually start to enjoy the taste, which was actually delicious, really delicious. Unfortunately for my boyfriend, having my eyes closed made for poor company. Feeling sick it is then.

Needless to say we didn't order a dessert and swiftly ordered the bill and left.

I am disappointed by this restaurant, partly because of the hype I had built up prior to it and it's proximity to my front door but also because the flavours of the mains were spot on. However I really didn't enjoy the experience so perhaps I could order to take out next time, but way in advance to avoid any long waits!

Yelly-fi-felly-food-belly x