Review: Reggae Roast Carribean Festival
Written by: Sophie Taylor
Roots music, sunbathing and slushies: we hot footed it down to Granary Square in Kings Cross on Friday to embrace the Caribbean fantasy world that was the Reggae Roast Festival.
Surrounding the child-filled water fountains were a circle of street food stalls by Kerb that we attempted to sample the entirety of. It’s a hard life.
By the way and did you know: there’s a Granary Square fountain app you can download and control the water jets with ‘like a giant game of snake’? Erhmagerd. I’m going back with my little nephew to take full advantage of this inevitable hilarity. My nephew won’t really get a look in, he’ll just be there to hold my bag.
Steve from the White Men Can’t Jerk stall was our first port of call, emerging from a cloud of smoke with hands made of barbecue tongs and a fiery beard of ginger spice. He’s modest about his creations, which include a genius-like curried mutton shepherd’s pie and Red Stripe-poached fried chicken wings. After a little chat, Steve’s off to tend to his hot friend Talulah: their custom made griller covered with jerk chicken waiting to be devoured by lucky, lucky punters. I wish we’d tried their Jerk Halloumi but we’ll be back.
While we wait for gin and tequila Watermelon slushies from the Reggae Roast bar (slightly expensive at over £20 for 3 but completely worth it after one slurp), our Mike slopes off to the Only Jerkin stall for a box of sweet potato fritters. Oh, the crunchy soft salty sweet sticks of orange nirvana. Their mango banana chutney dip looks suspiciously like baby food but tastes more like ooh baby that’s the good stuff.
Our Tavia decides on an exotic fish wrap from Vinn Goute, packed tight with spice and flavour in silver foil served on a bed of lettuce, creole sauce and homemade chilli and mayonnaise. The tropical flavours of the shores of the Seychelles were out in force at Kings Cross. Kerb are a picky street food collective and only invite the top notchiest of tastebud providers around. Before signing traders up as KERBanists they ‘inKERBate’ them (their words, not ours, but we enjoy the punny-ness of it all). They say this is to ensure that “every business we work with is KERB-ready and firing on all cylinders – from food quality to operations to look/feel and service”. After this and all going well, they invite inKERBators to become fully fledged members (KERBanists).
I plump for a Jerk pork bun from Kerb inKERBators, Pig & Rig who are a delightful bunch with a trio of special sauces to choose from and dip popcorn into before deciding on your saucy pork treat. I go for Jeps Jerk sauce and blow out my cobwebs for at least a month. They usually bring their own sound system, it’s their thing, but can’t compete today with Reggae Roast’s own speaker wall pumping out UK Reggae from the other side of the square.
Reggae Roast’s sound system starts to win against the wind and we find ourselves hovering towards the reggae beats emitting from their custom-built speaker arrangement. It’s a sight to behold: 9 foot high, futuristic and thick with roots music. Adam Prescott (check out our interview with the man himself here) is picking the tunes while the rest of the label’s members dance around him and request Bob Marley tracks just to piss him off. They’re a friendly crew who don’t mind a good natter around the DJ tent over a watermelon slushie.
Round the back of the decks are the canal-side grassy steps, which were covered in people chinwagging and collecting Pokemon in the sun. It might not be a Caribbean island, but for a square overlooking a train station it’s not half bad.
Photos: Mike Barry
Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.
Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon
Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.
Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loath it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.
Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.
Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!
By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.
Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.
Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!
Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!
Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.
God bless the Queen... of Hoxton. Or, more specifically, their rooftop - which happens to be one of our favourites in this here city of London. These guys are well known for creating beautiful, seasonal pop-ups which have included the Nordic Viking themed 'Skye Halla' and the Neverland inspired 'Bangarang'. This winter make way for 'The Moroccan Medina', a sky high hideaway inspired by the romanticism of the beguiling ancient city of Marrakesh.
Next time you need a caffeine hit why not take it from a cup brewed from Jamaican beans grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, whilst eating a home made vegan banana bread as you sit among an array of sweetly scented blooms. Welcome to Mento, Finsbury Park.
Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.