When I think of the Caribbean, exotic islands, reggae and calypso music first come to mind. Having never sampled authentic Caribbean food myself, I was intrigued when I heard that Sugarcane had opened in Nairobi late last year.
Caribbean cuisine features a blend of African, European, East Indian, Chinese and Arab influences. While each island has its signature dish, jerks and marinades are prominent in this cuisine. Located on the first floor of Garden City Mall along Thika highway, Sugarcane’s yellow walls and reggae music are the perfect backdrop for a soulful experience. The relaxed atmosphere and welcoming servers were just what we needed on this chilly evening.
I was curious to experience Caribbean cuisine for the first time and ready to be satisfied. Sugarcane’s dishes incorporate spices such as scotch bonnet peppers, herbs, jerk spice and homemade sauces. We chose to sit inside away from the door to keep the cold at bay. The puce hued, refreshing sorrel juice (made from the hibiscus flower) was my choice of drink for the night and my friend had Tamarind juice, a sweet and sour drink made from the Tamarind fruit. Our starters featured the special soup for the week; carrot and coriander soup and barbecued chicken wings served with tamarind sauce. The soup was thick and rich with flavour owing to the perfect combination of mixed spices and herbs. The wings were served with lettuce, onions and coriander and the tamarind sauce gave them a delectable tanginess.
After these delicious appetizers, we were hooked and not even the biting cold outside could wear down our excitement. Our mains were brought out in quick succession. I had Jerk chicken marinated with a sauce made of spring onions, cinnamon, soy sauce, scotch bonnet peppers and mixed spices and herbs. It was served with plump fried plantains, jerk sauce and fluffy rice mixed with bits of pigeon peas and a touch of coconut milk. The jerk chicken was exceptionally moist and lightly charred. I loved the smokey taste which kicked into overdrive when paired with the homemade jerk sauce. The sweetness of the fried plantains complimented the spicy jerk sauce and my sorrel juice came in handy calming my fiery tongue.
My friend had the Escovitch red snapper which was served with a pickle sauce made of vinegar, onions, scotch bonnet pepper and carrot. The crispy skinned fish was flaky and full of soft meat on the inside. There wasn’t much additional seasoning to the snapper allowing the flavour of the fish to dominate. Topping the fish was a pickled mixture of vibrant carrots, onion and red peppers.
Dessert was colorful and beautifully presented. We tucked into the soft banana and salara bread topped with a scoop of mango ice cream. Salara bread is made with red coconut fillings and it can also serve as breakfast or a snack. The light, warm and moist breads brought our dinner to a soothing end.
Not only are these meals available at the restaurant, they can be delivered straight to you. Whether you are hosting a corporate function, a wedding, or just a simple family gathering, Sugarcane’s Caribbean Food would serve as a pleasant surprise for your guests. Sugarcane plans to open two more branches at Village Market and Lavington over the coming months, giving you the perfect excuse to get out and try some delicious Caribbean cuisine.