When Caribbean communities in London started to develop and thrive after the Second World War, many started to miss various elements of their life back home: parties, music, and food. Many then started to look at recreating them all in the U.K. Long shipping times in that era prevented the Atlantic transport of many foodstuffs, which led to many seeking to recreate what they could with local ingredients. With the ease of (mimicking) baked foods, many of the earliest Caribbean food spots in the U.K. were bakeries, and many of those still stand and trade today. Expect to be queuing out the door this holiday season, as island baked goods hold a special place at the meal table come at Christmas.Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
1. Mister Patty
Another longstanding Caribbean business which opened in the 1970s. Mister Patty serves the same classical French, soft style patties reminiscent of the original kind found in 1960s Jamaica, rather than the bright yellow ones seen across London today.
2. High Crown Bakery & Take-Away
Owned by the same family as the legendary Hawkeye Records, which still exists next door. High Crown serves the entire roster of classic baked Caribbean fare, soups of the day, and select meals. The key difference here is the owners’ use of their own produce which is grown on their farm in Jamaica.
3. Mixed Blessings
Another south London favourite. Most people who haven’t actually been inside have seen and chuckled at the name when passing by on a bus. The hypnotising smells from the bakery draft into the shop front. It opens at the crack of dawn, the walls lined with shelves of hardo bread; by early afternoon, those shelves are usually empty. The bakery also has scores of sweet treats, including the incredible coconut rolls dusted with sugar.
A second location is at: 12 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell, London SE5 0EN
4. JAMAICA PATTY CO.
26 New Row
London WC2N 4LA, UK020 7836 3334Visit Website
Located in central London miles from the nearest alternative from Caribbean food. “JPC” looks to do things differently, positioning its patties more like Cornish pasties. One of the few places that has a curry goat patty, the shop looks to promote all manner of Jamaican food and a light, flaky patty here can be accompanied with a cup of native Blue Mountain coffee, Tortuga rum cake, or Devon house “I-scream,”
5. First Choice Bakers
40 Atlantic Rd, Brixton
London SW9 8JW, UK020 7737 2766Visit Website
Opened in 1995, First Choice is almost a synonym for the word “bakery” for residents of Brixton and Croydon, where its two branches exist. Its patty menu is one of the city’s more experimental and includes lamb and green peas, jerk chicken, and perhaps the most popular — cheesy beef. For the extra hungry, get a patty tucked into a soft sweet coco bread bun.
A second location is at: 28 London Rd, Croydon CR0 2TA
6. Atlantic Bakery
The iconic red frontage of Atlantic Bakery is hard to miss for anyone who’s spent much time in Brixton. Atlantic serves all of its own-made baked goods but also has started to experiment outside the box with the likes of ackee and saltfish-filled dumplings and jerk chicken bagel burgers.
7. Cornfield Bakery
One of the longest standing Caribbean businesses in the U.K. is bastion of Caribbean culture for residents from Croydon and Norwood to Thornton Heath. Queues form out the door toward the latter part of the week — as customers wait for an array baked goods and Caribbean home comfort snacks, like Shirley biscuits and water crackers.
8. The Bread Of Life
19 Coldharbour Ln, Camberwell
London SE5 9NR, UK020 7274 9632Visit Website
A local favourite of bus drivers from the depot round the corner filling up for the long shifts ahead. Hardo (hard dough) bread and spiced bun provide the backdrop for a host of daily Caribbean munches. For many on the go however, like the bus drivers, one of the most filling, quick, and cheapest options is simply a freshly baked dumpling, here at 50p being half the price of most other places. Its served with oat or cornmeal porridge.
9. Rainbow Bakery London
Opened in 1987, this St. Lucian family owned Bakery is now one of the oldest standing shops on Dalston’s rapidly changing Kingsland road. This bakery has focussed on perfecting the basics over years. Its simple menu of bread, buns, patties, and rolls — it is the epitome of “If its not broke, don’t fix it.”
10. Tottenham Town Bakery
This north London institution originally an out-and-out bakery has for years trodden the fine line between Caribbean bakery and takeout, with daily offerings of fried fish, sprats rice n peas with mac n cheese —meaning no matter what time of day, breakfast through to lunch, one can find an excuse to have a meal here.