A report by Adam Coghlan for Eater London.
A London-born Caribbean social club has found its first permanent base. It is described as “a contemporary social space that shares modern British Caribbean culture through food and drink.” It is the creation of two Londoners with Caribbean heritage, Marie Mitchell and Joseph Pilgrim, and will launch in February 2019 at Curio Cabal — a cafe-by-day — on Kingsland Road between Shoreditch and Dalston.
The menu, overseen by Mitchell, the chef in the duo, is inspired by two previous Island Social Club projects, Rumshop and Rotishop. Each night, both rum and roti will sit alongside “a curated events programme, which together re-roots British Caribbean culture in Hackney.” The duo also run the Nyamming supper club series, which uses food, cocktails, art and poetry as a platform for children of the diaspora.
Roti skins — the cornerstone of the menu at the club — will be made in-house and served with curries: curries which “touch on the varied and nuanced food of the Caribbean.” Mitchell also promises dishes taken from her bi-monthly supperclubs, Pop’s Kitchen. She says that all dishes are “mindful of modern techniques, local sustainability, and a touch of ital (Rastafarian vegetarian and vegan culture) spirituality. She will use the menu to explore migration and diversity within Caribbean history.
Drinks-wise, Pilgrim will lead the in-house rum bar, using the same ethos established at Rumshop — one that seeks to investigate the Islands of the Caribbean via family punch recipes and “banging sound systems.” The “progressive menu” will feature an extended rum collection, incorporate a punch recipe which takes 28 days to produce, and include “innovations” on Caribbean classics.
“We feel that our experience is distinct from anything we’ve experienced on the British high street. We want Island Social Club to become an establishment that is a clear representation of our modern London lives. But also a space where we can explore and share our brilliant Caribbean heritage, from island culture to contemporary Black British culture,” Pilgrim said in today’s announcement.
The social club will include 35 covers inside, plus an outside space that will open in the spring and summer. The as-yet unconfirmed events programme will include live music, exhibitions, discussion panels, poetry readings, and collaborations. “These events will harness a vast community passionate about pushing culture forward, and bring ISC’s ‘social club’ concept into fruition,” they said.
The official launch will take place on Friday 15th February 2019. The Curio Cabal residency (a one-time location for TaTa Eatery) will initially run for 12 months. Opening hours: 5 — 11pm Tuesday to Thursday; 5 — 12pm on Friday and Saturday. (Close Sunday and Monday.)