Where to find Indo-Caribbean roti wraps, Guyanese pepperpot stew, doubles, aloo pies, and more
Caribbean takeouts and restaurants in London have become synonymous with Jamaican food over the years, owing to the island cuisine’s dominance in U.K. Caribbean restaurants. It’s little known that the distance between some Caribbean islands is the same as that between England and Eastern Europe, and thus the culture and food of each island differ greatly. Many diaspora from other Caribbean, particularly Trinidad and Guyana, started to crave their food, and in London, a collection of — some secret — shops have been blossoming for years while serving up Indo-Caribbean fare: roti wraps, doubles, and aloo pies.
1. Horizon Foods
London N18 1SX, UK
Hidden among clothing factories and food packaging depots is one of the U.K.’s oldest and largest Trinidadian food companies, Horizon Foods. It’s also one of north London’s best-kept secrets. As it’s not a shop per se, the mass volume of rotis created each day — going to the likes of high street upstart Wrap It Up — allow for favourable wholesale prices for walk-in customers. Its no wonder the hungry drive up from all over the south east of the country to stock up on chickpea-infused dhal puri roti skins, bags of pholouri balls, and aloo pies.
2. Roti Stop
London N16 6XZ, UK
Roti Stop is a firm favourite of the local north London Caribbean population so expect to find some Jamaican specialties here too: patties and jerk chicken. Given this crossover, the real treat here is the numerous combinations of roti on offer, including a rare cross-island breed: saltfish and ackee roti. Sacrilege to some, but heaven to others.
3. Trinidad Roti Shop
London NW10 8SE, UK
Nearly a decade old. Local Trinis and Jamaicans looking for something different on a road densely populated with Jamaican takeouts offering patties and jerk find solace in the aptly named Trinidad Roti Shop. Offering up the usual Trini fare, vegans will especially favour the vegetable roti, jam-packed with pumpkin, spinach, chana curry, and potatoes. The more seasoned Trini food connoisseurs of the area savour the ‘Saturday Oil’ down on weekends: a coconut milk stew with the choice of pork, fish, or chicken.
4. Hilltop Roti
London W13 8RY, UK
Filling west Londoners’ need for a roti hub to call their own, Hilltop Roti in Ealing has emerged as one of the hottest Trini spots in the capital. Hilltop keeps it slightly simpler than some of the other spots, with a menu of roti fillings consisting of just assorted curried red meats, shrimp, and a vegan option. All of these are to be enjoyed with homemade drinks: the seaweed-based sea moss, or classic plant juices, sorrel and mauby.
5. Roti Kitchen – Caribbean Restaurant
London W13 9HH, UK
Adding to west London’s burgeoning roti scene, Roti Kitchen in West Ealing looks to celebrate all elements of Caribbean culture and heritage rather than just one island. With this, the kitchen menu stretches far beyond its already extensive roti offering, which covers the likes of butternut squash filling, saltfish buljol — fresh veg medley — and barbecue chicken. Add the sharing platters and numerous sides on offer, and novices to Caribbean food can get a primer on food from all the islands.
London SE8 4AF, UK
The Chaconia flower is the national flower of Trinidad & Tobago, chosen as it blooms at the end of August, which is when the nation gained its independence from Britain. This, and a ream of other interesting facts about the island collective, can be learned from Una, the owner of Deptford’s restaurant named of the same flower. As all the roti skins and fillings are made by Una, they have a softer, less oily and industrial texture than other places. It also means that the select choice of fillings — stewed and curried chicken or goat — have more depth of flavour and seasoning to them. The fry bakes are also a joy, to be snapped up whenever they are spotted in the side warmer. A less dense dumpling split with a saltfish boujoul, consisting of intensely flavoured saltfish and vegetables, at only £1.50 these are not to be missed.
7. Roti Joupa
London SW4 7UT, UK
Often mistaken as an Indian curry house, the constant energetic Soca music emanating from the shop’s speakers confirm that the family behind London’s Roti Joupa hails from Trinidad & Tobago. With an assortment of roti bread styles and fillings, it’s hard not to find some combination that will become one’s go-to for years to come. While the award for best doubles in London is very much up for debate, the Roti Joupa fans are definitely the most vocal and voracious. For dessert, Roti Joupa sets itself apart with a daily baked goods selection, starting with coconut bakes and sweet bread. Those looking for a challenge can attempt to devour the shockingly sour tamarind balls, while the staff giggle at the expressions that ensue.
20 Stroud Green Road, N4 3EA
58 Goldhawk Road, W12 8HA
8. Umana Yana
London SE24 9DA, UK
Though Guyana has a long history of British rule, its diaspora in Britain is amongst the least populous of the Caribbean islands. With this, Umana Yana exists as one of the very few of Guyanese takeout spots in the entire country, let alone London. Here, Guyanese specialities such as slow-simmering sweet pepperpot stew, the classic okra-chicken combo, and curried meat and fish are all on display. The sweet pastry offering which is part and parcel of Indo-Caribbean trade don’t disappoint, with the likes of cassava pone — a cassava sweet potato cake — eddoe balls — formed from root vegetable dasheen — and the vividly coloured salara coconut swirl cake.
9. Roti Island
London SE25 4UY, UK
Roti Island is a fitting name: its position in South Norwood on a road jam-packed with Jamaican takeaways must feel like an island. The shop offers up all the roti fillings one would expect, from curried meats to the rare sighting of a kingfish filling: a less salty and heartier fish than the usual saltfish. If the roti bread is too much or a New Year regime is in place, the plump pelau rice will surely suffice.
10. Roti Masters
Sutton SM1 1AY, UK
While the likes of Roti Stop rings bells north of the river, to those south all these mean nothing compared to Croydon’s Roti Masters, which has been a quasi-social hub for the Trini community in the area over the last decade. Freshly prepared dhal puri roti and also buss up shot’s streaky roti bread strips go hand in hand with curry shrimp or fried king fish, Trini favourite Red Sorrel Solo soda on the side.