Owner of Jerk and Jollof, Chuks, and Big Narstie, at the restaurant's opening evening. Image courtesy of Jerk and Jollof.
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Jerk and Jollof Nigerian-Caribbean café-restaurant opens on the Roman

Jamaican jerk chicken and Nigerian Jollof rice come to the East End, recommended by Grime MC Big Narstie.

From the people that brought Caribbean Heart street food to the Isle of Dogs, Jerk and Jollof Nigerian-Caribbean restaurant has opened in Bow, its bright yellow exterior unmissable on the middle stretch of the Roman. 

A large bunch of balloons still dominates the shop window, a remnant of its grand opening on Monday 21 August which was attended by Big Narstie grime rapper, comedian and restauranter.

An old friend of the owner, who is known as Chuks, you might’ve spotted Big Narstie on the Roman recently. He’s been back to Jerk and Jollof several times since its opening: the ultimate badge of honour for a Caribbean eatery located in the birthplace of grime

According to Chuks, 41, the restaurant has received a warm welcome from Roman Road locals, popping in for a takeaway lunch, or eating in the large indoor seating area, decorated with Jamaican flags and a canopy of leaves. 

Chuks was born in Nigeria and moved to Bow as a child: ‘Growing up, there were only four or five African families in the area, and I’ve always wanted to give back to the community by opening a restaurant here,’ he says.

‘Asian minority groups have done so well in the area and I wanted to inspire younger people in the African community that they can also contribute to society, be entrepreneurs and run businesses around here.’ 

Having opened Caribbean Heart street food vendor in Canary Wharf three years ago, Chuks’ newest culinary venture in Bow fuses his popular Caribbean fare with a taste of his home country of Nigeria. 

As the restaurant’s name would suggest, the best-selling dish on the menu is the Jerk chicken and Jollof rice. According to chef, Nickey Campbell: ‘People sometimes think the combination of such flavoursome dishes will be too highly spiced, but the jerk sauce isn’t too overwhelming.’ 

The chicken is sourced from Subhan halal butchers on the Roman, marinated in a sweet and gently spiced jerk sauce and grilled until well-charred to achieve its distinctive island smokiness. 

The tender Caribbean goat curry is another popular favourite and a recommendation of Chuks himself. Plates are piled high with generous portions of plantains, dumplings, and coleslaw, not forgetting a bottle of authentic Nigerian orange fanta to wash it all down. 

‘Asian minority groups have done so well in the area and I wanted to inspire younger people in the African community that they can also contribute to society, be entrepreneurs and run businesses around here.’ 

Chuks, Jerk and Jollof owner

The menu also features traditional Nigerian dishes such as Eugsi; a spinach stew thickened with softened pumpkin seeds which is a staple dish in homes and street food stalls across West Africa. 

‘A lot of our customers have never tried some of our Nigerian dishes, so it’s great to know we’re expanding people’s tastes in the area,’ laughs Chuks. 

Jerk and Jollof is the third in a stream of food vendors that have recently found a permanent home in Bow. Vital Foodz vegan Caribbean food truck opened its first bricks and mortar shop in Globe Town this July, but you won’t find its jackfruit or vegan ‘wheat meat’ at Jerk and Jollof. 

If it’s a no-frills Nigerian Caribbean feast you’re after, you better get down to 464 Roman Road: Jerk and Jollof is not yet open for deliveries but we can assure you it’s well worth the trip. 

The restaurant is currently in the process of obtaining an alcohol license so keep your eyes peeled for Red Stripe, rum and reggae. You never know, Big Narstie might even make an appearance. 

Jerk and Jollof newly opened Caribbean Nigerian restaurant on Roman Road.

If you enjoyed this piece, you might like our review of Lanterna, Fish Island’s pizzeria, bar and deli.

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