BY PALOMA LACY
The capital’s love affair with Caribbean food was strengthened on Friday, with the opening of Limin’ at Spitalfields Market.
This Trinidadian pop-up rum shop and island restaurant is just at the start of a six-week journey, with native Sham Mahabir at the helm, showcasing the island’s varied and truly magnificent cuisine all the way until January 2.
“What is Limin’,?” I hear a few of you asking.
It comes from ‘liming’, the Caribbean word for meeting with friends and relaxing, cutting loose and basically, having a jolly good time of it, which at Limin’ takes on a carnival feel, with a lot of rum thrown in to help proceedings.
A Peckham local, Sham left Trinidad 20 years ago, happily making the UK his home. However, he was left disappointed with the Caribbean food landscape on offer.
He felt it was either dominated by Jamaican cuisine or if he was lucky enough to find Trini treats, they weren’t quite up to his exacting standards. And so this accomplished cook decided the time had come to gather up the best Trini chefs he could find and bring more than a little taste of Trinidad to Londoners.
Trinidad’s rich history sees a multifaceted cuisine, which lends from the migrants that joined its shores hundreds of years ago.
To reflect this, the menu is split into sections with a nod to Indian, Chinese and Creole dishes.
Buss up shots, dhal puri, doubles, pholouire, and pelau take you through the hearts and stomach of this island nation.
Sham is fulsome in his praise for his homeland: “London has a thriving street food but Caribbean food tends to be represented by Jamaica.
“I wanted to educate the capital on food from my country because there’s so much more to the island than meets the eye.
“People can come and have something to eat, buy a bottle of rum and sit and enjoy it with friends.”
He explains his desire to bring a little piece of Trinidad, and his personal history, to London, not just through the food but in Limin’s décor.
“It’s the simple touches like the chicken wire, which was commonly found in every house in the village, in which I grew up,” he said. “While writing the menu, I had the fondest memories, which made me realise how much I missed this era of my life.
I felt very emotional before we opened because it made me think of my late father and I realised he would have been proud of me.
“As a simple man, travel and international cuisine were not high on his agenda, but this he could relate to. So this place is dedicated to him.”
Limin has brought traditional Trini cuisine into the present day with a weekend brunch like no other.
On Saturday and Sunday, diners can enjoy bottomless rum punch, with a three-course brunch for £40.
You can also enjoy an alcohol-free brunch for £25.
Limin’, 107B Commercial Road, E1 6EW. Open from noon daily, with close times as on Monday- Wednesday 9pm and Thursday-Sunday at 11pm.