Well, unfortunately not in the literal sense but as soon as you walk though the doors of The Rum Kitchen you can imagine that you've just walked into a beach shack in St Lucia.
The decor is rich and vibrant and reggae music plays loud enough for a great atmosphere...but not so loud you can't hear yourself speak (my pet hate, as you may know).
As we were a little early for our table we settled at the bar to give the cocktail menu a try - naturally! The Rum Kitchen boasts of housing over 100 varieties of rum in their hidden cellar and as you would expect, the cocktail menu was very rum-based. And very appealing.
Beth had the Rumbustion - their delectable take on the Pina Colada.
I decided upon the Rattle Skull Punch which was deliciously fruity and spicy, served in a large mug.
Suitably impressed so far!
It was empty when we arrived at 6pm but within the hour most of the tables were full and the atmosphere was buzzing but relaxed.
We studied the menu.
Resisting the temptation to order one of everything (which I did suggest), we decided to start with the Salt Fish Fritters with chilli jam and Salt 'n' Chilli Squid.
The squid was good and nicely crispy without being too chewy. The fritters were delicious!
In generous, plump portions, they were rich and succulent and I felt as though I could have eaten a bucket of them!
For our main course we ordered the Spiced Up Chicken Supreme which came with yam bubble and squeak and the Jerk Lamb Cutlets with guava sauce and vegetables.
Oh, and a side of Jerk Chicken wings.
And spicy fries.
Together it all smelt like the best barbeque ever.
The chicken dish was great, really set off by the delicious rich jerk gravy that I couldn't stop mopping up with my chips. The lamb I found a too blackened for my liking but the sauce and vegetables were yummy.
I was kind of surprised that the chicken wings didn't blow me away - perhaps I've been spoilt after Disco Bistro's sticky winged delight last week. But the paprika spiced chips were delicious!
Rather than dessert, we plumped for another round of cocktails. Definitely one of Rum Kitchen's strong points!
Rum Kitchen is a fab little restaurant and it would be a fantastic choice of place to go to celebrate a birthday or just catch up with friends. The service left a little to be desired though but perhaps we arrived at a bad time. The toilets aren't great either - but what do you expect from a beach hut?
Now Notting Hill isn't somewhere that either Beth or I visit very often. Or ever, to be honest. But I know that Portobello Road is where it's at!
So we headed over there in our party shoes to find a road that looked like it had been shut for Christmas. This was Wednesday night people, three days till the weekend, where was everyone? I'm sure we must have done something wrong - quiet end of the road perhaps (feel free to enlighten me) - but we decided to have a quick drink in the Earl of Lonsdale pub then headed back to where we know a lot better...north London and the Boogaloo in Highgate.
I love the Boogaloo.
I used to live round the corner so it was my local pub once upon a time. On Friday and Saturday nights they usually play a great mix of rock n roll and indie music that I'd not really experienced anywhere else in London.
Plus they have a juke box and I LOVE a juke box (Elvis non-stop anyone?).
Tonight they had some live music and one of the guys who performed was really good.
A couple more hours of music and chat and we were ready to call it a day.
But not before I made Beth a glass of my new cocktail...I'll tell you about that one later!
The Rum Kitchen