"Hearty Caribbean cooking"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Although Streatham is considered by many to be Brixton’s poorer relation, there are signs it might be on the cusp of reaching up-and-coming status. Then again, where within the M25 isn’t? En route to Caribbean restaurant Cho Cho – a name I can’t say out loud without giggling – branches of Nandos and Pizza Express are doing a roaring trade. Further down Streatham High Road is the acclaimed jazz club Hideaway, although this road also suffered the infamy of being voted Britain’s worst street in a 2002 poll by BBC Radio 4.
Cho Cho bills itself as “SW16’s most opulent limeing address”, limeing being the Jamaican word for “hanging out”, and opulent being a discordant array of gold studded leather banquettes, clear Perspex chairs, and walls painted deep purple or lime green.
The short menu (three starters, three mains and three desserts) changes weekly, and is priced at a very affordable £21 for two courses and £25 for three. Starters include skewered grilled jerk chicken, milder than your average Caribbean dish but with a nice peppery flavour, and garlicky prawns wrapped in a slither of still-crunchy grilled courgette.
We move on to tender pork ribs and the catch of the day, a choice between parrot fish and sea bream. For those who don’t know (and I didn’t), parrot fish are so-called because their mouths look a little like parrots’ beaks. More fascinating facts: their spectacular colours change several times throughout their lives, and so does their gender – I don’t know about you, but this is exactly the kind of fish I want to eat. It’s meaty, flakes easily and is coated in a baked crust that seals in flavour, but you can choose to have it pan-fried, steamed or boiled instead. It’s complemented by dumplings, spinach and a yam cake, along with broccoli, green beans and carrots, but the veg adds colour and little else. For dessert there is Caribbean tarte tatin with syrupy chopped peach and a comforting banana pancake drizzled in caramel.
It’s just a shame the restaurant is empty as there is some very hearty cooking going on here.
Leila reviewed Cho Cho Restaurant on Wed 15 May 2013