Guanabana, Camden

Please note that this review is from February 15, 2022 and may be out of date...restaurants sometimes get better, get worse, employ a new chef or end up with new management.

Before this Sunday, I’d had 194 roast dinners since I moved to London. You might think I’d be bored of the same meal by now. I’m not. But this week I spiced things up with a trip to Guanabana in Camden.

A roast dinner in a Caribbean restaurant – if that isn’t proof of the benefits of immigration to the UK over recent decades, and the ability of immigrants to assimilate, adopt and add to British culture, then I don’t know what is.

Though it isn’t just Caribbean influence, Guanabana describes itself as being inspired by the islands of Latin America and the Caribbean, plus all the meat is halal – which may be your thing. Just don’t tell Farage.

We’d actually booked somewhere in Hackney Wick for a roast this Sunday, until TFL e-mailed me with a list of lines they couldn’t be bothered to run this weekend – Metropolitan line (of course) and the Overground being closed meant that we had to think of a new plan.

As the weather was so nice, I managed to route a walk along the canal.

Rain.  Regent's Canal.
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2022

Well, I like rain anyway.

Though it meant I was very early for our meal.

Erm, What Kind Of Rhymes With Guanabana That I Can Use For A Pointless Heading?

Service is on the relaxed side at Guanabana, though as they don’t serve alcohol, I guess the desperation to order that a thirst for beer can divine upon one, isn’t there. Still, it was a good 15 or so minutes before I was asked if I wanted a drink. But her voice was sooooo sweet when she asked.

I guess I could have read The Koran whilst I was waiting. Yes there was a copy of The Koran. I see your thoughts. Especially the handful of Islamophobes amongst you. You are wondering where the Bible is, aren’t you? You won’t visit unless they also have a Bible, will you? Chill out. They had a Bible too.

A Baking Bible.

I know…books in a restaurant. Whatever next? Certainly not books on a bookshelf of a culture secretary.

So yeah, Guanabana is a little different from your average roast dinner serving venue and I’m always keen on somewhere different.

These kind of small, independent (ish) restaurants, espousing different food cultures are the heartbeat of our wonderful capital city, at least in my stomach’s opinion.

But can they do a good roast dinner? Oh and don’t worry – it’s BYOB.

I Only Do These Headings Because My SEO Plugin Tells Me To

Guanabana, Camden, Sunday Roast Menu
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2022

Two options for a roast – jerk chicken or rib eye. No contest really in my eyes, though if there was no Caribbean influence elsewhere in the roast then I may have swayed for jerk chicken. However, there really is no chance of me turning down rib eye of beef. Priced at £20.00.

Our meals took around 15-20 minutes to arrive.

Guanabana, Camden, Roast Dinner
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2022

Yeah somehow this photograph has a yellow tint to it – and the later photograph has a red tint to it. But at least there is a photograph. Imagine me having to describe roast dinners without a photograph.

I was followed yesterday by yet another Instagram roast dinner reviewing account, because apparently there is no way to find a good roast dinner in London without them – and their photography is far worse than mine, so just behold my abilities. And don’t you dare follow them. YOU ARE MINE. MINE.

I’m going to start with the gravy – which can be a bad sign, but not necessarily in this case.

You know that I prefer my gravy almost as thick as Nadine Dorries – you may wonder why people as thick as her get good jobs in government but it is fairly obvious – employing dumbasses takes the heat off the man at the top. Remember John Prescott?

Anyway, speaking of heat, this jerk gravy packed a punch. Quite thin and bitty, though it was the spice in the gravy that made it – you’ve probably already decided whether Guanabana is for you before I even mentioned the food, and if you don’t want anything spicy in your roast dinner, then having jerk gravy isn’t going to appeal.

I liked it. Quite a lot. But it did overpower the rest of the roast dinner. Is that a criticism? I don’t think so, not after 194 roast dinners of which at least half have had weak, watery gravy or yacky red wine jus. It’s a thought.

I wouldn’t want jerk gravy on my roast dinner every week, but unless I move to Jamaica, I won’t be having jerk gravy on my roast dinner every week. Have we exported the beauty of roast dinners to Jamaica? Apparently Jamaica Bar in Faliraki does a great roast dinner. Remind me to visit Faliraki when I start Roast Dinners Around The World. Maybe.

Mostly I Hate Having To Think Of Headings

Onto the Chantenay carrots, which had a crunch to them and were overly charred. Oh and they tasted of jerk gravy.

You cannot see the cabbage because my photography ability is roughly on the same level as Nadine Dorries’ knowledge of the internet.

Yeah 10 years of the internet, half of which I’ve been writing this blog, and I still cannot photograph my dinner properly. Anyway, the chunk of cabbage was really nice, nestled under the beef, dripping with juices and tasting of…jerk gravy.

Plantain. Every time I eat plantain, I feel like telling everyone that it is the first time that I’ve eaten it. Maybe Sunday was the first time I’ve eaten it. I do rather like it – kind of like a cross between banana and parsnip. A little crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

Guanabana, Camden, Sunday Roast
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2022

The roast potatoes were edible but weren’t really roast potatoes. My mother used to make something similar, potatoes chopped and put into a deep fat fryer – we called them chips. Maybe they oven-cooked these, they didn’t taste fried, but the texture and feel was as such.

Also the Yorkshire pudding reminded me of the ones you get out of a packet – it had that kind of factory-made perfect roundness to it, and that slightly tough texture. Their Instagram videos suggest that they are made by them in-house, but then again, their yorkies (and roasties) on their Instagram videos look a lot more home-made than what we were served.

Finally, the rib-eye of beef. Good quantity-wise – three reasonably thick slices meant that I’d had a good steak’s worth of beef. It wasn’t the best rib-eye that I’ve ever had – lacking in eye and marbling, but it was good enough to enjoy.

Oh and don’t forget the watercress. It will definitely offend those that want to be offended (a bit like spicy gravy or having a copy of The Koran nearby) – but you can put salad leaves on my roast any time. Leaves, I stress. Don’t even think about putting cucumber on my roast dinner.

Occasionally I Find Some Genius Headings To Use.

So this is the 5th week in a row where I’ve had a good roast dinner – though not a “you must go here” roast dinner.

However, as Guanabana offers something different, if you are like me and (mostly) like trying something new, then even if it isn’t a world-beating roast dinner, there is an intrigue which might have led you to already have put it on your to-do list. Especially if you live for jerk seasoning, then I think you definitely need to pay a visit.

We all enjoyed it, but it wasn’t without imperfections. The roast potatoes had a texture of deep-fried chips, and the yorkie seemed like it was from a packet.

On the flip side, the cabbage was particularly good, I enjoyed the plantain (whoa…something different on a roast dinner) and the jerk gravy, though I wouldn’t want it every week, it was enjoyable to have gravy with a kick to it.

Service was, hmmm, relaxed, but super friendly. I think desserts and coffee/tea came from the next door bakery which they also seem to run…perhaps I haven’t quite got that right, but there was a lot of popping out and back with coffee and dessert.

Scores around the table were two lots of 7.70’s, a 7.50 and from myself – a 7.22 out of 10. I seem to be harder to impress at the moment than my accomplices.

Next Sunday I’m going somewhere that might break a rule or two.

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Guanabana, Camden

Station: Camden Town

Tube Lines: Northern

Fare Zone: Zone 1

Price: £20.00

Rating: 7.22

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Plantain on a roast dinner - what's not to like about that? Jerk gravy punchy, though a tad overwhelming also.

Loathed: Roasties felt like mum's deep fried chips, yorkie a little factory feeling.

2 responses to “Guanabana, Camden

  1. So it was fried plantain. It is more usually found accompanying a rice based dish but rice with a roast would be too weird. Saying Guanabana makes me think of the two pink cows on the Muppets singing Mah Nà Mah Nà.

  2. Looks pretty good, definitely £20 worth. I’m a chilli fiend so that gravy/jus would be a nice change, plantain I don’t dislike either. Is it a proper roast dinner…no, but I’d give it a go.

    And of course Nadine Dorries is stupid, she’s also a liar i.e. a politician!, but lets have it right…she’s a proper milf, blonde, huge fun bags, works for me!
    And if anyone gets uppity about the Koran try this one, I’ve read the Koran, and the Bible, the Torah, the Gita and the Vedas…and I’m an Atheist and Antitheist!

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