Rum Shack, Baby, Rum Shack: Vauxhall Gets A Colourful Jerk Joint

Cottons Vauxhall ★★★★☆

Rum Shack, Baby, Rum Shack: Vauxhall Gets A Colourful Jerk Joint Cottons Vauxhall 4
The Barbados shrimp curry: check out the gems among the non-jerk dishes

Caribbean restaurant Cottons has opened in Vauxhall, and it's bringing a splash of colour to the otherwise greyish, glass-and-steel stretch of the river by St. Georges Wharf.

The outside terrace is buzzing and heated enough to be almost-tempting on a November evening, but inside it's cosy and smells like jerk chicken and tropical fruit: no contest.

Jerk is what they're known for — that and the rum cocktails — but the menu repays a forage through the non-jerk sections. Starters are flawless and generous: a plate of salt and pimiento squid comes stacked high and brightened with a lemongrass and green chilli dressing, and a dish of king prawns in jerk butter delivers on both messiness and smokiness.

Everything packs more flavour than you sometimes get from a chain, where you might expect softer, crowd-pleasing stuff on the cards. The jerk meat platter is smoky, sweet and hot, but the Barbados shrimp curry is a compelling reason to go non-jerk: it's a big, rich bowl stuffed with prawns and root vegetables — the good sort of unctuous, and so hot we're grateful for the fresh mango chutney it comes with.

We'd recommend the rum daiquiris - they're fruity without being syrupy, and thoroughly strong. We don't stick with rum for long, though: in the quantities we need to be cooling our mouths off during dinner, soft drinks or low-ABV beer seem like a safer choice...

Cottons, Unit 12, Flagstaff House, St Georges Wharf, SW8 2LE.

Last Updated 14 November 2017