The last time we went out for a halal Sunday roast had been at Steak On The Green in Ealing and that was ages ago! We thought it was about time we hit up another halal Sunday roast spot and one that grabbed our attention is the Island Sunday Roast at Guanabana Restaurant.
Guanabana has been around for a while and is a well-established spot in Camden. But it’s only in the last few years that they’ve started doing halal Sunday roasts as well. It’s safe to say that it’s been a popular hit and it’s now a staple for the restaurant every Sunday.
The restaurant offers this chilled but vibrant atmosphere, with some really great tunes playing in the background such as Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, etc. Without a doubt, they’ve got some good music taste! If you can, definitely get a table further inside the restaurant. I personally loved the abundance of natural light shining through the atrium and the outdoor seating area was very chilled too.
Guanabana: Everything Latin Caribbean
Date of dining: May 2022
Guanabana started out in 2007 and is one of the first Latin Caribbean restaurants in London. Its menu draws inspiration from all over South America and the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Colombia, Mexican, and everywhere in between. Aside from classic dishes such as Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas, Curry Lamb etc., you can also find steaks and smash burgers on the menu. Weekend brunch is also available, offering the likes of pancakes, Colombian fry-up, etc. Since they’re part of the Maginhawa Group, who’s been prominent in promoting halal Filipino cuisine in London, you could also find hints of Filipino touches such as Adobo Wings, as well as using Pandesal (from neighbouring sister brand – Panadera Bakery) for their burger buns. All meats served are halal at Guanabana.
The Food: What We Ordered
Island Roast Jerked Beef (£22)
A generous portion of roast beef was offered on this island roast and it’s fully loaded with roast potatoes, plantains, baby carrots, grilled cabbage, Yorkshire pudding, and jerk gravy. We went with medium for the roast beef and it came out slightly more on the medium-well side but still with a nice pinkish centre. The beef was generally tender and succulent to taste. It’s reasonably flavoursome itself, which can only indicate good quality of meat.
The main star aside, all the other components on the dish were great too. Personally, the grilled cabbage was my favourite as it was well-seasoned and the char-grilled touch gave it a lovely flavour edge against the jerk gravy. The baby carrots were sweet to taste and they soaked up the flavours from the gravy nicely. The same goes with the potatoes, and the plantains were a nice extra touch. A little bit of extra gravy for the Yorkshire pudding would’ve been nice but it’s not a big deal.
Island Roast Jerk Chicken (£22)
Similar to the roast beef above, the only difference here is swapping the beef with a half jerk chicken. The chicken definitely had more of a jerk flavour compared to the roast beef, complemented with a char-grilled touch over the skin. It was generally tender to taste but not necessarily succulent. This is where the gravy helped add more moisture when it comes to some of the dryer parts of the chicken. Again, more gravy would be welcomed – in this case, for both chicken and the Yorkshire pudding. Overall, it’s a decent roast and we’ve enjoyed all the other components of the dish as mentioned above.
Jollof Rice (£5)
Instead of the typical Nigerian/West African jollof rice, this was arguably more like Caribbean-style jollof rice we would say. It’s got a similar piquant peppery edge of flavours, with a tingle of spice subtly seeping through. Though perhaps the tomato flavour wasn’t as rich or sweet as what we remembered from other African jollof rice we had before. What’s noticeably different was the incorporation of cabbage and carrots in the rice, which were tasty additions. There were also quite a few bits of whole peppercorns in the rice so you might find yourself accidentally biting into a burst of peppery flavours here and there.
Vanilla Milkshake (£5)
Last but not least, we had a Vanilla Milkshake for drinks. A milkshake is a milkshake – sweet, creamy, and milky. It’s not too thick so it was relatively light to taste. Other milkshake flavours include Oreo, Biscoff, and Milo. As for other drinks, they also do Virgin Mojito (lychee/strawberry/lime/mango), Ginger Beer, juices and, of course, the usual soft drinks.
Restaurant Review Summary
All in all, it’s been a decent experience at Guanabana and we definitely left feeling content after getting our cravings fixed for a halal Sunday roast. I wouldn’t necessarily say the Sunday roast was absolutely stellar, but if you fancy a little twist on the British classic, it’s certainly a nice pick. The service was a little slow on the day even though it wasn’t particularly busy during our visit. But overall, it’s decent food and a chilled but vibrant atmosphere, making it a cool spot to pop by when around the area.
Summary & Halal Status
Guanabana draws inspiration from everywhere around Latin Caribbean. The Island Roast was a fun twist on a classic British Sunday Roast. Overall decent food and good vibes in Camden. All meats served are halal.
Nearest station: Camden Road / Kentish Town