Mother and daughter team Monica and Lee have been inviting guests in to their Erdington home for several years now to offer them a little ray of Caribbean sunshine inspired by Monica’s home island of Carriacou, a parish of Grenada. “Tan” is an term of endearment for an “Aunt”, and so Monica’s eponymous grandmother was apparently known as “Tan Rosie” by the family and those beyond it. Their “supper club” runs regularly, at about £30 a head for three courses, and you can find details of it on their website http://tanrosie.com. It’s BYO alcohol. The ladies also produce and sell a range of Caribbean food – fudge, sauces, rubs etc.
As we had a large group Monica and Lee arranged a private dinner for our dozen or so diners. We arrived and were shown to the patio where homemade spicy gingerade awaited us, we were told that adding our own rum (which we did) would give it a kick! Monica was busying herself with chicken wings on the barbecue when we arrived and they smelled awesome. The drinks were accompanied by their sweet chilli sauce and plantain chips for dipping.
Seated at the dining table we cracked open a bottle of Gewürztraminer, suggested by Loki Wines to pair with the aromatic and spicy food to come. For starters the meat eaters had succulent and spicy chicken wings. Can’t go wrong with that! The vegetarian had crisp and golden sweetcorn fritters. Instead of bread we were served Caribbean bakes with butter – they were very filling but so delicious that I had to keep eating them until there were none left. The portions were all certainly generous.
On to mains, the vegetarians had Ital stew, and the carnivores mutton curry. Both were served with glistening gold plantains, french beans, carrots, and rice and beans. The spiced mutton had been cooked slowly so was tender and falling off the bone, though my British pallet still finds meat on chopped bone a bit strange – it is however traditionally Caribbean, with much of the meaty flavour coming from the bone. Monica came to the UK in the 60s from Carriacou and she says she always tries to include that taste of home in every dish, and the mutton curry did Granada, “the Spice Isle”, proud. I don’t think I’ve ever had fried and roasted plantain before, and it was really good, a more neutral flavour to match with the heady flavours of the curry.
After a few minutes digesting the rather large dinner, desserts arrived. It would have been sensible at this point to opt for the fresh fruit salad. Obviously that wasn’t going to happen and most of us plumped (an operative word I fear) for the rum cake and custard. To go with dessert Loki Wines had suggested Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum and a neat dram of that was perfect. It was filled with the flavours of sugar cane which tied brilliantly with the richness of the soft rum cake and creamy custard.
Monica and Lee were wonderful supper club hosts, and we thanks them for inviting us in to their home and for feeding us a bit of Carriacou. Delightful.