Bringing a taste of the Caribbean to Elephant and Castle
Local favourite Tasty Jerk is up and running in Elephant Park.
This will be welcome news to those who tried the food at Tasty Jerk in the past – but don’t assume you’ve tried it all. When its new doors open this winter, visitors can expect more on the menu.
As the name suggests, you can still expect to feast on Caribbean favourites such as jerk chicken, rice and peas as well as ackee saltfish and curried goat. But there will also be new taste sensations to explore, including vegan and vegetarian options.
Here, co-owner Linda Johnson, who runs Tasty Jerk with husband and chef Rayon, explains more:
Tell us a bit about Tasty Jerk – who is behind the brand, and how long have you been in business?
Tasty Jerk has been a real passion project for me and my husband. It was always Rayon’s dream to start his own restaurant. Growing up in Jamaica, Rayon learnt his cooking skills from his grandmother, who was a big believer in using natural ingredients and serving up good quality, hearty food. He started a restaurant in Jamaica, which was very successful, so when he moved to England, he had his heart set on creating a new business that shared traditional Caribbean food. And so, Tasty Jerk was born.
We spent a year at East Street Market, where Rayon cooked and we could gather feedback on the dishes from locals. Then, in 2015, I happened upon Artworks. We decided to open a pop-up there in December of that year. It was a great experience for us and showed Rayon that there was a definite appetite from the local community for the traditionally inspired dishes we had on offer. When Artworks closed in 2018, we even had locals coming up to us in the street asking us when we would be bringing Tasty Jerk back to Elephant and Castle.
Why Elephant and Castle?
After Artworks, we were planning to start a restaurant and had been looking for the perfect spot. We live in the local area and have children, so we wanted to ensure the restaurant was fairly close to home. We hadn’t really look anywhere outside of Elephant and Castle for the business; this is our home and we have built up a good reputation here. When we saw the new Sayer Street development and the opportunities for independent businesses like ourselves, we thought it looked like the perfect place for the next step in Tasty Jerk’s growth
How would you describe Tasty Jerk in three words?
Welcoming, tasty and good quality; whoops, that’s four
What can people expect from Tasty Jerk in this new location?
A welcoming, friendly place for people to come to enjoy delicious Caribbean food, served with a smile. We want to continue to see Elephant and Castle as a place of unity and would like our restaurant to be a place where people can come and feel relaxed with friends.
What makes Tasty Jerk different?
As well as the traditional dishes on offer, we are placing a strong emphasis on customer service. Great customer service is incredibly important to us and we want those who walk through the doors to feel happy, well attended to and of course, well fed!
What do you predict will happen to the food and drink scene in Elephant and Castle over the next five years?
All in all, I think that Elephant and Castle just feels like a happier place to be these days. Being residents within the local area as well as business owners, we’ve seen a shift in more people going out to eat, try new food and explore the new independent shops, restaurants and bars. We can only hope this continues to grow, and more delicious food and drink businesses open in Elephant and Castle so it becomes a go-to destination for food lovers in London.
Tasty Jerk will open on Sayer Street this winter. To find out more about the exact opening date, menu announcements and more, follow the business on Facebook.
To read more Q&A’s from restaurants in the area, check out the below links: