Guanabana — Camden, London
Guanabana in Camden is a family run Latin American & Caribbean restaurant with a real chill-out vibe and good hearty food. I visited here as part of a Halal Gems Dining Club event (in collaboration with the Emerald Network), where the private dining area was hired out for about 45 diners. Halal Gems is a website geared towards diners who want to find halal restaurants. It features reviews and information about halal restaurants, and will hold regular dining club events.
Back to Guanabana — Restaurant owner Omar, described it as ‘a labour of love’. Much effort and thought has been put into the ambience they wanted to achieve and of course the well thought out menu which has a host of dishes. The restaurant is decorated with vintage ornate nicknacks from around the world. Retro and rustic, Guanabana certainly has a bespoke interior.
We had a range of starters of which the best were – Crispy Coated Calamari, Flying Adobo — chicken wings glazed in sweet peppercorn and bayleaf sauce and Nachos Grande — a big plate of nachos. The chicken wings were really flavoursome with a subtle aniseed flavour coming through, they were almost Chinese style. I loved them as you could taste the skin in each bite. Calamari was exactly as described, crispy and yummy served with tartar sauce, and refreshingly light for something deep fried.
For mains I ordered the ‘Camden’s famous chargrilled half jerk baby chicken’ served with jerk BBQ sauce and mango chutney. This dish was huge, and perfect in every way. Soft chicken smothered in marinade and sauce, tender and hard to fault. The mango chutney went so well with it, I would never have put the two together. And served with their special chips which were also bursting with flavour. They were soggy which made them even more tasty. The only criticism of this dish is that it’s too big to finish. If I hadn’t had starters I may have finished it. The chicken caesar salad was really flavoursome. You can’t go wrong with this option, I have to say it was better than Nandos! I also tried some BBQ beef ribs which were really disappointing. Tough and chewy, with a funny flavour — I wouldn’t order these again. The burgers looked fantastic as did the beef fahitas which seemed to be popular amongst other diners. I am looking forward to eating here again and perhaps try one of their steak dishes which are on a separate menu, because they’re that special.
Halal status: Stated on website & verified by owner
No Alcohol (BYOB option) or Pork served
Address: 85 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 8NY