The 50-cover restaurant, located in Tulse Hill, is the brainchild of proprietor Antoinette Ledford Jobson, while Michelin-trained Anthony Cumberbatch comes in as head chef.
“There are a few Caribbean restaurants out there but most of them are on the other side of the water in north London,” Ledford Jobson told BigHospitality. “There’s nothing really on the south side like this, offering fine dining Carribean food.
“A lot of people that have tasted Caribbean food before don’t expect it to be of such a high standard. It is often more associated with the takeaway industry rather than the restaurant industry.
“We want to change those views, using the quality of food and its presentation to really push forward this food concept.”
Experienced head chef
Head chef Cumberbatch brings with him 23 years of experience having trained at the likes of The Savoy and The Ivy. He previously worked at the Caribbean Scene restaurant in the Docklands and has featured in the BBC2 television series Caribbean Food Made Easy with Levi Roots. He agrees that Caribbean cuisine is a concept that has room to grow in the UK.
He said: “To me, the current Caribbean restaurants in London are not really pushing their businesses forward as much. You’ve got the likes of Cottons, Chef Colin Brown and Caribbean scene up there, but the reviews aren’t that great.
“We want to make sure that the overall package is the best it can be. It’s very vibrant here and we want to take Caribbean food to the next level, hopefully to a Michelin standard.”
Cumberbatch’s favourite dish on Bubbas’ menu is the drunken caramelised pork chop with ackee and saltfish, served with a beetroot ravioli and trout roe vinaigrette. Other dishes include Caribbean curried goat in a roast petal tuille basket with avocado puree and plantain crisps; and braised oxtail in a leek blanket with ratatouille potato gallette and a festival dumpling ball.
Room for expansion
When asked about the potential expansion of the concept, Antoinette concluded: “This is 100 per cent a concept that I would like to expand. I think if you can make one restaurant successful, there’s no reason why another one can’t be successful.
"Depending on how big it becomes, there’s no limits on our expansion.if we do everything right, there’s no reason why we can’t have a chain of Bubbas."