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Don’t worry about a Thing: Have a Marley Mojito!

As Muddy Warwickshire launches today on Bob Marley’s birthday, Mon Feb 6,  I know where I’m heading – straight to Leamington’s Turtle Bay for an all-day 2 ‘4’ 1 on Marley Mojitos.  It’s made with Appleton Estate Special Jamaican rum, green melon liqueur, fresh mint, watermelon and home-made ginger beer … how good does that sound on a Monday?  No need to struggle with dry January anymore.

Here’s 4 seriously hot Caribbean joints where you can satisfy cravings for Jamaican jerk, fried plantain and rice & peas…

1. Turtle Bay, Leamington Spa, Solihull & Birmingham

Turtle Bay, Leamington Spa

I like the beach shack vibe, reggae, huge murals and delish one-pots at this Caribbean themed restaurant. It’s lively, fun and always puts a smile on your face. We’ve always had a great experience eating out at the Leamington restaurant as a family – and there’s a £4.50 Little Turtles kids menu with five choices served with fries, sweet potato mash, rice ‘n’ peas or salad. Also a tempting choice of tropical cocktails – I’m partial to a Rasberry Reggae or two. Irie Mon!

2. Leave It To Esmie, Fargo Village, Coventry

One of the original street food traders at Birmingham’s award-winning Digbeth Dining Club, Esmie Stewart recently opened her own restaurant at Coventry’s creative district Fargo Village amid great excitment. Esmie, who was born in St Kitts and moved to the Midlands as a teenager, has been cooking up Caribbean food for 23 years.

One of Esmie’s speciality’s is the Caribbean burger – a giant fried dumpling filled with either curry mutton, jerk chicken, Stewed salt fish, or vegetarian mixed beans curry topped with mixed salad, and served with chips and coleslaw (£6.99). Wow! is all I can say to that. I’m heading over there. Now.

3. 2-Tone Cafe and Simmer Down Caribbean Restaurant, Coventry

Coventry’s quirky 2-Tone cafe in the 2-Tone Village, just outside the city centre, is home of the jerk sausage and Caribbean brekkie. You might even bump into the likes of Jerry Dammers, Neville Staple or Pauline Black.

It’s inspired by the city’s reggae and ska-influenced music scene of the late 70s and early 80s when homegrown band The Specials and The Selecter were massive.  Simmer Down Caribbean Restaurant is a small family-run restaurant serving up home-cooked cuisine from curried mutton to veggie bean jerk and fried dumplings.  You can also visit the 2-Tone Corner sub-culture shop, Coventry Music Wall of Fame and The Coventry Music Museum.

4. Digbeth Dining Club, Birmingham, every Fri and Sat in Feb

Coventry’s Leave it to Esmie is still a regular street food trader at this award-winning event which has changed the face of Brum’s alternative food scene. Digbeth Dining Club encompasses street food, music and entertainment every Friday and Saturday from 5pm – late.

A must visit for all serious foodies and hungry new-comers alike and some of the most innovative and tasty street-food around, (Winner of Best Street Food Event 2013 & 2014).

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Warwickshire