A new Trinidadian restaurant and rum bar has opened in Spitalfields.
Limin’, which opened three weeks ago, will operate as a pop-up and is scheduled to close on New Years’ Eve. It is not yet known what owner Sham Mahabir plans for the business in 2019.
What it means for seven weeks is that east London has its first fully fledged iteration of a Trinidadian restaurant — and a thoughtful menu that is 50 percent food; 50 percent (rum-based) cocktails.
The menu at Limin’ reflects the multiple diasporas of the small island off the coast of Venezuela, separating the food into Indo-, Afro-, and Chinese-Caribbean dishes, and thus its rich plurality of food cultures.
Among the first, “Indian,” there are doubles, the small fried dough chickpea curry sandwiches that are a staple for Trinidadian breakfast; and aloo pie, a fried dough seasoned potato patty, served with mango chutney.
Among the dishes referred to at Limin’ as “creole” there’s akra — fried dough balls with salt fish and herbs; chicken wings with soy, garlic, and roasted chilli; and mac-and-cheese balls.
And among the “Chinese” dishes, pepper prawns with soy, chilli, and garlic; plantain wontons; and fried rice.
There are also dishes that have emerged from a cross-pollination of these cultures, such as pelau — the seasoned rice, pea, and chicken dish softened with coconut milk, which is both Indian and creole in its origins. The preparation method is thought to have been brought to Trinidad by Indian indentured labourers following the abolition of slavery in 1834; the caramelisation of the meat (in almost-burnt sugar and oil) is taken from African culinary traditions.
The name, an abbreviated version of “liming” is a Trinidad expression meaning “hanging out” — or, per Spitalfields, “about getting together with friends at home, the beach, river, street corner or rum shop.” Or, of course, the edge of one of east London’s most bustling food markets.
Check back for more soon.