Authentic West Indian cooking served on Clapham High Street that’s healthy, nutritious and delicious. You can’t go wrong.
Situated on Clapham High Street opposite Clapham North tube station, Roti Joupa’s blue neon sign reminds you of its presence. If you were new to the area there is absolutely no reason at all why you would stop and take notice of this place, as it looks like any normal cafe or takeaway. That’s until you look closer and see the continuous stream of people patiently waiting for their West Indian home cooked food. There is an open kitchen and a counter and a few stools and benches. Most people seem to take there food home with them as the decor isn’t exactly plush, but very basic. Patience is a virtue here, no one is in a rush and in true Caribbean style, neither are the staff.
Very laid back. Really laid back. Expect to wait up to 20 minutes for your food as all of it is cooked fresh to order. Take a newspapaer and wait, it is well worth it and obvious by the other patient, eager faces. Even better, make your order and go next door and have a pint – Roti Joupa is right next door to The Royal Oak. Open every night, Roti Joupa is packed with singles, couples and locals. Everyone seems to love it and it’s well priced, too.
Choose from the menu above the counter. If you’re unsure, ask the regulars queuing what’s best, as everyone has their favourites. The menu is small but it’s really authentic food, focusing mainly on Trinidad and Tobago. There are no starters as such – you choose a main meal and a homemade roti (thin, flat, pancake-like bread, cooked on the traditional tawa) to accompany it. You can have shrimp, lamb, chicken or goat. There is also a speciality dry fried fish.
The roti goat dish (£5) is served with fresh curried vegetables and a light roti on the side. The goat is succulent and tender and the traditional spices really come through in the flavour of the meat. You don’t actually need to have rice with this dish but if you do it will cost you a little extra. The vegetable roti costs between £2 and £4. You get a tray of curried spinach, pureed pumpkin, marinated runner beans and potato aloo. It’s delicious. Ask for the buss up shot – smashed pancake bread instead of the plain roti. Be prepared to get down and dirty and use the bread as utensils to scoop up the food.
There is a huge macaroni pie on display behind the counter and its worth getting a slice of this for £1.50 to eat with your meal. Its literally macaroni cheese with a spicy dressing on top but it’s delicious. There are a number of homemade puddings including a sweet sorrel bread with raisins (£1.50 per slice), Kurma homemade fudge (£1 per packet) and a tamarind ball (50p), a sweet and sour tasting ball of pastry, sugar and tamarind traditionally eaten after a meal. A meal for two will set you back an average of between £10 to £12. It’s very reasonable and the food is tasty and fresh.
You can buy a normal selection of canned soft drinks and fresh juices, including one made from sorrel. They don’t have a licence to serve alcohol here but you can bring your own for no corkage fee.
The Last Word
A local secret, seriously. Word travels far and people from all over Clapham come to get a meal from here.