Cult favourite Island Social Club has finally found its first official nest! The contemporary social space at Curio Cabal has offered the beloved British Caribbean eatery a base in perfect line with the brand’s ethos. The duo behind this venture, Marie Mitchell and Joseph Pilgrim, have channeled the success of their past efforts, Rumshop and Rotishop, into a new menu that perfectly complements both the restaurant’s eclectic influence and East London’s vibrant spirit. To ensure the experience remains authentic to the modern values of Island Social Club, the residency will be paired with an extensive events programme, including live music, exhibitions and poetry readings, bringing everything ISC means to life. With an outdoor space perfect for those fast approaching spring and summer nights, the Haggerston-based restaurant might just become a true East End hot spot.
But don’t take our word for it – let the team convince you! This week, the London Living team caught up with Island Social Club to hear all about this exciting residency!
Image: Island Social Club
258 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4DG
Nearest Tube: Haggerston
Opening Hours: Wed-Thurs: 5:30PM -11PM, Fri-Sat: 5:30PM -12AM Sun-Tues: Closed.
Can you tell our readers about your one-year residency and how that came about?
We were searching for a home. It became apparent that people wanted to engage with us in a space that was more permanent and so we started looking for a more long-term residency in which people could come to when they could or wanted to, rather than a pop up which can be more transient.
What would a night at the social club look like?
Lots of full tables, people sharing curries, ripping roti and sampling a whole load of delicious cocktails. Music you can feel but conversation still free flowing – also laughter. We love being able to see and hear that people are having a good time.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you’ve adapted Caribbean cuisine for the modern British scene?
Marie is conscious of the seasons, this isn’t something we will always be able to adhere to due to the nature of working with some ingredients that aren’t grown here but it’s something that is in mind and that she’s working towards. It’s also thinking about how we can run a business that is as sustainable as possible – this doesn’t come over night and takes a lot of thought and effort but something we are continually working into our model. Most importantly it’s from us, we’re British, so we’re engaging in Caribbean food through our own British lens, it’s about seeing what and how our grandparents cooked and understanding the principles of Caribbean cooking, while working within the framework of being in the UK.
What is an unmissable dish at Island Social Club?
So hard to choose as they all have their own quirks! Based on what seems to be the most popular at the moment – the Curried Mutton, it flies out. That said, a lot of people have been surprised by the Jerked Jackfruit. It has so much depth, that it’s hard to not assume it has meat in. Drinks wise, it has to be the Jinga Beer – so much punch, background yeast flavours that balance well with the fresh ginger.
What is your favourite thing about East London? What made you choose it as the home of your restaurant?
Joe grew up in East London and Marie moved from her home in South London to East 7 years ago. We both have backgrounds in the Arts, and East London is a hub for the creative arts. It’s also where we met, both started our independent projects and started working together – it just made sense. It has a massive Caribbean community and it was always important to be somewhere surrounded by the culture, Hackney was a huge hub of Caribbean culture, we wanted to focus on bringing that back in to the community again.
Do you have any plans after your residency at Curio Cabal
We do – to find our own space and for that to become a cultural hub for British Caribbean culture, to spread the ISC concept throughout the UK and to work with amazing groups and people who are reshaping the culture and identity.
Are there any other Caribbean restaurants in London our readers should have on their radar?
Yes – Buster Mantis in Deptford. It’s a bar with rotating kitchen offerings including Dee’s Table who recently finished a residency there. It’s family run! We love that.