Liming, Whinin’ and general good vibes – we check out Spitalfield’s very own Trinidadian restaurant and rum shack, Limin’, after their outlandishly successful Jerk & Beyond Festival and just before their pop-up turns into something more permanent.
How do you describe a place like Limin’? It certainly can’t be done without a huge smile on your face and a craving to return. The pop-up launched in October 2018 in Old Spitalfields Market, bringing spice, island living and overproof rum to the popular shopping hub. Since then, it has garnered an enthusiastic and internationally varied following of people who come for the home-cook-style Indo-, Afro- and Chinese-Caribbean cuisine and delicious (strong) cocktails, and stay for the easy charm of owner Sham Mahabir and Bar Manager Paolo Molinaro.
Named after the Trinidadian expression “liming”, meaning “hanging out”, the venue exudes relaxed familiarity and friendship. However, behind the laidback airs there is a pretty serious collection of 100 or so world-class rums, including favourites such as Guyana’s El Dorado 21, Barbados’ Foursquare Dominus, the Colombian La Hechichera, and of course, good old Jamaican funkster “Uncle Wray”.
We take a seat at the bar and are delivered a Rum Punch that takes no prisoners. Combining Angostura White Oak, Old Oak and Rum-Bar Overproof rums with mango juice, passion fruit syrup, grenadine, lime juice and Angostura bitters, it is a deliciously balanced cocktail with rounded, sweet barrel spice, tropical fruit freshness and that unmistakable aftertaste of grassy old-school Jamaican pot still. At £8, it is a complete bargain and the perfect introduction to Limin’.
Next, Paolo offers up a gorgeously tangy, herbal and citric Limin’ Daquiri (William George rum, lime, sorrel shrub) and a Negroni of the Century featuring Plantation 5 (yes, more rum), Bitter Del Professore and a blend of vermouths. With a fuller mouth-feel than gin Negronis but that same tell-tale bitterness, it’s an interesting take on a classic that will convert even those who don’t usually go for rum cocktails.
Possibly sensing our inebriation levels are reaching a high point, Sham, who is making the rounds and chatting with every one of his customers, saunters over to offer us a selection of sharing plates. We eagerly acquiesce and are rewarded with Akra (fried saltfish dough balls), soft and moreishly sweet Plantain Balls and finger-licking chicken wings smothered in sweet and spicy roasted chilli and garlic sauce. Everything is delicious and we accept the challenge of the “not for the faint of heart” scotch bonnet and mango chilli sauce that is both heated and fruity, and best liberally poured on everything (if your taste buds can handle the spice levels)!
With our mouths happily aflame, we opt for a cooling Espresso Mar-Trini (Ron Abuelo Anejo, spiced Clement Creole Shrubb rum, orange liqueur, Fair Coffee Liqueur, molasses, coffee and chocolate bitters). Rich and creamy enough to quell the fire in our mouths but light and aromatic enough to house a multitude of earthy, spiced and zesty notes, it is a stunner of a drink that is both refined and fun.
We get ready to leave, but are pulled back by the lure of rum cake, which Paolo, for good measure, liberally pours Rum-Bar Overproof over.
Our stomachs elated and spirits soaring (due in part to the high ABV of all drinks consumed), we head off into cold, wet London. Whilst sad to leave the joyous rum haven, we are comforted by the fact that Sham and Paolo are planning many more events this year and that there is a promise of a new, permanent Limin’ opening in the coming months. Even though Limin’ in its current iteration is only around for another month, we know we will be back and that we have not seen the last of this impressive duo.
Limin’, Old Spitalfields Market, 107B Commercial Street, London, E1 6EW