This is a name that conjures up the azure water of the Mediterranean, with the summer sun glinting off the Riviera coastline. Here however, we are in Brentford, which with the best will in the world does not have quite the same cachet. The restaurant has a memorable name at least, which in fact is shortly to change to “Lagoon Lounge”, though with the same chef and Caribbean dining concept. It has to be said that there is no river view, although it is just a few yards from a riverside walk. The dining room manages a mildly nautical theme, with a fish tank and porthole style windows in the doors, though the ivy hanging over the prints on the walls appeared to have died. Reasonably enough, the music was a mix of reggae and Al Green.
There was a token wine list of a handful of basic white and reds, though oddly there was also Louis Roederer Cristal 1997 at £185, which I would have thought would have limited appeal here (though these days the price itself is quite fair given the excessive retail price it now commands, driven up by the champagne’s appearances in rap videos). A starter (£5.50) of jerk chicken (jerk is just a spicy dressing) with avocado salad had somewhat dry chicken, hard avocado and token salad (6/20). Similarly fish chowder was just one-dimensional peppery hot; it did have some real pieces of fish but also suffered from an odd, slimy texture (7/20).
Goat curry was edible, the goat not too stringy, moderately spicy and served on a bed of rice (10/20). Tiger prawns (£14.50) were in themselves cooked fine, but quite bland, and the “coconut rundown” they were served with had no discernible taste of coconut, even to the bloodhound sense of smell of my wife (9/20). Sweet potatoes were cooked with thyme and were decent (10/20).
Desserts really took the meal downhill, though. A “home-made” apple pie with Bramley apples had was just a reheated dish with utterly soggy pastry and bought-in ice cream (5/20), while a fruit crumble (with pineapple and kiwi fruit) was only a little better (7/20). Service was friendly if rather amateurish: a drink order was forgotten, the candle on our table left unlit, a dessert with the wrong accompaniment, despite our table being one of only two taken all evening. The bill, with just beer and a cocktail rather than wine, was about £40 a head, which was a lot for the level of cooking on display.
I have certainly had better Caribbean food in London (which makes me think that the anonymous reviewer from Time Out who gave this restaurant a rave review may have been smoking one of Jamaica’s better-known agricultural products). This is a shame since I actually quite liked the room, and our waitress was very friendly. This has somehow survived seven years in this rather desolate spot, but I would be surprised if it repeats the feat.