Hoe Street’s Caribbean eatery scores TripAdvisor’s seal of approval
“It’s great to be recognised on such a global platform,” says Delroy Dixon, the owner of local Caribbean restaurant Rhythm Kitchen – after his Walthamstow eatery was awarded a 2021 Travellers’ Choice award from TripAdvisor last month.
The win means that Rhythm Kitchen, in Hoe Street, is considered one of the top 10% highest-rated properties on the entire review site, which covers countless global restaurants and tourist attractions.
“It gives great recognition to the whole team,” Delroy adds. “They make it possible to enjoy the ambiance, the food.
“Last year was extremely hard for everyone, not just hospitality businesses. I’m proud that we’re still here. And it does feel good that [our customers] came back and supported us.”
Delroy founded Rhythm Kitchen in 2011, having studied to be a chef years prior at Waltham Forest College. The journey started in Stratford, when Westfield was first being built.
“My passion for food sparked at around 13/14,” he shares. “I decided I wanted to be a chef after seeing my mum [and] my dad cook at home… and went to the local college.
“I left the industry for a bit, but as Westfield was being built, I decided to send in an idea for opening a Caribbean restaurant. It was a massive leap in the dark, as I’d never run a restaurant before – even though I could cook.”
The plan worked – and in 2018, the opportunity to expand and open Rhythm Kitchen in Hoe Street, Walthamstow came up. He’d always wanted a restaurant on the high street, he says, as well as in his local area.
“I have seen positive changes in Waltham Forest [over the years],” he says of the borough. “I can see Waltham Forest going on the up in regards to infrastructure, the businesses there, and the community growing.”
For the uninitiated, Rhythm Kitchen Walthamstow’s must-tries are the saltfish fritters – “one of the best around” – and either jerk chicken or classic curry goat for the main.
There’s also the popular monthly ‘rum club’ – which allows connoisseurs to sample over 130 rarer rum brands from across the globe (though, naturally, not all at once).
But Delroy says he’s got a particular focus on customer service, too – as one of his original aims with Rhythm Kitchen was to challenge the “negative” stigma attached to Caribbean restaurants.
“I wanted to get a positive image for Caribbean food throughout London. At the time [we started], I felt that people looked at Caribbean food quite negatively – whether that was from the service they received to the food quality.
“I thought, ‘I want to change that’. One thing that’s always been important to me, apart from the food, is having good customer service – which I think we’re doing.”
It seems TripAdvisor’s reviewers would agree. So, what’s next, post-pandemic and post-award? Delroy says it’s too early to say – but a third Rhythm Kitchen could potentially be on the cards for 2022.
“Whether that’s in Waltham Forest, I’m not sure, it depends on the local… but the plan would be to open something larger, with an outdoor space, so you can get a different kind of vibe.”
To learn more, visit rhythmkitchen.com or follow @rhythmkitchenuk on Instagram