Saturday, 9 April 2016

Jerk It, Cardiff Caribbean restaurant review

Whenever I’m deciding how much I like a restaurant I always take value for money into consideration.

It’s all well and good if somewhere serves the best burgers in town but if I need to take out a mortgage to afford one then I’m not going to visit very often. By the same measure, I’m far more willing to overlook a few flaws if a meal is cheap as chips.

This brings me to Jerk It, a little Caribbean place on Crwys Road.

Last year Jerk It opened as a takeaway - I liked it a lot. Following a refurbishment they’ve now reopened as a restaurant and on the Wednesday night we visited every table was full and the place was buzzing.

Oddly, whilst no beers appear on Jerk It’s drinks menu our super-friendly waitress informed us they do actually serve a selection which includes Red Stripe (£3.30) and Corona (£3). There’s also a good range of exotic sounding drinks such as Guinnness and peanut flavour punches (£2.50) 

To kick things off we tried most of the starters on offer.

A fish platter (£5.95) combined crisp and grease-free salt-fish fritters, moist battered pieces of snapper, and smokey barbecued pepper shrimp with a spicy jerk sauce. 

A trio of half vegetable, beef and chicken patties (£3) were enjoyed by a friend.

Red pea soup (£3) was a hearty vegetable broth packed with beans, potatoes and carrots. 

Sprats and peppers (£4) were coated in a light batter and accompanied by a creamy dip with a twang of Jerk spice. 

Onto mains and we ordered the Belly-bus platter for four people (£35) - all of the below meat and side dishes were included in the price.

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Standout elements included Jerk chicken legs which were tender, smokey, coated in a mild jerk sauce and had a good lick of char. There’s a hot option available but we were mostly a table of wusses. 

A bowl of creamy macaroni cheese had compelling golden crusty bits on the bottom of the bowl and the pasta still had good bite to it. 

Rice and peas were fluffy with a good hit of spice. They were served in an a massive glass vessel. 

Jerk vegetables comprised of spicy peppers and courgettes. If only all barbecued vegetables were this flavoursome. 

A bowl of jerk pork meanwhile saw crisp morsels of smokey belly pork in more of the mild jerk sauce. 

Enjoyable yet unremarkable elements included goat curry which was deep in flavour but light on meat and overly salted. We’d in fact ordered the beef ribs but they’d sold out so were substituted for the goat curry and pork.

Chips were almost there - some were pleasingly crunchy but others were on the soft-side. Gargantuan dumplings meanwhile were bronzed and crisp but were a meal in themselves, their size took its toll after a few bites.

Coleslaw was super fresh but a little too sweet whilst pumpkin and plantain run down was a tasty bowl of buttery mash.

The only proper dud of the meal were some rather chewy jerk lamb chops.

Goat curry
As you can see, Jerk It is rather good value for money. In fact, in terms of bang for your buck, the Belly-bus platter is hard to beat. Our meal wasn't without its flaws but the majority of the dishes we ate were pretty lovely. And, it's a bit of a bargain. 

The Details:
Address - Jerk It, 22 Crwys Road, Roath, Cardiff CF24 4NL
Web -
Telephone - 029 2019 7554


  1. Normally I can only commend you on your reviews and choices however this one has failed completely. Visited tonight and had the worst experience ever which was so disappointing as we had looked forward to it so much. 25 minute wait for our drinks to arrive, 1 hr 20 for good to arrive, and when it did half of it was burnt to a crisp....I'm not one against a good lick of chat but half the chicken and ribs split in half, to add insult to injury they accepted the food wasn't great but still wanted paying for drinks,10 mins later waiting to talk to manger fianlly agreed it was all too much to ask. Headed to Lilo express for dinner-great as always and only 20mins wait for freshly cooked beautiful food. Slow isn't the word here......even if the food had been good,the wait is unbearable.

    1. @Unknown - I'm really sorry to hear that. It's always hard to write a review of a place based on just one visit. On the occasion we visited Jerk It the service and level of char on the meat was fine so it's a real shame to hear you had such a bad experience. Cheers for taking the time to share your experience and glad you ended up with a good meal at Lilo!

  2. If you really want the experience of a lifetime then go to this dump - just like I did last week - ordered food - ordered a Red Stripe for me and a coke for my wife - waited for the food - drank my beer then ordered another - Sorry we have no more beer in the establishment - Why - Sorry don't know - Where is the Manager - Out...

    Utter rubbish establishment - who has ever been to a restaurant that has only on bottle of beer for all of its customers - by the way only 8 customers at 8.30pm on a Thursday evening - this dump will soon be going out of business...

    1. @Unknown - Oh dear, that sounds pretty bad! How was the food? You're right, it sounds like they wont be around for long if they carry on like this.