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Food, Top 10

Best Caribbean Restaurants in Melbourne

The best Caribbean restaurants in Melbourne are a welcome recent addition to the dining scene... Here are some of our favourite Caribbean restaurants in Melbourne:

1. Bax Food Co - Yarraville

The colours of the Jamaican flag and original artworks transport you as the multicultural staff greet you. The mix of reggae and acoustic music gives you an island feel, while the food shows off Jamaican culture at its best: box food. As the menu explains, “’Bax Food’ is a type of street food in the Caribbean. You would go out and get a ‘Box Food’! ‘Bax Food’ is with a Jamaican accent.”

Along the left wall as you enter are high benches with stools. Two long tables, with black, yellow and red chairs look like they’re set for a big family reunion and you half expect grandma to poke her head out of the kitchen.Instead of grandma, who came out of the kitchen to meet us? Bax Food Co’s smiley chef, Roderick. He is Jamaican born, moving to Australia in 1996, and knows all the good traditional recipes, while adding a contemporary spin with his Masterchef presentation.

Roderick brought us some Mini Pulled Pork Sliders to start with. The soft, browned sesame bun blends with the lightly smoked pork, with purple cabbage for something to sink your teeth into. There is a hint of spice that is mellowed by the mayo that each slider rests on.

Jamaican spices are by far the sneakiest of all the spices. They take a full 15 seconds to hit you, and the hit is as hard as you want it to be, depending on your choice of dish. The jerk platter has jerk chicken, pork ribs, hot wings and roast jerk corn. The classic smoked Jamaican flavour is pleasingly subtle and still lets other elements in the dish have a say. The blackened chicken is tender with a healthy non-fried crunch, but beware: hot wings live up to their name. Keep a piña colada on standby for those!  The roasted corn rolled through shredded coconut teams up with the coleslaw to balance out all that heat. You'll love it.


2. Bob's Hot Box - Fitzroy

This is a three month project as part of  G&Tea Gin Garden. Only one thing to say - jerk chicken. Bob's Hot Box brings Jamaican street food to Brunswick St Fitzroy, with compelling dishes such as the jerk chicken, smokey rum-infused BBQ pork ribs, cajun slaw, and seafood gumbo. There's even a goat curry (did you know goat is the most eaten meat in the world?); think slow cooked goat pieces infused with coconut and Jamacian herbs and spices. The Calypso Chicken appeals with it's rich tomato gravy. Check out their Jerk platters and look out for their ginger beer cocktails and the rum. 

3. The Voodoo Jerk Truck - Fitzroy

Jamaican jerk spice is hot, packs a flavourful punch and can be rubbed on pretty much anything. After overwhelming success of the Voodoo Jerk Burger and Los Barbudos’ Jerk Down Yard, jerk mastermind, Jabili Mchawala, of Jabili’s Kitchen, decided it was time for a makeover. 

The warehouse behind Mr Wow’s Emporium and Los Barbudos has been given a serious facelift and now resembles a colourful Caribbean yard. 

 The menu is handwritten on a blackboard and broken down into Jerk and Not a Jerk dishes. The traditional Jerk Pork Ribs are the main attraction and the Bermuda Bread is corn bread like you’ve never tried it, charred, stacked, and with Escoveech and tamarind sauce. There’s also crispy spiced fried chicken with preserved lemon sauce, Rude Boy Chips, Blazed Pineapple, a roasted cauliflower Caribbean Salad for our vego friends. Lest we forget the infamous Voodoo Jerk Burger, which you can grab alongside a Bia Ha Noi can every night, but Mondays, for just $15. 

Jabili has decided to keep his Monday Feast, where you can share five African flavours, injera bread and pickled veg for just $35 for two people. 

Grab a keg table and listen to the old school reggae delights pumping from their vintage AIWA boom box. Sip on some Tang while you wait, or the crew happily invites you to take your jerk treats into Mr Wow’s or Los Barbudos so you can grab a cocktail or two. However you have it, this jerk is hearty for winter and perfect for summer. Enter via Smith Street through either Mr Wow’s Emporium or Los Barbudos and follow the neon food signs. 

4. Bickle - Prahran

Bickle in Prahran is a chilled and relaxed Carribbean Canteen and Bar (is there any other way?).  The classic dishes are here with jerk chicken (of course), buttermilk fried chicken and soft shell crab. Caribbean tapas is innovative, with a menu category of "Ickle Bit of Every Ting". The fried chicken is a stadout; crunchy, juicy, smoky. Jamaican beer doesn't go astray. Decor features great use of timbers.