Rum, reggae and rotis
Sugar Dumplin is a new restaurant in LDO and offers an authentic Caribbean food experience and rum bar. The open kitchen is the heart of Sugar Dumplin providing an ‘open invitation’ to ‘try before you buy’ and they challenge customers to try dishes that may be completely new to them and also to learn how to cook their exotic dishes straight from the chef. To find out what inspired the concept, we caught up with Norris Panton owner of Sugar Dumplin and asked him what inspired him to open his first restaurant.
“We set out to ‘bring something back from the Caribbean’…. so that our guests might really feel a connection to the Caribbean…we drank rum and ate spicy goodness in loads of rum shacks on five different Caribbean islands, some by the beach, some by the road, some in the middle of nowhere. We tried to absorb the look and feel, the sounds and smell and taste of the Caribbean so we recreated that experience in the UK. We were always going to be influenced by our own heritage and the way we were brought up by our parents, my people are Jamaican people and my business partner’s father is from Guyana. We hoped the venue would communicate two things really the best Caribbean holiday ever and the joy and pride we feel in our Caribbean heritage. Sugar Dumplin is, in essence, a Caribbean celebration. The name Sugar Dumplin comes from the Caribbean, and is used as a term of endearment, like calling somebody ‘sweetheart’.
When you enter Sugar Dumplin you will be met by the dulcet tones of reggae music, before being seated at a candle-lit beach hut, scattered with blankets and cushions. Speaking about what to expect Panton said:
“Expect to get a genuine, warm Caribbean welcome, like the welcome you get from your own family. The colours are plentiful and positive, stimulating colours that help lift the mood. Instead of creating formal, structured booths we have used reclaimed, up-cycled materials to create de-constructed, laid-back beach shacks where you can sit and sip rum and watch the world go by.
Hopefully there is lots to take in when you get inside, for example ‘street-style’ art featuring musical or cultural heroes, Pam Grier takes pride of place, she tweeted us to say she loved our work, and G.O.A.T Muhammed Ali, also has a strong presence. I took my mom to meet Muhammad Ali, over 20 years ago when he visited Manchester; we shook the hand that shook up the world! Ali gave the black man a voice and stood up for what he believed in, against dreadful adversity, a real hero. Music is also a big influence; we always leave a little room in the place to dance. We like to play feel-good uplifting Reggae songs about life and love, all day long. The fantastic aroma of slow cooked, tender jerk chicken and curry goat or delicious spicy butternut squash creole will be strong enough to make your mouth water. We will introduce you to a fantastic rum punch, made with lots of fresh fruit, guaranteed to start the party, just right!”
Suggesting that Wembley Park is an exciting new location for Sugar Dumplin he said:
“The addition of London Designer Outlet at Wembley has really made Wembley Park an all-day family destination. Without the great range of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants at LDO it was difficult to spend the day at Wembley as a family. The international attraction of Wembley Park, largely due to the stadium and to a lesser degree the arena, is super, the perfect place for a new restaurant brand to launch a flagship. The local community is also a really good fit for what we do, lots of diversity in and around Wembley Park, people from all over the world.”