Not necessarily the most diplomatic of comments, but then Mini is, to be fair, only 4 years old. And right there at Guanabana, deep in Kentish Town Road’s nether regions, she had a right to complain. For directly in front of where we had been told to wait, drinking detritus was stacked on every available surface. And yet it was only 7pm. After many years of walking past, would our first visit prove a terrible mistake?
‘That man just fell up the stairs!’ exclaimed Mini as, seated now, we observed an overwhelmed waiter make one of his more unorthodox entrances from the kitchen below. ‘He’s being reee-dic-uolous,’ she crowed, mercilessly. Luckily he didn’t drop our plates, so the sharp-tongued daughter soon fell silent, tucking in to her nachos (suitably home-made tasting salsa and guacamole) followed by an impressive plate of jerk chicken.
Yes, it’s fair to say Guanabana’s food saved the day: we feasted on house fusions like the [vegetarian] callaloo and sweetcorn quesadillas. Even the booze-free (it’s BYO here) mojitos tasted good. We asked the waitress if tonight was proving tough. ‘Only half the food order was delivered and we have a table for 10,’ she said. ‘The chef has been furious all night, but we’re doing the best we can!’
Full marks then for honesty. A dose of disarray can enrich life, of course; give it a special flavour. We walked home, warmed by the feeling of having had a ‘real’ meal, explosive kitchen dramas and all.
‘Daddio,’ said Mini, as we tucked her into bed. ‘I really like it there. It’s…funny.’
Guanabana, 85 Kentish Town Road
Words: Tom Kihl