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Jan 29, 2011 09:32 PM

Rock the Calabash--Caribbean on Carrall St.

Had to work in a Clash reference, although this bistro / lounge is all about r&b, soul, and funk. And if you to like to move it move it, you can downstairs. The place opened last July. Large rum selection. I had a Dark and Stormy (their ginger beer and rum concoction), which had a bit of a bite, and the Sorrel Punch, which was more refreshing with rum and hibiscus.

Only had time to try a couple of appetizers in the bistro area upstairs. It was great to see doubles (fried dough and chickpea sandwiches) on special since the only other place I had them were in Port Moody at Rehannah's. Coupled with their in-house hot sauce, they packed a lot of heat. Also tried their jerk chicken skewers, which were moist, a bit pricey, but alright. Will have to go back to try entrees. Super friendly staff too who offered many suggestions and answered many questions.

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  1. Nice ELS. Thank you. I am going to put this on my Gastown crawl list for next month. Was your Dark & Stormy good? They were very popular in Key West when I was there in April. Were the skewers $6 each? If so, that does seem pricey...

    1 Reply
    1. re: ck1234

      The drink was good but sounds like you could make a better comparison. And there were two skewers for the price.

    2. Did someone say Doubles?

      Haven't had Doubles since..........

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sam Salmon

        I was thinking since Toronto -- I've never seen them in Vancouver. Will have to check 'em out. Thanks, lobo.

      2. Thanks for the report ELS. I went on their opening night and not all cylinders were firing yet. I haven't been able to come back since then.

        1. I have an obsession with caribbean food. I got some takeout yesterday and on the whole it was good. The best thing we got was the oxtail with rice and peas and a coconut fried dumpling. The fried dumpling was awesome. Great accompaniment to the tender, flavourful deep browned oxtail. The ginger plantains were cooked almost like a stew, a little sweet. We also got a couple beef patties (housemade) which were just ok, compared to the wonderful ones I had from Caribbean Queen of Patties in Toronto (which I frozen a whole box of and brought home).

          The doubles were a bit of a disappointment. The bread part was great but the curry chickpea part was too dry for me. It needed to be more cooked down and was missing that thick gravy-like sauce. I got a goat curry in a roti (instead of rice and peas) and while the goat curry part was good, the roti was really undercooked and tasted raw and gummy. :( Next time I'll get it with rice and peas. They make the roti themselves, but it needs to reach that flaky, layer-y yet soft state instead of thick and doughy.

          So basically, the oxtail was a knockout, goat curry good except get it with rice and peas, ginger plantains good if you need more starch, pass on the doubles and patties. Their house hot sauce is decent too. A medium, I'd say. The prices are a little high for what you get, but then this isn't Toronto....Vancouver is wysiwyg as far as Caribbean food goes...

          Next time I wanna try their jerk and fry fish. They also have weekly menu specials to keep things interesting.

          Pics are:
          - beef patties ($3 each), doubles ($8 includes 2)
          - ginger plantains
          - oxtail
          - goat curry roti
          - patty split open