Southern American cuisine is something in London that is quite hard to come by, so while scouring the Internet for one I came across Bayou Soul which opened in June 2014, so is still fairly new. Located in Camden in Inverness Street the small door leads to a rather large restaurant situated in-between bars/restaurants and the inside was warming and inviting, as well as the staff.
We sat down and were told there were happy hour cocktails still available, but instead opted to share a bottle of the house white wine, which can often be unpleasant, but upon tasting it was crisp and fresh. The cocktail list was vast and you can also just come here to sit at the bar sample the cocktails and have some nibbles casually.
Looking at the menu full of Creole cooking that all looked comforting and heart warming it was hard to decide what to pick. For the starters we decided on the B.B.Q shrimps & biscuits and Louisiana crab cakes & crawfish beignets (fritters). The king prawns came on a steaming hot dish cooked in garlic, white wine and chilies with biscuits on the side to soak up the remainder of the sauce. The prawns were a good size for two sharing and were juicy and succulent and full of flavour. The crab crakes and crawfish beignet starter was slightly disappointing or us as the crab cakes were on the fishy side and the beignets were overly battered and I couldn’t see much crawfish. The mango salsa and avocado emulsion really helped the dish out.
For the main I was torn between the Gumbo; a slow cooked casserole, Louisiana style served with rice cooked with peppers, onion, celery and spices with a choice between prawn & chicken that I would have gone for, chicken & sausage or crawfish & catfish, Jambalaya with the same choice which is described as a Creole Paella or the lobster & crawfish mac & cheese. I chose the later which intrigued me and was under the New Orleans Mama’s Home Cooking section and was told by the waiter this is what he advises his customers to order.
My companion chose the buttermilk fried chicken with 3 pieces which is served with a side and homemade gravy. The lobster & crawfish mac and cheese pie was delicious, creamy and cheesy and the lobster and crawfish added that extra texture and taste that made a simple dish into something a bit more special. The buttermilk fried chicken was ok, not the best I’ve had and the skin underneath wasn’t crispy so that was a bit of a disappointment but the crispy layer on top was tasty and the chicken was moist, so I just picked the skin off.
The meal was a good price considering we had a bottle of wine and 2 starters and 2 mains and the food overall was a good quality. The kitchen also has ribs, burgers, steaks, and more to chose from and the variety of the menu is appealing. There is live blues & soul music on a Wednesday and Saturday which I reckon would be packed on those days. Bayou Soul is definitely worth a visit but needs some slight improvement on some of the food.
Where To Find
20 Inverness Street 020 7284 0989 http://thebayoucamden.com/