>> Bridgetown Roti | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Bridgetown Roti

Pickup at Crafted Kitchen.


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (05 February 2024) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
If you caught wind of Bridgetown Roti late last year doing various events, you immediately knew something special was brewing, especially for Los Angeles. The full breadth of the cuisine of many Caribbean islands is just not available unfortunately, but suddenly a Bajan chef who had been making a name for herself in marquee kitchens around town was putting one of those cuisines center stage.

With a strong touch of her modern sensibilities layered over traditional recipes, Bridgetown Roti was born, named for the capital and largest city of Barbados. After over a year of doing weekly residencies, pop-up events, and hustling her new business any way possible after lockdown, owner and chef Rashida Holmes is now cooking at Crafted Kitchen in the Arts District.

Now that the full line of foods she offers is basically available on any day she cooks here, there is less worry about selling out and being too late for some of your favorites. That beloved oxtail and peppers patty ($8, above and below) will almost certainly be available when you place your orders online these days.

What sets this patty apart from others you may have tried is the flawless flaky shell. When you pick up a run of the mill $1.50 beef patty, it is normally not the crust that wows you, it is more the savory and spicy filling inside that leads to enjoyment. In this oversized creation, both shine and work together in harmony.

Hand-rolled roti ready to be unwrapped.

After eating both the patty and a roti, it is clear that Chef Holmes has a way with dough. The roti recently picked up and shown here is Mom's curry chicken roti ($14, below), and suddenly you are envious of whomever this mom belongs to.

That first bite is of the sort that makes your brow furrow in disbelief of the enjoyment your taste buds are having. Amongst bites of dark meat laced with turmeric in a not-too-saucy curry are blue potatoes that are far tastier than the standard spuds you might normally find in curries. For a texture crunch, both cabbage and scallions can be found within the silky, buttery wrap.

In much of the South Caribbean you will find curry and roti served side by side, to also be eaten by hand but necessitating a table and chair to do without making a mess. If you have been to Barbados, you will certainly have come across stands and food vans selling wraps like Chef Holmes has created here, perfect for a quick snack and easy eating.

It is such a common part of the day that you find them pre-made for pickup at grocery stores and even at Chefette, the island's most popular fast food chain.

You can round out your meat-heavy meals with the smashed jerk cucumber salad ($4, below), but at least on this day it was found to be lacking something. The lime jerk dressing has a very nice kick to it, but this type of small cucumber rarely has much flavor.

It may just be missing one important ingredient, or this reviewer may just be missing one important taste bud. You decide. Regardless, the first two items were so good that it did not really matter.


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