When someone says Caribbean food, what automatically springs to mind? Jerk chicken? Too spicy? GOAT? Jamaica? We at The Calabash Tree have been bringing an authentic taste of a different Caribbean island, sharing family recipes from Trinidad and Tobago for the past three years. ‘Made in England with Trini parts’, I grew up in a dual-heritage home, an English Dad (a chef) and a Trini Mam. Growing up in the north east Caribbean food was not available anywhere unless ingredients were picked up in London and cooked at home. It all started with my Aunt Phyllis’s curry and roti, my Gran cooking for us when she visited, trips to Trinidad and New York to visit family to get my foodie fix. My Dad obviously served up some very tasty meals, but my death row meal will always be ‘Doubles’– if you know, you know! I didn’t appreciate the efforts taken to produce good food until I left home and had to feed myself. I started asking questions and cooking to relax, I enjoyed it and questioned how many pot noodles are too many? The women in my family would say ‘one’. I missed the dishes that my Gran and Aunt cooked and continued searching the region for Trinidadian food, it was not available. I decided enough was enough. I begged and pleaded with all of my Trini family and friends for the ‘secrets’, turns out there are no measurements, it’s all in the pinch of this and that…. So I cook until it takes me back to my Gran’s and Auntie Phyllis’s kitchens. My Gran would say “Your pot smells good” and now I know what she meant. We use authentic herbs and spices and aim to remain true to the ingredients, flavour and attitude of Trinidad and Tobago 🇹🇹
I cooked for friends, family and colleagues who all said I should sell it. Before I knew it, I was a British Street food finalist after 4 months of trading. Since then we have continued to cater events from Wylam Brewery to Digbeth Dining Club, Corporate lunches and events. Weddings to Book launches, festivals to private dining. The feedback has been great – the cultural mix of the iconic twin Caribbean islands is represented in the food. People often comment that it is amazing and nothing like they’ve experienced before. A reference to‘Sunshine in a bowl’ really resonated with me. This is just the start of our journey; we are bringing ‘Liming’ to the North East!!! Stay tuned for where we will be next, but if you are interested in a private or corporate event do use the contact form to check our availability.
"Some of the best food in the north east & fantastic service from a very friendly bloke." - Liam
"The food is amazing, tasty and filling and really good value for money. Definitely worth a try 👍" - Sarah
"Just been to ryan got the pulled brisket and the all dat bit of everything and cheese cake beautiful, fantastic restaurant quality food stunning flavours and top bloke 👌" - Stephen