YOU could be forgiven for thinking you’d missed a turn and landed in the Caribbean at Papa King’s Liming Spot.
Formerly X-Wray cafe, the place is decked out like a set from the BBC’s Death in Paradise with stressed paint, white plantations shutters, and a generous sprinkling of dreadlocked Jamaicans (they could have been from any of the islands, but all wore the Bob Marley green, yellow, red and black-knitted rasta caps).
A wall-sized map of the multitude of Caribbean Sea islands is a fascinating glimpse into an area colonised by the UK, US, Holland and France.
Liming is a term used throughout the Caribbean for a gathering, or hanging out.
Which was what we were doing, with a post-new year catch up with my brother and sister-in-law.
An effusive, Caribbean welcome by our waiter, who turned out to be Spanish, set the mood and we were ready to lime, kicking off with shared entrees.
The cauliflower fritters ($7.50) were the standout winners, but the vegetarian Mauritian-style samosas ($10.50) were pretty damned good, and we all raved about the freshness and flavours of the Caribbean salad with green apple ($7.50).
I was intrigued by the salt fish with green banana ($19.50) as a main.
The uber-helpful waiter explained the fish is soaked in brine overnight then washed and cooked with herbs and spices.
The flavours were at first subtle, and I found the chunks of plantain overwhelmed the fish, but it wasn’t long before the fish fought back for a very enjoyable meal.
Although I still thought more fish and less banana would have improved the balance.
A Jamaican beef curry ($18.50) went down a treat, the meat tender with enough chilli to leave the tongue zinging, as did the vegetation version.
An order of coco bread ($1.50) was used to mop up the juices.
A cross between a dinner roll and a brioche they were slightly sweet, which actually went well with the savoury dishes.
Chilli is a signature in Caribbean cuisine and Papa King doesn’t stint, it came with everything, even the mango tossed in rum dessert ($9.50).
It worked well with the sweet fruit, but at first bite the liberal application of salt was daunting. But it soon became an acquired taste.
A couple of creamy coconut pudding, with a raspberry coulis ($8.50) suited others in the party better.
Papa Kings is licenced with an impressive range of rums from the islands.
by JENNY D’ANGER
Papa Kings Liming Spot
13 Essex Street, Fremantle
Thurs/Fri to midnight
Sat/Sun 9.30am to late