John Lewis, Tinie Tempah, fried chicken…three phrases you probably thought would never be put together. So when I learnt that south London grime legend Tinie Tempah has opened a pop-up restaurant at Willows on The Roof (just above John Lewis in Oxford Street), I was drawn there like a moth to a flame.
Despite my excitement at the prospect of eating at Tinie’s’ restaurant, part of me wondered whether I’ll be paying solely for the association with his fame, and not for the quality of his food. I’ve seen pictures of his dishes on Instagram and they looked pretty tasty, so I decided to find out for myself whether ‘Mr Disturbing London’s’ grub is as good as his music.
‘Raps’ opened on Friday, March 11, and it has already fed famous faces such as presenter Craig Mitch, and former musician and Top Boy actor Ashley Walters.
It took me a short while to actually find the place as I had to get two different lifts and I somehow got lost in the John Lewis labyrinth. Yes, that is definitely a real thing. After regaining my bearings and realising they probably aren’t selling food in the travel baggage department, I eventually found myself on the roof. And it was spectacular.
Peaceful and pleasant – a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, and it came with spectacular views over the capital’s skyline!
When I got to the restaurant, believe it or not, Tinie Tempah was nowhere to be seen. I must admit that childishly I hoped he’d be there, but he wasn’t pulling any pints, nor was he operating the deep fryer.
When I got inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the trendy, and dare I say it… “Instagrammable” interior. I was captivated by the warm rattan lampshades and pretty plants when a very friendly waiter took me to my table. He sat me down and gave me a menu, which I gawked at like a star-struck fanboy.
The menu has a good selection and is well-priced. I was expecting to pay £7 for a nugget and £15 for a watery cocktail, but I was very wrong. The food here is pretty good value, and is one of the many things that entice me to go back. After a pleasurable few minutes of pondering the menu, I decided to go for one of the four wraps on offer, all of which are named after musicians.
The Unruly wrap is jerk flavoured and named after Jamaican singer Popcaan, and the African Giant wrap – named after Nigerian rapper Burna Boy’s fourth album – is Jollof flavoured. Then there was the Buffalo Soulja wrap, derived from the famous Bob Marley song, and the JMEEE vegan wrap gets its name from JME – the grime artist from Tottenham who is…. a vegan.
I had the choice of flavour from the USA, the Caribbean, and West Africa. I chose the £8.95 Unruly wrap, as I’ve always had a thing for Caribbean food.
As soon as the plate hit my table I just knew, from the smell alone, that I was about to eat a work of art. It smelt and looked amazing – and it came in a fancy gold wrap! But that was just the colour of what held it together and not an ostentatious attempt to show off his cooking like Salt Bae.
It was simply fantastic – and at £8.95 it was worth every god damn penny.
And unlike many wraps, it held together when you ate it. Despite the lettuce being chopped, there weren’t any loose bits falling out. The sauce didn’t explode out of the bottom as I bit into it – it was just 100% tasty and had the perfect plantain and chicken proportions.
Most importantly though was the chicken, and the batter was sweet and crispy – just the right amount. As you can see, management isn’t shy to serve you huge slabs of chicken in your wrap, and considering it’s off the bone – I can only take my hat off to whoever made it. It was perfectly succulent and juicy. The Unruly wrap is a perfect size, not too big, and not too small.
With its ace location, friendly service, and star quality food, Raps is an all-round pleasure to eat at. I would 110,000% recommend it. Nine quid is spectacular value and you should get yourself in there next time you’re in the area. Heck, you could even have a few cocktails and do a spot of drunk-shopping in John Lewis!
I enjoyed myself so much that I’m ashamed to say I left without paying. I was back down in travel luggage before I realised my mistake. So I returned to Raps to pay and the staff just laughed.
Hi, I’m Rafi and I’m a reporter here at MyLondon, born and raised in the capital and currently living in South London.
The stories I enjoy writing the most are all about people. Some of my favourites from this month are:
If you have any news to share, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call on 07554 518678.
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