“Where’s the jerk?” is not something I typically ask myself. Usually, jerks are things I want to avoid. However, this does not apply when dining at a Caribbean restaurant.

While the vibe and atmosphere of Calabash Bistro is great – and the cocktails are even better – the food is average at best. The place has a cool, groovy vibe and looks like it might have been Jimi Hendrix’s living room at some point (or basement in our case, since we were seated downstairs) – which is a possibility considering his grandma Nora used to live in Vancouver.

Slow Braised Oxtail

Jerk Fish Duo

Jerk Fish and Green Papaya Salad

But, alas, the great service and funky space could not distract from the average food. I ordered the Jerk Fish Duo, and sadly, there was nothing jerk-like about it: pale flavors that lacked the fire, tang and kick of a true jerk seasoning. The fish was also a bit overdone, especially the prawns. I ordered a couple of fried coconut dumplings on the side, but they were overcooked and not served with the mango honey or guava butter as promised; as such, they were hard and dry and needed to be washed down with a cocktail. Everyone around the table agreed that their food was decent, but nothing memorable.

Would I go back? Yes I would – but just to check out one of their live music performances and have a cocktail or two. There are plenty of places to find a jerk in Vancouver, but alas, this isn’t one of them.

Written by:

@flygyrll is a foodie who’s had the opportunity to travel to over 60 countries. Her passion for travel and food has afforded her a palate and appreciation for world cuisine. She now resides in Vancouver and is systematically working her way through the local food scene as an epicure and hobby blogger.