While you might not necessarily feel that rum and Scotch Bonnets go well together, leave it to Haitian restaurant Tap Tap in Miami to convince you otherwise. Although Bacon & Rags is all about Curaçao and its local shops and joints (and who would want it any other way?!), we feel that certain flavours and shopping experiences abroad simply must be shared. So, every once in a while, just to shake things up a little bit, we will be posting about shops and eateries abroad.
Haitian restaurant Tap Tap on 5th Street in Miami Beach is one of those places you just need to experience. We’ve read rave reviews about it online and it was featured on our fave show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on FoodNetwork so we headed out there this week to check it out for ourselves. We never really understood what authentic Haitian cuisine was, until we had that first bite.
We started with Tap Tap’s most celebrated appetizer Akra. The main ingredient is Malanga, a tropical and sub-tropical edible or ornamental plant, transformed into a fritter. On its own the fritter is crispy and not too spicy. But dip it in the watercress sauce that comes with the dish and you will be blown away. The taste sensation isn’t easy to describe, although the best way to describe it is ‘watercressily divine’. If you are great in the kitchen we would definitely recommend you to try making the fritters at home. Recipe provided by the chef here.
While waiting for our mains, we sipped on our Tropical Rhum Punches, made with authentic Haitian rum Barbancourt (standard aged 4 years, but you can opt for a special reserve of 8 years or an estate reserve of 15 years) and a variety of tropical juices and packed with a sizeable amount of punch.
The main dishes were almost as good as the Malanga fritters. Although the main dishes are similar to our and our neighbouring islands’ cuisine, the sauces served with the dishes were 100% new to us. The Griyo, fried pork chunks, came with a clear sauce with onions. Careful with the dipping, because you don’t want to numb your taste buds!
The fried yellow tail reminded us of our own Piska Kora dish. It was fried to perfection and paired with a vinegar based sauce, filled with onions and Scotch Bonnets. That might sound scary to some, but it really isn’t. You don’t get stung by the Scotch Bonnets. You can actually taste them. Both main dishes were served with rice & beans and plantain. Stuff we are all too familiar with and very well executed in our opinion.
The service at Tap Tap is impeccable, in case you were wondering. The staff was super friendly. When we left, it was past closing time, but the bar tender still wanted to chat with Louis about rum. If you are in Miami, we would suggest you drop everything and head straight to Tap Tap from the airport!
Food- 9 the Akra watercress dipping sauce is other-worldly
Service- 9 we wanted to try a couple of different sauces for the fish and have a late night chat about rum without anyone complaining!
Ambiance- 8 we love the murals and the zouk that was playing
Locations- 8 no matter how far away you are staying, it is worth the drive