Don’t pass Hitchin’s ‘Duchy’ Caribbean – visit it!

Owner of the Duchy Pot John Turner with the traditional carribean cooking pot

Owner of the Duchy Pot John Turner with the traditional carribean cooking pot - Credit: Archant

A born and bred and Hitchin businessman whose parents settled in the town after emigrating from Jamaica is set to open an original and independent Caribbean restaurant.

Owner of the Duchy Pot John Turner

Owner of the Duchy Pot John Turner - Credit: Archant

John Turner, 45, has been putting the finishing touches to the Duchy Pot on Bancroft – named after a cooking pot which is a staple in most Jamaican homes and was made famous in the 1980s Musical Youth song Pass the Dutchie.

It includes a mosaic paying tribute to both his late father and his Caribbean heritage.

John, a former Hitchin Boys’ School pupil, has been wanting to open an authentic West Indies eatery for a few years but held off until he found the ‘perfect spot’ – the site of the former Australian bar Bombora.

Qualified accountant John told the Comet: “Everyone loves Caribbean food. What I want to do is offer authentic food but with a funky twist.

“No-one wants a tired and clichéd ‘palm tree’ restaurant offering a pale imitation of what should be vibrant food. The Duchy Pot will offer an original fusion of the old and the new – favourites but with a dynamic new twist.

“Of course there will be dishes like ackee, saltfish, plantain – but we also have a taster menu offering ‘Caribbean tapas’. There will also be 50 different types of quality rums from the region, and we’ll be doing Caribbean breakfasts and lunchtime specials.

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“Jamaican eating is a sociable experience and we want to offer that here too.”

Family is important to father-of-two John. He also created the decor, including a mosaic paying tribute to his late father Headley Turner who made a new life in Hitchin in the early sixties.

John added: “My dad was always proud of me. I knew he took great pleasure from watching the Duchy Pot evolve before he passed.

“I created the mosaic in tribute to him, and my mother Hilda who has been a great support – as well as to acknowledge Caribbean influences. Music is important – we also plan to have reggae and ska to enhance the experience.

“There are no real Caribbean restaurants within a large radius of Hitchin from London up to Milton Keynes – and the interest we’ve already had from so many people has been great.

“I’d like to say a big thanks to my family and all those who’ve helped.”

The Duchy Pot is to open in July. Follow @DuchyPot on Instagram.

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