Saturday, 23 March 2013
Rum Kitchen/ Rum Cellar, Notting Hill
(above: the way we were. Police vans blockade the 'Front Line')
From the same people as Ping in SW5, and seemingly assembled from packing crates and sundry jetsam and flotsam, Rum Kitchen is a fair representation of a gaily painted Caribbean beach. 'Gay' would have been a dirty word to the sort of teeth-suckin' Caribbeans who once colonised this street when it was the 'Front Line' - skanky, skunky Yardies who bleated about how discriminated against they were in Thatcher's 'racist Britain', whenever the poor souls weren't busy burning 'batty boys', or planning to. Tonight, I've invited along MsMarmiteLover, queen of the London supperclub scene who agrees with my assessment of the Kitchen's rummy cocktails as 'patchy.' Mama’s Guinness Punch works well but a daiquiri is as cloying as any alcopop I've tasted. Starters and mains are similarly hit and miss: the seasoning on jerk chicken, and a chilli jam served with crisp-coated salt fish fitters, both lack kick. Ms M's 'Carib veg rundown - leafy green callaloo stew served with rice - wouldn't be much missed if it were run down by a passing police van, while heat trumps flavour in seafood gumbo served in a bland broth with cold cornbread. Diners get to access late-night members club Rum Cellar, a funky dark shebeen downstairs. Decorated with battered luggage of the type carried by the area’s original West Indian emigrants aboard steamships conveying them to the promised land - in reality, a life of poverty, menial labour and grim lodgings in reviled landlord Peter Rachman's squalid Notting Hill rookeries. Nowadays, W11's trustafarians and royals - rum bugger Prince Harry, a fan, not in da house tonight - slum it in style here to calypso, reggae, afro and low rider soul sounds spun by dexsmiths such as Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ DJ Fast. Choose from over 100 fine rums served straight up or, in tin mugs, with mixers‘n'Ting, as in Jamaica’s national grapefruity fizzy pop.
6 -8 All Saints Rd. W11 7920 6479 www.therumkitchen.com
Based on a review for www.squaremeal.co.uk