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Friday, 21 March 2014

Dub Jam, Covent Garden


"My wife has gone to the Caribbean." "Jamaica?" "No, She went of her own accord.": so goes the old music hall joke. I've never seen Montego Bay nor eaten curried goat in Kingston - odd, given my penchant for 50s calypso, 60s ska and the sort of lover's rock played in Peckham nail parlours. Heavy heavy dub, I don't dig: living next to a North Kensington shebeen run by two misogynistic, homophobic, dole-cheatin', soap-dodgin' rank rasta drug dealers - not, perhaps, Jamaica's finest ambassadors - did my head in. Not much bigger than a bus shelter, clad in graffiti-daubed corrugated iron panels, decorated in lurid carnival colour-clash with furniture cleverly fashioned from jetsam and flotsam, I imagine raggamuffin chic hole-up Dub Jam is a fairly authentic approximation of the Negril beach shack not yet ticked off my bucket list. Thankfully, the soundtrack here  - played through speakers from which sweet rum punch is also dispensed - is totes top Trojan; no boom-skanga head-banga thuds when I drop in for full-flava BBQ street food. 28-day dry-aged burgers in flatbread; properly marinated jerk chicken; velvety pork belly; king prawns or haloumi and pepper skewers; “rice’n’ peace”; coconut and yoghurt-dressed slaw:  You Can Get It If You Really Want. Still on a reggae tip, there’s no Red Red Wine... or any other colour, for that matter. Alcohol is limited to Carib and Red Stripe lager, rums and a brace of cocktails. At the risk of being rude, boys, I’d like to see a dried-down rum fix in addition to (my boy) lollipop-sweet pina colada slush puppy and fruity Wray & Nephews rum punch (£6) served in tins at your Jammin’ joint.   
20 Bedford Street WC2E 9HP 7836 5876 www.dubjam.co.uk