Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Buster Mantis, Deptford
I'm with Simon Jenkins who, in the Evening Standard, regularly rails against the trashing of London's skyline. With that ugliest of blots on the landscape, Boris Johnson, as cheerleader-in-charge, tacky towers - 'planned' with no thought to scale, context or locality are - are going up faster than will the wall between Mexico and the USA should another greed-driven buffoon, Donald Trump, gain power. In which case... God bless America! God save humankind! And "Allahu Akbar! At least those nukes Teheran and Daesh didn't have in their arsenal have turned those darned towers to dust!" Built not for the good of actual Londoners, the developers' odious erections are 'designed' for the enrichment of the spivs and money launderers (and complicit cash-guzzling councils) that are ripping the city's social fabric asunder with their state-sanctioned giant Ponzi scheme. Even gritty Deptford is not immune from the spread of cancerous concrete carbuncles. Gordon McGowan, phlegmatic Anglo-Jamaican owner of Buster Mantis (named after Sir Alex Bustamante, the British-born MP that became Jamaica’s first PM) worries about how the regeneration will impact his 'hood. Set in two previously derelict railway arches, his post-industrial, (late-night) DJ bar/ kitchen /arts and events space, unlike the 'luxury' apartments now rising in numbers around it, has both heart and soul, however. McGowan’s Caribbean upbringing is evident in his start-up's concise range of £7.50 cocktails that major on rum - Orange Dark and Stormy; Mama’s homemade punch; Lychee Mojito etc and Mad Ting, a gin, whisky and brandy island iced tea. A reasonable selection of wines, London craft beers (and Red Stripe, natch) work with pepper shrimp, wings or saltfish fritters with aïoli, followed by jerk chicken, rice and peas (£8.50), jackfruit burger or jerked pork belly, red bean puree and sweet potato mash all made with love. Film screenings and community-focussed events are set to follow. I pray there still is a community for Buster M to tap into once Deptford is re-populated with the kind of high-living clones that aspire to charmless chicken coops in grim gulags that recall 'a Moscow suburb' as Simon Jenkins rightly says.
3 - 4 Resolution Way, SE8 4NT 8691 5191 www.bustermantis.com