Cottons Rhum Shack launch party
Boasting a staggering 250 types of rum, Cottons Rhum Shack hopes to bring a taste of the Caribbean to what is, on opening night, a rather gloomy and grey Shoreditch. Once inside the shack though, all is colour and Caribbean sun. With steel drums, carnival dancers and limbo bars, it is very easy to forget the encroaching rain and, given the past form of British summertime, this is a useful trick for Cottons to have up its sleeve.
Although the shack boasts a modest restaurant as well as a well-stocked bar, for the launch night the management decided to focus almost solely on the drinks experience. No meals were served, with waiters instead offering loaded trays of canapés. It is therefore hard to judge what menu offerings like Trinidadian Fish Curry and Curried Mutton with Rice ‘n’ Peas will actually be like come the restaurant’s opening.
These canapés provided a promising taster: plantain that was soft and melted in the mouth, crab cakes that burst with the flavour of the sea and fried dumplings (a little on the dry side) that were served with a satisfyingly spicy chilli dipping sauce. Sadly for a menu that relies so much on meat and jerk chicken, there were none in sight to sample.
This Cottons branch is all about rum. On the night, a very drinkable punch flowed freely and was mixed with great panache by the enthusiastic and friendly bar staff. Also on offer are a large selection of rum-based cocktails: from the classic and very tasty Pina Colada, to the Jamaican Mule (featuring lime and ginger) and any other you could possibly think of. For those not that way inclined, there is also a selection of beers and champagne on offer, but given the sheer quantity of rum it would, quite frankly, be rude not to indulge.
The on site entertainment is the venue’s second biggest draw. Steel pans and bongos mix with the DJ’s beats to provide a laid-back soundtrack that helps the drink go down smoothly, while fantastically dressed carnival dancers try their best to get the crowd dancing and limboing. On sunny days, this concoction of rum and lilting rhythms is likely to make this Caribbean style beach shack a popular hangout, but whether its sunny optimism will fare so well if the British summer takes a turn for the worse remains to be seen.
Photos: Nichola Daunton
To book a table at Cotton’s Rhum Shack, Units 48-49, The Box Park, 2-4 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6GY, call 020 7729 9723 or visit here.