Transforming a cloakroom into a “rum shack,” tiny 16-seater Dub Jam has opened near Covent Garden serving reggae, rum and Caribbean inspired dishes – all with a heaping side of Jamaican kitsch. The reggae? A selection of Trojan Record classics on heavy rotation. The rum? Jamaican to be sure with easy drinkin’ yet nonetheless potent tropical cocktails. The food? Jerk skewers and burgers mostly. And the kitsch? Well …
Despite the thatched roof open-kitchen wedged beneath a massive sound system, the place obviously isn’t really a shack, and it’s a loooong way from the Caribbean. Dub Jam décor features a bar made from a surfboard, and lighting made from floaters. Cocktails are served in painted tin cans and, in the case of the Reggae Rum Punch (a fruity wallop “secret recipe” mixed with a load of Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum) are gravity-fed through the sound system to be “slowly infused with genuine reggae sound waves and bass filtering.” Figure out for yourself whether that adds up to a cringe or a chuckle. I thought if was a fun atmosphere for a quick bite and was pleased by how tasty that quick bite was.
Kemey and I popped round Dub Jam last week for an early dinner. The place was (pardon the pun) jamming with barely room to squeeze in (Dub Jam doesn’t take reservations). We sat at the surfboard and were served up some cool drinks ASAP. I really enjoyed sipping on an icy pina colada (£6.50).
For my din-din, I went for the Kool Ruler king prawn and coconut skewer. I wished there’d been bit more meat on the skewer, but at eight quid I reckon it was an ample portion. Kemey got the Veggie Bangarang, a jerk haloumi and pepper skewer, for £5.50. Same story as with mine – she felt a little more would have been good but couldn’t deny that the price was nice. Skewers were served with sides Sunshine Slaw made with coconut and yoghurt. It was yummy. You can get it as a separate dish for £2.50. I ordered some KJ’s sweet potato chips (£3.60) as well and found them to be especially filling and delicious. I loved the home made salsas – one hot, the other smoky – that came them skewers and the chips as well. Next time, I might try a burger (28 day dry-aged English beef, cooked medium and served with lettuce, tomato, mayo in a flatbread pocket with salsa). The “Dub Shack” with grilled pineapple and smoked cheese (£9) sounds pretty tempting.
Dub Jam is located at 20 Bedford Street, WC2E 9HP. Find out more at dubjam.co.uk.