Our man about town, Kweku, shares his experience at Rum Kitchen..

West London nights out are a rarity for me, usually reserved only for the Caribbean cultural, culinary and cannabinol enhanced day time drinking fest that is Notting Hill Carnival, or the birthday celebrations of the more affluent of my friends. On Valentines day though, fast approaching 9pm with no more pre-drinking than 3 cups of tea, the Whatsapp bubble chimes proudly onto my phone, with other ideas. 4 messages later and it appears we are ‘turning this fucker around’, the next 20 minutes is the familiar collage of shower, iron, drink, brush, spray and faffing to  house music designed to expedite the summoning of energy required for a night out.

Road beers in hand and we are off to meet a birthday girl at Rum Kitchen in deepest quaintest Notting Hill. After a quick whistle wet and team talk at a nearby bar, we are soon at the top floor of Rum Kitchen, (I’m assuming this must be the kitchen half then) which is fairly tame and reminiscent of the bit at Wahacca where you have to wait for your buzzer to go off to be seated. Looking at the menu, I’ll definitely be coming back here for a daytime munch very soon; not just the mandatory locally renowned jerk chicken, specialties like their soft shelled crab burger make Rum Kitchen a cut above your standard Caribbean selection (north of the river at least). But, by this time it’s 11:30pm and it’s the afformentioned ‘Rum’ that we are after, the soundtrack points to a DJ somewhere in the building who is playing a wicked mix of old school RnB and the trail of breadcrumbs (in this case the guys and girls dressed in their finest pulling gear) leads downstairs to the club.

Rum Kitchen is the very definition of a sweatbox (which, depending on your disposition, is either an intimate sound system jammed into a small room with head high ceilings and dancing bodies, or just an uncomfortably warm room. I am with the former). As if plucked from a Manhattan basement and fixed in place in West London, replace NY socialites for wealthy young Europeans and add in the fleeting anticipatory glances of Valentines night and you are in the right ball park. With outfits fresh from their daytime Mayfair shopping sprees (and they do look great btw, if a little surprised by the mandatory sweating), the crowd were going for it, mix in a few who just came to dance and this was a decent party. I couldn’t help but feeling the DJ had a serious record collection that we only saw bits of, with some veteran ragga, reggae and funk puncturing the commercial RnB but only in 1,2 and 3 track stints. He was probably pandering to the more main stream audience but I bet that on n average Friday, this guy goes in..

For me, not the one to start your night but a great place to end up, Rum Kitchen, with it’s gang of rum cocktails squabbling to be your party fuel of choice is a welcome late night spot out west.

Note: also proper safe door staff. We do notice 🙂

Review by Kweku  Ackom-Mensah: kweku@trustthedj.com