London pop-ups, they're ever snatching at the game for the best new theme, or the most unusual new trope, you need only look at inhalable cocktails and barmy jelly brunches to prove it; but when it comes to nailing the ol' rootin' tootin' Midwest bash, there's no name quite like Django Bango. And their latest supper club, 'Gold Rush'? Partner, it sure don't squander in the saloon department.
I've been to quite a few events that promise interiors that nail a theme and hark back to an era, but it looks like Django Bango actually mean it with their spit-bucket shenanigans. Not only taking to a secretive yard in the heart of Vauxhall, a converted steelworks at that, this Gold Rush affair harks with social dining tables smothered in red, checkered print, a miniature steam railway that bellows down the side of the supper club, a pop-up bar and a deluge of Deadwood Dick inspired props that range from abandoned skulls to glittering, golden bottles of bubbly (it's likely moonshine, but let 'em keep you guessing). Not only do their interiors come fully decked, you can expect bolos, stetsons, corsets and voices from the Django crew that could put the decibel scale to shame.
The Food and Drink
While i'm darned sure that gunslingers and cowboys lived off crocodiles and cows all the same, we went for the vegetarian menu at that. Crocodiles have feelings too. With five courses to veer through, not only was I impressed with their approach to servings, with each dish coming in its own select style (the crocodile and sweetcorn in buckets, the gumbo in crock pots and the salad in a weave basket) the vegetarian options were genuinely enviable when it came to plates. Starting with a sweet yet starched muffnut dressed with broad bean and red peppers, we were excited to see how £35 would spread across the dishes. While our second dish was a lacklustre pickled sweetcorn that i'm afraid to say disappointed, it's rising stars in their following courses that kept us on the rails. Not only was the salad a fun and cruncy blend of charred kale, pomegranate and halloumi that actually boasted a few jealous 'ooohs' from fellow diners, the green pepper, okra and arancini gumbo was warming, snappy and really brought the meal together alongside a moreish rocky road to finish. Meat eaters were embellished too, as crocodile bites were shared alongside ribs and dripping cajun gumbo.
Not only was the food menu strictly Wild West themed, the drinks menu was a fun and approachable blend of wines, beer and cocktails that roared proud with puns. Our choices flitted between the 'MineyMcMineface', a cool cowboy blend of Mezcal, fresh like and hibiscus syrup (£8) and a 'Smoke Strike' (£8.50) that while served in a martini glass, gave attitude in the shape of Buffalo bourbon (fitting), grand marnier, souchong syrup and smoked oak.
Hooting and hollering was just the start of it, as we were not only met by cowboy heckling at the door, our whole night was under boozing premise. That suited us just fine. Not only did the characters make the entire evening at Gold Rush, with Trixy Dixy givin' fellas the eye and cowboys keeping the bar stocked, the social dining aspect promises gaggle at your table throughout. Get one of the Gold Rush coins in one of your meals? Expect screaming, shots and some more shots as we twice came up rich in our meals meaning that two rounds kept the table happy and flushed throughout the night. I couldn't get through this review without mentioning the brilliant jangling of keys from Dom Pipkin, an amazing pianist who had the perfect musical rattle to keep tables under the Wild West illusion. I did however seem to be the only one missing Will Smith and a mechanical spider.
Sure, having been labelled a girl that's easy to impress ever since she was given pickled onions as a secret santa, i've proven that it doesn't take a lot to keep me chuffed; but Django Bango Gold Rush is an event that wants to impress and wants to keep you guessing. Not only one of the only places in London that you'll find that all important dose of Buffalo Bill boozing, Django don't make you feel cheated in price thanks to prime dishes and an atmosphere that doesn't thrive on subtlety.