Restaurant inspired by "glamorous British colonialism" meets resistance online

Calls of racism have been heard after claims it was inspired by "the stylish days of the empirical push into the developing cultures of the world"

British Colonial Co

[Concrete Playground]

A restaurant in the Australian city Brisbane found itself at the centre of a social media storm amid claims of racism yesterday when it promoted its themes of British imperial expansionism. The eaterie, trading under the name British Colonial Co, was inundated with complaints and criticism for extolling the virtues of colonialist Britain in a country still trying to get to terms with a period of history that destroyed indigenous cultures and societies.

“Inspired by the stylish days of the empirical push into the developing cultures of the world, with the promise of adventure and modern refinement in a safari style setting,” was how the restaurant billed itself to potential diners earlier this week on its website. Since changed, it now invites customers to partake of “A refined and modern dining experience with the adventure of east meets west in a plantation style, club setting.”

Given that the history of Australia is intrinsically linked to a dark imperialist past, having once been witness to a legacy of domestic and agricultural slavery and the human bondage of thousands of indigenous Australians and South Sea Islanders, the themed restaurant has not been well received on Twitter.

Responding to the controversy, the restaurant’s managers told Mashable that they were “upset” by the media portraying their business might cause some distress. “We are very proud of our brand, dining experience and loyal clientele we have established since opening in July this year. British Colonial Co was founded on the principles of providing Brisbane foodies with relaxed, casual dining,” the statement reads.

“We believe that our décor and menu has great synergy with Brisbane’s climate and the expansive palette of our clientele, who are looking for a melting pot of food and beverages to enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere.”

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