21 Sep 2016

Australian restaurant celebrates 'stylish days' of colonialism

10:09 am on 21 September 2016

A British Empire themed restaurant in Australia has been accused of racism and romanticising the colonial era.

The British Colonial Co restaurant in Brisbane

The British Colonial Co restaurant in Brisbane Photo: Facebook / British Colonial Co

British Colonial Co, which opened in July in Brisbane, said it was celebrating the "stylish days" of the British Empire.

It has withdrawn marketing material which said the restaurant had been "inspired by the empirical push into the developing cultures of the world".

The restaurant has said it was "saddened" by the media reports.

"We are very proud of our brand, dining experience and the loyal clientele we have established," it said in a statement.

"We are therefore upset and saddened by today's media reports that our brand is causing offence and distress to some members of the community. This certainly was not our intention."

Comments on social media this week criticised the restaurant's marketing material for ignoring the destructive impact of the British Empire on Australia and other countries.

"The issue is that they romanticized colonization with no respect to the fact that generation greatly suffered in Australia because of it," said one user on the restaurant's Facebook page.

Another user on Twitter suggested a visit to the restaurant if you are in Brisbane and "in the mood for imperialism and genocide for dinner".

"Are they trying to attract racist clientele?"

Others online didn't think the restaurant's name and decor were that offensive.

"Nothing wrong with being proud of the Empire. Britain did more to elevate the standard of living in more places around the world than any of the natives ever did," said one Facebook user.

The attention has appeared to have an effect on the venue.

The tagline of the restaurant originally read: "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 setting".

That tagline now reads: "A refined and modern dining experience with the adventure of east meets west in a plantation style, club setting."

- BBC

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