New Queensland bar British Colonial Co. promises patrons a "refined and modern dining experience" with the "adventure of east meets west" in a "plantation style club setting."
The bar and eatery, which opened in June in the Brisbane suburb of Hawthorne, boasts a "modern Australian" menu inspired by the cuisines of Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia—regions that "formed parts of the British Empire in its heyday".
The "plantation style club setting" harks back to the highly profitable, large-scale farms the British empire nurtured with an enslaved or indentured workforce in colonised countries across the world.
From 1860 through to the 1970s thousands of Indigenous Australians who lost their land to British imperialism were taken from their homes and sent to work on cattle and sheep properties.
South Sea Islanders were taken from their homes in the South Pacific 150 years ago and subjected to a lifetime of slavery in Queensland's sugar cane plantations.
Some menu items are referred to as "African influenced"— a continent where an estimated 12.5 million people were captured and transported to the Americas and the Caribbean to work on plantations between the 16th century and 1807.
"Inspired by the stylish days of the empirical [sic] push into the developing cultures of the world, with the promise of adventure and modern, refinement in a safari style setting," the website read on Monday.
"It has been received well," a spokesperson for the restaurant told BuzzFeed News.
When asked whether there had been any feedback from Queenslanders whose ancestors might have been killed or enslaved when the British empire pushed into their homelands, the spokesperson answered: “I haven’t got any specific notes about that.”
"It is not a [colonial] theme so much as it is an interior style that they have chosen, they've gone with British colonial," the spokesperson said.
Not everyone was impressed with the "British colonial" aesthetic.
Facebook user Reuben Acciano posted a new version of the bar's website, replacing the phrases he did not agree with.
"I'd rather eat out of the bins at the back of Maccas than eat at the British Colonial Co.," Aboriginal media page Blackfulla Revolution posted.
But on Instagram the establishment has enjoyed support.
Many have posted pictures of their breakfasts at the restaurant on Instagram.
Even former Miss Australia Courtney Thorpe popped in for the opening.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the owners for comment.
Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Gina Rushton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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