WENNY ARMSTRONG - Django Bango
'Cool' is a word we really endeavor to avoid using when writing - but with Django Bango, exceptions have to be made. Sitting on Brick Lane, Django Bango delivers a rip-roaring evening of live music, quality street-food, beer, liquor and good-times. The brains behind this empire of epic evenings, Wenny Armstrong, answers a few of our questions.
Django Bango by Watt Events
Po’Boys (by Wenny Armstrong & friend)
DESERT ISLAND DISH & DISC
Brioche ice cream burger – crunchy, hot & freezing cold in one bite
Emancipator – Soon It Will Be Cold Enough To Build Fires
What inspired you to set up the pop-up?
Wenny was looking for her next foodie adventure after Po’Boys whilst her girlfriend Viv had been running events for the HER lesbian dating app in the UK, on the side of earning her bread and butter money in banking. On a Sunday afternoon exploring the East End they accidently found ‘Django Bango’ whilst getting lost finding an indoor football court. Knowing that weird and wonderful things are often hidden in basements, coupled with their curiosity, they discovered the 7,000sqft wooden village at the very back of the old brewery building. On hearing the unique space was in use as a laser tag and BB gun range in the week, they enquired about renting the space at weekends, had a few beers which helped events to escalate quickly; Viv quit her job, Wenny had her next venture, and their great friend Sorcha joined to complete the trio.
There’s so much going in the world of pop-ups – what sets you guys apart?
We are everything all rolled into one event; a combination of Secret Cinema and Street Feast with a live band, cowboy games, face painting, and all set in a multi-level 7000sqft wooden village.
What was your very first job? Tell us about it.
Viv’s very first job was producing a short film that was screened at Cannes Film Festival. Wenny was employed at her parent’s hotel in Cornwall to water all the flowers and point out any dead lightbulbs (she was too young to reach them at that stage). Sorcha was trained from the ground up at Childrensalon – the world’s largest online store for designer childrenswear – where she still currently works as Digital & Brand Director outside of Django Bango.
What have been the main challenges through your journey? What have you learned?
God where to start! The main challenges have been negotiating licensing with the Council and both sets of landlords that we need to keep happy. Gone are the days you can just park your apple cart and start selling. There is also something to be said for aiming much higher than you ever think you can reach, then even if you don’t make it, hopefully you’ll still be in place where you can feel proud. That and unrelenting resilience.
Which ingredients do you have a love/hate relationship with and why?
Marmite is the worst when it’s on toast. But put a spoonful in a spag bol or your BBQ sauce and it’ll give you the ‘umami effect’ and you’ll wonder why you can’t put your fork down.
What would be your last supper and who would cook it?
A deep southern feast with several gumbos, pickled crawfish, deep fried jalapenos, racks of ribs and freshly baked cornbread muffins. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz can cook it, and her weird mates can come too.
Favourite junk food/ guilty pleasure?
It’s gross, but when I am making a roux, I can’t stop eating the melted butter mixed with flour. It’s so wheaty and buttery, it’s like the ultimate raw cake mix.
What would you like to change about the restaurant industry?
I’d like to see restaurants undergo the same nutritional scrutiny as the supermarkets. If restaurateurs were under the spotlight more I believe chefs would be forced to dream up innovative ways to keep their dishes on point instead of dumping a load of tasty calories into them.
Who would be in your fantasy dinner party and why?
Can I ask that you find the people who built Stone Henge? I have a question for them. Also I have a few questions for King Jon-un. Angelina Jolie and Jamie Vardy would be good for segways. Also I’ll keep Dorothy as my chef.
What does the future hold for your project?
Django Bango finishes on the 2nd April, (although we may be able to negotiate a few more dates.). This summer Wenny is launching ‘Django Bango Dining’ where diners can enjoy open fires, live music and several cowboy courses. Viv and Sorcha are currently plotting ideas for several undiscovered locations around London.
Fridays 7pm – 1am, Saturdays 7pm – midnight
22 – 36 Raven Row