‘If you’re not drinking,’ cried our compère, a boisterous lady in a slinky ballgown, ‘you can fuck off!’ It was a subtle intro to the world of Bunga Bunga, an immersive Italian bar-restaurant that began life in Battersea and has spawned a wayward child in central London. Luckily, there’s more to it than this go-hard-or-go-home attitude.
For starters, there are marble interiors as gaudy as the Trevi Fountain, rippling torsos jutting from the walls and a speedboat fashioned into a table. Then there’s the entertainment, with mafiosi (played by actors) interrupting your conversation and a house band playing Rat Pack tunes. No interlude is left unfilled. It’s madder than Mario Balotelli. Incidentally, there’s a cocktail named after him, served in a cup the shape of his head.
Italian liqueurs and spirits abound on the vast menu, although prosecco seems to flow most liberally round the room. For £28 per person you can chow down on a sharing menu of Italian staples, including a decent spread of antipasti, and a tipsy tiramisu. And of course there’s pizza, served by the metre, for soaking up all that booze.
If Bunga Bunga could stop forcing the fun down people’s throats, it could be a bigger bash than Berlusconi ever had. Don’t come here for a quiet catch-up or, worse still, a first date. Do come for a hen do or if you like to party with more than a dash of pomp, eh?