Fighting, feeding and fucking, to paraphrase the sainted David Attenborough, are the orders of the day for Sky’s latest foray into three-dimensional nature programming (simulcast on Sky1 for those of us still dismisssing 3D TV as a fad). The praying mantis, of course, can – and indeed does – combine all three, delivering exactly the right combination of awe and disgust for us viewers.
This six-part series is not for the faint-hearted. Other memorable bug-on-bug tussles tonight include scorpion v centipede, mantis v bombardier beetle and stick insect v huntsman spider. In each case, the defence is at least as impressive as the attack – perhaps the ultimate example of which comes in the shape of the brilliantly named ‘pie dish beetle’ (only in Australia); but kudos too to the ingenious assassin bug, which coats itself in the husks of past victims to infiltrate the dens of potential new ones.
Big Dave provides the context and a little of the light anthropomorphism to which he’s become partial of late, and the whole thing just flies by. ‘Life on Earth’ for the Top Trumps generation.
The Berlusconi-themed cabaret bar Bunga Bunga – a cavernous Covent Garden spin-off to the Battersea original – is down in the basement. But here, at street level, things are more sedate: Bungatini is a straight-up pizzeria with killer cocktails, a friendly vibe and the best pistachio gelato this side of the Dolomites. The decor is an enjoyably off-kilter blend of traditional and modern: yes, it’s got a stripy awning, hanging bunches of dried chillis and a soundtrack of Roman swing. But the bar is decked out in lurid pink neon, there are USB ports at every table and flirty extracts from a learn-Italian tape play on a loop in the loos. The menu, however, has ditched the contemporary edge in favour of rustic familiarity. First: creamy burrata served with smoky, pleasantly slimy aubergines and gooey mushroom-and-truffle arancini. Cocktails were just as good. An elderflower spritz was sparkly and sweet, the negroni flawless. Pizza piccante came with sliced salami, ’nduja sausage and lumps of cooling ricotta, all drenched in a tomato sauce so gorily red that the plate looked like a scene from ‘The Godfather’. The gnocchi with Abrazzo black truffle was simpler but just as indulgent, swimming in a glistening butter sauce. After all this, pudding could have been an afterthought. But one taste of the homemade pistachio ice cream and the preceding meal was forgotten: velvety and decadent, it had an intense nutty flavour. For a crowd-pleasing Italian in town, Bungatini is acceptably
Venue says: “Our delicious Italian 12-inch pizza is just £5 every weekday lunchtime from noon-4pm. Pasta of the day and salads also available every day.”