A show, bar and Italian menu all in one
Category : Bar, Restaurant
| Cuisine : Italian
Opening Times : Thurs-Sat: 6pm–2am
Closest Tube : Covent Garden
When Bunga Bunga first opened its doors to the denizens of Battersea, it was in the heyday of the Italian head-of-state‘s antics, or, should we say, romantics… It‘s a testament to its popularity that there‘s now three branches open, the latest in the beating aorta of Theatreland, Drury Lane. We popped in on a Thursday night to investigate and weren‘t disappointed…
A few weeks back we reviewed Bungatini, an intimate little cocktail bar that serves excellent pizzas. Well, we were surprised to reenter it, and equally surprised to be led through a recondite door and through a winding narrow corridor, past a butcher‘s shop with sides of pork and beef, and into a massive room that looked like it was lifted out of Twin Peaks, including a sprawling stage at the far end complete with red velvet curtains, as well as characters and actors at every step of the way. The entertainment is really something else - bawdy burlesque that you wouldn‘t want to take your grandmother to see, but nothing edgy enough that it would put you off your plate.
We took our seats as the live band kicked into some tongue-in-cheek pop numbers from Britain and Italy. The menu is prix fixe so you can kick back and focus on the energetic ambience. The restaurant is perfect for larger groups, and the Martini Room is the ideal private dining room for bawdy group fun. Like the best of Italian cuisine, Bunga Bunga‘s is simple and ingredient-led. First up was some oily, crusty focaccia served with eye-poppingly green, mouth-wateringly juicy Cerignola olives. A plate of antipasti followed, teeming with a selection of cured salumi, burrata, pappa al pomodoro, Friggitelli peppers and a San Marzano tomato and mixed leaf salad. It was the perfect selection with which to enjoy a healthy lashing of wine.
Following on, we enjoyed a lovely classic dish of mushroom and truffle risotto, then a limoncello granita to cleanse the palate ahead of the main affair. For the Metro Pizza, you choose between three pies - a porky Salumi, a spicy Vesuvio and a cheesy Quattro Formaggi. At this juncture we were quite full up, so a light dessert of mixed fruit with hot brandy chocolate sauce was a nice denouement to a theatrical evening.
As we sipped our Illy caffe liqueur we reflected on how Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Sterling really do possess the Midas Touch. Even through the cheese, it‘s easy to see that Bunga Bunga is pure gold.