Berlusconi is gone, the Euro is in peril and David Cameron has ensured that we’re increasingly distant from our mainland brethren. But whatever the feeling in Westminster, down in Battersea Europe is well and truly ruling supreme. At least it is in the form of London’s Eurotrashiest restaurant and bar.
Bunga Bunga has upped its already fairly high ante for Christmas, with a special festive menu and even more wacky twists and turns along the way. Try a sharing portion of their spiced pear bellini to get you in the mood. It arrives without warning in a hollowed out plastic Christmas tree decorated with baubles bestowed with the faces of iconic Italians. Tacky? No. Not compared to the poster plastered walls, the upstairs Eurovision karaoke room complete with dressing-up box, or our straight-from-a-stereotype Mucho Italiano waiter, anyway...
Bunga Bunga’s array of well-crafted antipasti options prove there’s gumption behind the gimmick. Deliciously salty polenta chips are accentuated with a rosemary tang; a creamy burrata is unctuous and gooey; and succulent discs of chewy wild boar salami are like wine gums for carnivores.
The Buon Natale! (exclamation mark included) is the must-have pizza for the festive season, topped with turkey, sausage stuffing and cranberry. It delivers all that it promises, and is certainly no monstrosity, though we did prefer the more traditional Julius Cheeser option, which is topped with gorgonzola, taleggio, mozzarella and goat’s cheese, making it almost as cheesy as its name. It’s the sourdough bases which give Bunga Bunga’s now famous pizzas their oomph, and starting at just 6,500 Lira a pop, they’re good value for a quick bite anytime.
Oh, we should point out that the menu prices everything in the now non-existent Lira. Don’t ask us why, but just know that 1000 lira equals one pound. Also don’t do what we did and confuse the 6000L addition to a cocktail description to mean litres. There’s no way to enjoy that responsibly.
Our British mince pies and Christmas pudding are thrown into the Med, with an oh so Italian panettone stuffed with zabaglione headlining the dessert options. Along with a shot of Limoncello, of course.
We leave full, well spirited and knowing just a few more Italian phrases than we did before. Perhaps Clegg should consider hiring out one of the private rooms upstairs as a way to convince the coalition’s Eurosceptics. They’d be singing Abba and diving into the dressing up box in no time...
Bunga Bunga is set by river at 37 Battersea Bridge Road, SW11 3BA. Visit www.bungabunga-london.com.