Thursday, June 06, 2013

Tuesday Aperitivo - Bunga Bunga

It’s all about the ‘Bunga Bunga’ – an Aperitivo experience like no other!

Tuesday’s are normally quite boring… There’s nothing on TV and it’s still 3 days ‘til the weekend.  Well not anymore…  

Bunga Bunga - Italian pizzeria, karaoke and club on Battersea Bridge Road has been one of my fave haunts in London for the past 2 years.  So I was more than happy to take my friends along to sample their lively ‘Aperitivo’ Tuesday menu.  And lively is the word!

Before we get to the food, let me just give you the low down.  Named after Silvio Berlusconi’s ‘special’ (ahem) parties, Bunga Bunga is most definitely NOT the place you’d go for a quiet, romantic date, or with your best friend to talk about a serious break up… Nope, this is a place to eat, party, dance and ogle at the rather cute waiters!  With mopeds, helmets and push bikes hanging from the ceiling and cheeky caricatures dotted around the walls, the staff whirl wind around the restaurant wearing naked aprons.  There’s a round of karaoke every Thursday-Sunday after 10pm, where it’s not uncommon to be boo-ed off if you sound like a dying cat.  And at midnight every night, Christmas is standard.  As in, streamers, fireworks, Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ and glittery confetti you’ll find in your bag and stuck to the bottom of your heels 6 weeks later.  Noooo, this is not your average restaurant.

Which is why I was expecting big and crazy things from their Aperitivo nights…. And I’m pleased to say, they didn’t disappoint!

We arrived just after 8 after a busy, hectic day, so the welcome cocktail – an Aperol Spritz (Aperol, Soda Water and Prosecco) made lovingly by cocktail extraordinaire Renato, was extremely welcome.  Schoschanna decided on the ‘Strawberry Kiss’ which packed a punch with Amaretto, and we’re not sure how she wangled it, but Sylwi actually got to try out a brand new concoction which we named the ‘Tequila Sylwi’ – feel free to ask for it even though it’s not yet on the menu; a smooth blend of tequila, orange and cinnamon along with some secret ingredients…  (She’s now referring to herself as the cocktail ‘muse’ – bless her.)

After sinking our drinks, we made our way to the buffet.  Italian stylee, the idea is to keep going back and filling up your plate to stretch your snacking throughout the evening.  On offer, was a selection of hams, chorizos and salami, bowls of pesto pasta, huge chunks of delicious tangy parmesan, juicy green oversized olives, oversized meat filled doorstep sized sandwiches and a selection of bruschetta style bites - mackerel pate, tomato, and mozzarella and ham.

While we stuffed our small plates with antipasti, the entertainment started up and Amaraterra took to the stage.  If you’ve never seen or heard them before, they’re the first pizzica ensemble in London, bringing with them, traditional folk music and dance from Salento – the ‘heel’ of Italy.  Loud, animated and energetic, it was hard not to get caught up in the rowdy Italian spirit of it all. 
Diego the restaurant manager selected a beautiful bottle of wine on our behalf – A Sereole Soave and after polishing this off, we bizarrely found that we were able to sing along to the songs with great ease (having never heard them before, nor deterred by the fact they were being sung in an entirely different language!)  We were also pleased to discover the vibe was quite catching and by 10pm, the band had a floor full of dancers trying out some traditional pizzica moves, while mixed groups of couples, friends and co-workers downed shots at the bar and donned the famous Bunga Bunga caps.  (I later found my friend Leonie had managed to wangle one of these caps too… possibly from the guy at the bar downing shots….)

And so Aperitivo Tuesday… A quiet dining experience it is not, but if you’re looking for a unique, fun filled experience and some decent antipasti grub washed down with some splendid sparkling cocktails, then Bunga bunga is bound to be your bag.

The Aperitivo Buffet is available every Tuesday 7.30pm-9.30pm, £7 after buying your first cocktail.


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