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Thursday, 8 September 2011

Bunga Bunga, Battersea

If you’re not mates with Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling, owners of Bart’s bar and Maggie’s club, you’re just not Made in Chelsea. I join the show’s cast, along with Beatrice and Eugenie (sans Fergie/ sans hats, sadly) and Pippa Posterior's pin-up bro' James Middleton, slumming it on the Tijuana side of Battersea Bridge at the chaps’ new baby, Bunga Bunga. Described, not unreasonably, as ‘an Englishman’s Italian bar, pizzeria and karaoke’, its lurid O Sole Mio interior, festooned in holiday souvenir kitsch, is hammier than Parma. While tonight’s launch lacks the putanesca spread reportedly laid on thick at bona fide Berlusconi bashes, we’re treated to a right royal Carry On Up The Coliseum. A plumed centurion spins cheesy pop while ‘gondoliers’ frantically struggle to keep up with the cut-glass accents' insatiable thirst for Campari, Martini, Aperol and prosecco-laced Roman rinses . Cocktails to share (from £28) come in Fiat 500 and Leaning Tower of Pisa tiki mugs or are served, Cosa Nostra capo stylee, in a horse’s head - not your genuine Shergar, obviously. Masterstroke! Weighty X-Factor warbler Wagner - thankfully not in a toga - is to be our cabaret. His version of Livin' La Vida Loca sends the room into 'yah' orgiastic rapture. Obviously totally unfairly accused in the infamous Cash for Questions scandal of being being a bit too Bung-ho, Bunga guest Neil Hamilton and his formidable 'friend of Charlie's' missus add to the surreal social Caesar salad. ‘We’re off to Pizza Express,’ brays Signora Battleaxe posing like a one-trick show pony for a loitering pap out front. Judging by the thin crust minis I manage to grab, wrong move, Christine! Islington lefties would happily pay Rentokil to exterminate the punters herein, but Bunga B is not aimed at Guardianistas, its capodimonte set squarely at a SW3, 10 & 7 clientele. Gauging by the bar's early doors popularity and its hooray fan base - Harry Windsor has been in da house, should yo be tilting at a title - it looks like the guys’ gamble will (Pom)peii off (groan!)

37 Battersea Bridge Rd SW11