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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Bodo's Schloss, Kensington

As 'with-it' teenagers, my sister and I were condemned to draw lots to decide our holiday school  reciprocal visit destinations. She was dispatched to rural Austria; I to Sainte Maxime, just across the bay from swinging Saint Tropez. Hanging out with Johnny Hallyday and Bardot at Les Caves du Roy, aged 14? Bring it on! So began my love affair with France. My sibling's tales of her host, frosty Frau Frumpenlumpen (think Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love), mandatory cold showers, not so hot local talent, and dumplings and schlag (cream) for breakfast, put me right off the first nation to sign up to Herr Hitler's world vision. Consequently, I have never set foot in the land of the Edelweiss - as immortalised by Vince Hill through the hi-fidelity speakers of my grandmother's Grundig gramophone, granted pride-of-place in its polished teak flip-top cabinet. Sloaney ponies, however, adore Austria - regularly bunking off to Kitzbuhel where, shickered on schnapps at chalet parties, they hope to do Udo the randy ski-instructor. This then, explains the decor at Bodo's Schloss, the new adventure playground from the chaps behind Mahiki - another magnet for misbehaving toff-totty and their public school boy admirers; the elite heirs to Osborne and Cameron who will one day be in charge of running (down) what's left our once great nation. Cheesier than fondue, this ersatz chalet bar/ club/ diner - all pine cladding, kitsch gingham checks and hunting lodge gubbins - is straight out of Maplin's circa Gladys Pugh. 'Tonight, campers, we'll be getting you all Matterhorny when we crown Miss Lovely Legs and Alpine Twin Peaks of 1960 in the Heidi Hi bar... located to the right of the Olympic-sized swimming pooo-ul.' The place is rammed. The boys preen, giving off that inbred air of entitlement that says they will never know the price of a pint of milk, or what it is to have to struggle to find the down-payment on a modest two-bed starter flat in the sticks ('You expect me to live in FULHAM? No way, man!') Shark-eyed trust fund Tarquins encircle the bait - lissom lasses presumably shipped in by charabanc for 'model night', as our waiter describes it. My date, a bona fide glossy mag cover girl, looks unconvinced. 'There is a big market for hand models, I suppose.' But let's not be sniffy, here. The vibe is electric - free shots every time a cowbell clangs see to that - and everyone is having a ball on a dance-floor at the back of Lonely Goatherd's cabin. I'm in no shape to throw shapes: full of strudel, und schnitzel mit noodles served by Hansel and Gretel in lederhosen and dirndls, I'm gluhweined to my chair. No matter; the party comes to me in the form of the Von Trapp Family Players' deranged cousins who dementedly bash out Village People hits on their glockenspiels and oompah band horns. Cover girl, whose mascara is running, 'hasn't laughed this much in ages.' At £8.50, cocktails are fair, but avoid the Saint Bernard, a bit of a dog if you're not big on sickly-sweet. Instead, order Ice Castle - ‘a never ending supply of our signature (vodka, peach and passion fruit) cocktail topped with up to 10 bottles of Dom Pérignon’ - sold to the coot with the Coutt's card at £5,000!  If I were him, I'd love this joint too. Bodo's is wunderbar if you’re Made In Chelsea out to get schlossed. Hip Dalston Guardianisti, however, might pray for an avalanche to hit Kensington. 

2A Kensington High Street, W8 www.bodosschloss.com