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Friday, 31 October 2014

Spiaggia, Fulham

Fulham's grimy, traffic-clogged, North End Road is a grim parade of pound shops, bookies, cash convertors and Kathy Burquas prodding market stall mangos , hoping to buy them for buttons, while the stallholders shoot them the BNP death stare. Now It's feared more locals will soon be reduced to haggling over the price of bruised fruit when better Dead Than Ed's bananas tax hits their 'mansions' - aka poky terraced houses. Bang goes the family holiday in Tuscany! Fulham's soon-to-be-more-squeezed-middle will have to make do with a little corner of Italy in the shape of a cutesy, white-washed, wood panelled shack opposite Waitrose (where they used to shop before their 4 x 4s satnavs were set to Lidl SW11). Tricked out in candy stripes and pastel gelati tones, Spiaggia is jolly as lolly-lickin' starlet La Lollobrigida (pictured) at a swingin' San Remo beach party not long after Mussolini was swinging in Milano - on a meat hook dangled from the roof of a petrol station. With impeccable timing, I Raggazzi della Spiaggia  (as the Beach Boys would have been called if they'd come from Cattolica not California) can look forward to sunshiny staff serving spritzes, negroni, rossini, bellini, vodka-limone sorbet and all manner of I-Ti tipples currently fashionable a Londra. Order an £8 cocktail (or vino and spumante from £19) and, at the appropriate hour, you'll be served aperitivi - free, not cheekily, sneakily slapped on your bill as at some greedy West End gaffs. Snackage includes tutti the usual suspects - crostini, piadini, arancini, Henry Mancini  - and trad grub like nonna knocked out in her Parma prime. Downstairs, in a dark kitsch playroom, there's big screen La Liga action featuring the peninsula's poutiest prima donnas, and a baby foot table for any budding Balotelli on your squad. Worryingly for mamma, there's also an inscrutable curtained cabana, wherein a large mattress: Randy di Rimini's office, the sort of horizontal accommodation nice Catholic girls should steer well clear of. I hope Spiaggia does well and doesn't end up as empty as Worthing beach on a wet bank holiday weekend: this tricky site has washed away a slew of bar/ diners in quick succession. Give it a go, Fulham! Fun, camp, kitsch, bonkers: it's gotta be a cheaper date than that other eccentric Italian import, Nancy dell'Olio.
461 - 465 North End Road SW6 1NZ 7610 2278 http://www.spiaggialondon.com