Bunga Bunga isn’t your traditional Italian joint.
For fairly obvious reasons, restaurants inspired by scandal-tarred politicians don’t often thrive in the modern world. Well, all except one. Joyfully bucking this trend is the fun-loving Bunga Bunga, a madcap Italian restaurant partly inspired by the scandalous and salacious antics of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. If you’re too young to remember the man who ran Italy for most of the Noughties, then here’s the only fun fact you need: he’s been involved in so many scandals that it requires a whole separate Wikipedia entry to document them all.
We’ll get the most problematic element out of the way first: in these more enlightened times, Berlusconi really isn’t a great role model for a restaurant, particularly one which bears the same name as his infamous sex parties. Still, this carnival of Italian excess is operating with its tongue firmly in its cheek, which I guess makes it maybe OK? Anyway, if you can leave your scruples at the door, you’re in for one hell of time here.
Bunga Bunga clearly believe there are three keys to a good party: lots of food, outrageous entertainment, and generally getting as silly as you can. Oh, and they’ve also got a sweet speedboat table moored inside the restaurant, which is undeniably pretty cool. Just as impressive are their metre-long sourdough pizzas, all blessed with punderful nicknames like Julius Cheeser and Italian Stallion – and a frankly frighteningly large cocktail menu.
Entertainment is exactly as mad as you’d imagine. Every Wednesday, Bunga Bunga: The Musical rolls into Covent Garden, filled with much-loved musical numbers mixed up with the requisite Bunga Bunga twist – you can grab tickets here. Thursdays are the day for the risque Burlesquoni (tickets available here), billed as the most bizarre burlesque show in town. Finally, the welcome arrival of Friday sees an Italian Circus come to town, featuring acrobats, gladiators, and karaoke, and you’d be mad to miss out.
We’ll level with you: quiet nights aren’t exactly Bunga Bunga’s speciality. But if you’re looking for a place where the drinks flow freely and a riotous imitation of Italian culture unfolds, you may just have found your next night out.
Location: Bunga Bunga Covent Garden is at 167 Drury Lane, WC2B 5PG. Nearest stations are Holborn and Covent Garden. See it on Google Maps. Bunga Bunga also has a branch in Battersea, at 37 Battersea Bridge Road, SW11 3BA. Nearest stations are Imperial Wharf and Battersea Park (National Rail), although neither is actually especially close. See it on Google Maps.
Opening times: Covent Garden is 6:30pm-2am (Weds to Fri), 11:30am-4:30pm & 6:30pm-2am (Sat), closed Sun-Tue. Battersea is 6pm-1am (Tue to Fri), 11am-5pm & 7pm-2am (Sat), 12-6pm (Sun), and closed on Mondays.
Price: cocktails start from £11, the Bunga Musical will set you back £28, Burlesquoni is £38, and the Italian Circus costs £42.
More information: on their website.
Featured image: @bungabungaldn