Friday night at Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, Borough, London SE1
by Chartreuse 21/2/2011 12.07
The entrance is in a tunnel-like alley. I was expecting a locked wooden door with a grill at which those seeking admittance would be asked for a password. However, the portal was open and about a dozen steps landed me amongst crowded tables as well-filled as the bar. Standing in the path between the furniture I wasn't sure where to be. I told a member of the staff that I was here with a booked party and just as they invited me to be seated my friends arrived. We handed over bags and coats and wriggled comfortably into our booth to enjoy the cabaret.
The singer was not, I think, classically trained but wonderfully enthusiastic, pouring forth old songs, delighting the audience with popular favourites from the fifties onwards. 'Whehhhn daaaa moon hits your eye...' Yes, really. We sang along as all were invited to participate even being offered a moment each with the mic.
On a gluten-free, dairy-free diet I found the chef accommodating and shared kingprawns for a starter and then enjoyed veal fried in egg with roasties for a main course.
Even before the singer finished his set and the DJ took over, the space in front of the bar was filling up with dancers. Once the recorded music was up and running the only space was in the aisles with the agile staff winding swiftly between the dancers and the tables. The air was alive with happy, talking, singing dinners and an exuberance which I look forward to experiencing again soon.