There’s always been a certain insanity that permeates the Zingara brand. From the ashes of the first restaurant; where whimsical hats and caricature masks found commonplace around a dinner table adorned with chocolate and rare meat, to what has become, and I use this term conservatively, a fucking nut house.
The location of the new tent on the Grand Parade in Cape Town, played host to “The Celebration”: A glorious big-top, littered with mirrors, that provides a world of special disillusion and makes trying to find your way to pee quite a bitch. Upon our entry we were greeted by extroverted Eastern Europeans/Russians… basically hot chicks blabbering largely incoherently and dressed from a land where Lewis Carroll ate LSD with his corn flakes. Our hurried entry, away from the bite of a fresh July night, saw us go toe to toe with a black afro-ed midget who was so smooth and husky that I felt bad being aroused by a 3 foot male dwarf. The curtains lifted, and a double tiered dining hall availed itself in such a way that I am just glad we decided to not chow mushrooms before.
Attention to every minute detail, from costumes to finishing’s, to table settings to waiters dressed as penguins, to a steam punk bar that was beyond the realm of normality, but glossed in a thick veneer of class and esteem. This was your fanciful step away from reality, but with an air of chic that never bordered on the tacky. Ok, fine. I did buy a pair of glasses with a dick for a nose, but that failed to detract from the eloquence of a themed dining experience completely unrivaled on a local, and dare I say international scale.
I feel it difficult to separate the food from the show. The two are inherently intertwined. It would be a sin for me to comment on my delicious butternut gnocchi starter without making reference to a man doing stuff with a pole and a rope that left me so blown away I was struggling to chew. My main was slow cooked beef and bone marrow that I could have engulfed 3 times. This was during a performance by some of the most flexible female gymnasts I have born witness to. Girls, I will marry at least two of you. Im not fussy, you are all borderline mythical, so I will let you ching it out.
My dessert was a three-way fling that underpinned the sensual nature of an event based around a complete departure from the norm. This is not entertainment where a happy show is accompanied by a meal. This is an experience that leaves planet earth for a period of your life. Where you gorge yourself upon raspberry cheesecake, malva pudding and ice-cream while seeing a group of Asian woman do things with hoops, that gives us hope that there might actually be a parallel universe from where we are shipping mutants in to perform tasks regular humans just aren’t supposed to achieve
But there are two very important highlights that deserve lavish praise and reverence. One of which is not known for being honored in a dining review. The way the entire show was lit, from the dim hallways steeped in mystery, to the main stage itself. The lighting is so often a secondary accompaniment to the act, but such precision and execution was not just a garnish to the artists on stage, it was a full-blown hallucinogenic partner. To whoever mastered the luminance with such artistic wizardry I tip my hat to you sir. And then secondly Cathy Specific. Gurllll your humor, your composure and your obliteration of any bald man within the first three rows would be cause to attend the event on its own. You held it together and were a host that never outshone the performances, but looked way hotter in a 7-foot evening gown than anyone there.
There are too many acts to mention individually. The magic that existed inside that tent that night was an experience that will struggle to be toppled. And I’ve tried crack (not really mom). Many will complain that it is over priced, but I would argue the opposite. If you have the audacity to fork out a grand for One Direction tickets, yet fail to see value in performers with artistry ten fold, plus eat your way through decadence unrivalled, then I’m afraid your financial priorities are vastly skewered. To the characters that served us, and to the ones we watched from afar: Thank you! It was an experience I will treasure. Also if you’re looking for your midget, he hasn’t taken ill, he’s just locked in my bedroom feeding me butternut gnocchi and reading me Tolkein.
*Follow @Stroobz as he does a culinary tour of Kraaifontein where they do dassie three ways.