If you are ever feeling depressed and down, my prescription would be a visit to an inception group venue: Cahoots, Mr Fogg’s Tavern, Barts. If laughter is the best medicine, you are assured plenty at their venues. We went along to BungaTINI in Covent Garden, the little sister to one of their biggest hits, Bunga Bunga. It’s quirky bar and pizzeria, where you can enjoy lunch, aperitivo or dinner. Their decor is less outlandish than their other creations, but this is perhaps a ruse to distract from the fact at the back of the bar is their meat locker and is in fact the secret entrance to the latest branch of Bunga Bunga downstairs.
The relaxed osteria feel makes BungaTINI extremely accessible to the general public. Although I would imagine a reservation is preferable given how busy the venue was when we went along to try their bottomless weekend brunch.
The key to a much-loved bottomless brunch is accessibility to quality alcohol. You know you are at the right venue, when they offer you a selection of prosecco, bellinis or bloody marys and without having to ask, leave a whole bottle of prosecco on your table.
The problem with inception group venues is I’ve never thought of them as particularly foodie-friendly venues. It’s always been about the drinks, the music and the decor. However, the food at BungaTINI might be simple but wonderfully sourced and made. The mild and creamy burrata is matched well with the stronger-tasting green tomato chutney and comes with a decent supply of warm bread.
They are rightfully proud of their wood-fired oven here with a significant portion of the brunch menu coming from their pièce de résistance (or cavallo di battaglia since this is an Italian restaurant). Wood-fried egg taste delicate and not overcooked and comes with strong flavours from the Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano, which gives the dish a fruity, nutty texture.
Their love of eggs here is almost as much as their love of their wood-fired oven. Our Vegetariana Breakfast pizza main course also had eggs along with the other vegetarian option, baked eggs, tomato and truffle. Although here there is a mismatch in terms of portion size, whereas the chewy dough of the pizza is much more filling than the smaller baked eggs dish with costly doses of truffle. I would opt for the pizza option with its thin base, runny egg which you can spread across the pizza base and healthy-tasting spinach.
For desserts, we tried the deceptively simple, Torta della nonna, which had a rustic homemade look filled with rich, creamy custard and scoops of wild berries gelato.
Tables filled up rapidly during our short visit, so make sure you call ahead to make a booking to not miss out on this Italian feast.