Bodo’s Schloss, Kensington

Bodos Schloss Kensington
Mein Name ist Bodo. Ich wohne in London.

The Vibe

Bodo’s Schloss is an Austrian alpine lodge in West London, dressed up to the theme with pine furnishings, Germanic waiters and waitresses in traditional garb (albeit tighter and more revealing), a DJ booth in a ski lift, Bavarian beer mugs and occasionally a bit of fake snow. It should be shameless, and a few of the punters really are, yet somehow it’s impossible not to find the place infectiously amusing. Thanks to a sprawling layout, there is enough space and variety to take in as much or as little of the intensity of the Schloss as you want. Certainly, there’s a smattering of bright young things who are committed solely to a back and forth evening between the dance floor and the bar, grabbing on to the nearest lederhosened waiter as they stumble-dance their way through. And yes, there are the obligatory high roller tables for the champagne sprayers in the house. However, for a date, it is a guaranteed laugh for a West London-inducted twentysomething. Book a cosy pine round table for a late and playful dinner, spend a good amount of time jollying up with far too much booze and then decide whether or not to hit the club. For a crew date it’s perfect: 5 girls, 5 guys, a long night.

The Order

It just opened so we can’t critique it further than the giant beers and champers cocktails served in Marie Antoinette glasses. There’s no doubt about the fact that this is a boozy affair but the restaurant looks like it will be taking itself a bit more seriously than the venue would suggest. Food will be curated by Frank Schinagl, former chef at Asia de Cuba and man behind Maltby Market’s Austrian food joint Speckmobile, who is know for his moreish soft flour dumplings, goulash and strudel. Also to be noted is that Bodo’s owners, Antoin Commane and Diego Bivero-Volpe, brought London Pollen Street Social, widely regarded as one of the best dining experiences in London.

The Game

It may be in Kensington but do not expect the same sophisticated dining experience you would get from Roof Gardens’ Babylon restaurant across the street. It is essentially a restaurant/bar/club so expect a setting dark and silly enough to get you hell bent on having a big night. Take a date with a sense of humour and tolerance of slightly too many posh drunks in one room. My advice is to really work with the theme. Go on a very cold night, hang up your furs, snuggle into one of the corner tables, neck the drinks, pick at the food, snog wildly before the meal is up and haul ass to the dancefloor when you hear a David Guetta or a Pittbull remix. Attempt a dance and work the older person’s birthday party twirl around the floor (less embarrassing than trying to dance properly).  Then stop after two tracks and leave. Tonight your act is frivolous university student with a professional’s bank balance.

Note: The rest of the week it intended to be young person friendly so only go Thursday to Saturday for date night. I expect an American family or two would have a wail of a time showering little Franklin with as much pop and bratwurst as he could handle.

The Faults

It’s in your face gimmicky, it’s not cheap and it’s shamelessly après-ski. But it is what it is, love it or hate it.

Sex Factor

2. It’s sexy only the way a night out on holiday can be, partying away from home in a parallel universe where you happen to be a lot bolder, drunker and fancy free. Roll with this but remember that, as much as you heavy pet inside, stepping out onto the more formal streets of Kensington will sober you up rather quickly and scupper hastily hatched plans to go back to theirs. It’s a bubble so safer to stay in it as long as possible.

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