A childhood spent flitting from palace to stately home, followed by a few years at Eton and a stint in the army; the Royal boys don’t exactly get out much, and when they do, they go to Mahiki. Why? Because it’s exactly the kind of place someone with very little understanding of what’s actually new, interesting or exciting in this city would go.
Having a Prince inebriated in your club is great PR though, and that folks, must be the key to this club’s success – as I found out at the ‘restaurant launch’ this week. Turns out that ‘restaurant launch’ means something different to what you’d expect in Mahiki-land. It means a couple of trays of dim sum (in its crudest form – resembling one of those Chinese snack platters from Tesco) some shoddy cocktails (who wants tequila sunrise in the middle of autumn?) and a gaggle of inane aspiring-socialites.
Us mere press were herded into the corner on the middle floor, after waiting for the best part of an hour to get a table. Eventually we gave up on the waiting and squeezed onto a table with some equally disgruntled ladies from various women’s glossies.
‘Have we missed the food?’ we mourned as we glimpsed the empty plate which was no doubt once home to some prawn toast. ‘Yes, you’ve missed all the food,’ came the sardonic reply. Food, like cocktail designation had been haphazard and sporadic, from an increasingly flustered but generally well-meaning staff who seemed to be in a flap for no good reason other than their perceived proximity to some non-existant celebrities.
Or there may have been slebs, I couldn’t really see because it was so dark and dingy in there. It reminded me of the kind of clubs I occasionally ended up in during Uni, when, as a gullible, misguided first year, fake tropical theme seemed as appealing as anything else. And that, it seems, is the whole point of this place. Apparently it’s tongue-in-cheek – but I’d hazard a guess that for a lot of the regulars it reminds them of their gap years – drunken, clichéd and the worst kind of exotic.
That said, I can imagine on a night out with a big group of friends, Mahiki might be a good laugh, if you could be bothered to book in advance to secure a table, and manage to avoid much interaction with the other clientele who seem to be entirely made up of size-nothings-in-bum-skimming-dresses-hoping-to-cop-off-with-money, Trustafarians and slick-haired hedge funders.
Sam Ronson DJ’d later in the evening, though the lethal combination of no food, lots of vodka and having a job meant that I headed off before her set. Shame, because Sam seems like a good enough gal (let’s face it – she’s done well, and is certainly punching above with Lilo) but I’d rather read all about it in a free paper on the tube. And that’s why people go to Mahiki.
Image by Night Star Romanus courtesy of Flickr