Secret Camden: Proud Cabaret


Oh, the evening flapped by, the atmosphere as bawdy as an 18th Century mollhouse (well, nearly)



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Blood red velvet curtains hung seductively, gold chandeliers dangled: Proud Cabaret

Let me tell you a secret: Mrs Kentishtowner knows how to bust a move or two. In fact she once dreamt of being a dancer, and even in her more advanced years, is still capable of navigating her way around a pole, or undertaking an impromptu routine of mesmerizing complexity.

And on those evenings when thoughts of life’s transience take a stranglehold (nostalgia acquiring its own peculiar potency), she can sometimes be found staring blank-eyed at her biggest inspiration: Sally Bowles.

Which means that when the invite arrived to the launch of Proud Camden Cabaret, she wiped away a tear and announced: ‘I am quite definitely a woman not without connections.’

But before you could question such a confusing double negative, she’d hurled a black tie across the landing and snapped that the cab was waiting downstairs.

We entered what used to be the South Gallery (and more recently Proud Kitchen), the revamped joint so glamorous it was as if they’d replaced the regulars at Annie’s Bar with extras from Eyes Wide Shut. Blood red velvet curtains hung seductively, gold chandeliers dangled, and guffawing punters lounged about on art deco-style black banquette seating.

Except, of course, we were seated at the Vulnerable Table right by the stage. But thank goodness Mrs Kentishtowner’s handsome nephew was on hand to focus the attention of wicked compere Vicious Delicious (left), resplendent in a succession of sexy numbers – but somewhat merciless in her pursuit of the young squire.

And so the evening flapped by, the atmosphere as bawdy as an 18th Century mollhouse (well, nearly). The crowd whooped and cheered, especially when a bearded drag king made an advance on Kentish Town’s First Lady – who then froze, her look of horror heightened by an unflattering spotlight.

We should mention the food, too: some cracking pork belly, a tender rare steak with dauphinoise, and a creamy butternut squash risotto, although there was an extended wait between courses (no doubt a launch-night teething problem). But with the wine flowing like that, we were literally anyone’s.

Staggering back over the border into NW5, Mrs Kentishtowner grabbed the famous Queen’s Crescent arch provocatively, showed a bit of leg and started to sing: ‘Maybe this time, I’ll be lucky…Maybe this time I’ll win.’

But then her mobile rang. The dream was over – again.

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Proud Camden Cabaret, at Proud Camden, Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road NW1

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  • fiona

    Hilarious, brilliant review (I’m not sure it can be classed as a review; it’s gone off into its own orbit). Annie’s bar/Eyes Wide Shut…aah dear, I’m still clutching my sides. Superb.

  • Kentishtowner

    Yes, I think we forgot about the review bit (too much fun to be had) but glad you enjoyed it!