A taste of thirsty dining

Picture: iStock

The surreal world of fine Italian dining in the Covid-19 era.

What better way of celebrating a wedding anniversary than at a Level 3 reopening of an Italian restaurant?

Just eating out after months locked up is enough cause for a wingding – albeit turning out somewhat macabre.

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On entering, we espy a scene from a Spielberg horror movie. Masked characters at naked tables (no tablecloths – can’t be sanitised), their slitting eyes following our every move while being led by Super Lady.

We are handed menus designed like comic books in keeping with the surroundings. But no champagne to toast our special occasion. Cyril’s stance still based on Ms NDZ’s absurdity.

Once settled and without something to drink or with which to fiddle (we had left our cellphones in the car), we steal a peek at our fellow spooks. My Heidi normally studies the fashions of lady diners and I check to see whether or not the men are able to slurp their pastas Italian style.

We match masks with bodies. Many masks depict animals. Like Bulldog, but no match with the body of an emaciated Greyhound in desperate need of plates overflowing with cannelloni.

Heidi points at pretty Kitty Cat with the body of a Sumo wrestler. She’ll tear into two helpings of the special rib-eye steak.

Then there’s Sean Connery with a beer boep that would in no way attract the bikini girls. And Batman, with horned mask, but without the cape and wearing shorts and slops.

One clever mask. A zip for a mouth. When eating, you needn’t take it off.

Our game is interrupted when owner Massimo pitches. Instead of bemoaning the sorry lot of restauranteurs, he only prattles on about the ban on kissing, hugging and pinching, “vital features in
Italian men”.

“How can we be passionate without snogging and squeezing? Now, we’ve been reduced to the average man needing a wheelbarrow full of kindling to start a fire. No more the loverboy image. Che
disastro!”

At least there’s still enough Italian in him, says Heidi.

When leaving, we wonder what awaits our next anniversary. A sanitised parliament, Spielberg spooks at rest – and Italian men pinching bums?

And water turned into wine?

Cliff Buchler.

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