Greta at Trangallan is an intense and erotic feast for the senses.

Greta at Trangallan is an intense and erotic feast for the senses.

Featuring three highly skilled actors, Greta alternates with burlesque showcases from Cirque du Cabaret on the Saturday night slot at Stoke Newington’s Trangallán. Literally miles away from the glitz of Piccadilly’s Café de Paris and the immensity of Ladbroke Grove’s Supperclub, the restaurant holds its entertainment in a candlelit subterranean dining area, quite appropriate to this intimate tale of love found and lost.

Borja Sagasti and Alina D. Babaletsos passively greet those coming down the stairs and a more different duo would be hard to imagine. The dark-haired Sagasti reclines on the stage attired in a long black dress and minimal makeup, locking his eyes onto the diners’ as they find their places and tuck into shavings of matured ham, rustic breads and dipping oil. Meanwhile, a corsetted Babaletsos in ballet pumps and French knickers is seemingly oblivious to all as she sits combing her long honey blonde hair.

Both actors combine to effectively portray the competing sides of the eponymous character’s desires, the target of which soon arrives in the form of Dimitris Politis as Marco, the lothario sailor whose well-honed form would have had Tom of Finland eagerly sharpening his pencil. With musical backing from La Troupe de Trangallan and the use of dance, film and songs, the trio explore the physical and mental aspects of an intense love affair.

The performers make commendable use of the space. Whether cavorting inches away from the dining tables or enacting a languid ménage à trois on Jake Saquid’s elegant and minimal set, there is scarcely a dull moment. The low lighting, flickering flames, and intimate round wooden tables complement the performance perfectly. This particular cabaret is just about one of the most erotic pieces I have ever watched, rendered all the more teasing as every single performer remains fully clothed throughout.

The food is equally imaginative. The highlight is undoubtedly the Carrilleras Stew, a simple but hearty, satisfying dish of tasty tender pork cheeks swimming in a broth with assorted earthy beans. Cod brandada, a fish-based emulsion, is squirted into an empty wine glass alongside a full-flavoured gazpacho served in a small bottle. The only semblance to cod conveyed is via the tastebuds – the texture and presentation is that of a light, fluffy foam that clings to the inside of the glass and slowly melts, but it is deliciously buttery-creamy nonetheless. The soup is a rich tomato-based treat, refreshingly chilled and so smooth it almost uncontrollably cascades out of the bottle. The meal’s finale is a sweet tapas selection, the star of which is the Catalan speciality of a soft ganache adorned with flecks of crushed sea salt and served in a shallow pool of olive oil. It sounds absurd but tastes delicious, and I could have very easily inhaled quite a few more.

A passing conversation with some diners in the venue’s main restaurant proves informative. Unsurprisingly, it seems Trangallán has a loyal clientèle who, by their own admission, can’t get enough of the food, friendly service, cosy atmosphere and were especially curious as to what was taking place under the floorboards. Let’s hope for their sake that they take a trip down those stairs on their next visit.

Greta. Performed by Borja Sagasti, Alina D. Babaletsos and Dimitris Politis. Trangallán, London N16 9PX. 21 September, 5, 19 October, 2, 16, 30 November,14 December, 20:00; £10-30.


 Photos courtesy of the producers