Gilgamesh and the Glorious Globe Girls


The grand entrance to Gilgamesh says it all: red carpet, flambeaus, escalators rising from the madness of Camden market bound for culinary heaven. And when we reach the top what meets us defies all expectations, for inside is a vast palatial shrine; a bejewelled Babylon tribute of Eastern opulence and a unique dining experience to titillate all of the senses.

THE ornate surroundings demand your attention first: there’s the intricate artwork, the hand-crafted furniture, the marbled pillars, the beaten bronze panels, the 40-foot high ceiling with a retractable roof… there’s a lot to take in. And that’s even before we behold the seven-foot drag queen compare ‘Pixie’ up on stage. She’s heckling diners seated at the front as she introduces tonight’s class cabaret act: Globe Girls. Never before has drag and dim sum worked so well.

As we’re seated and the leggy lovelies kick off their two-hour spectacle, ‘bitch’ is the word of the evening. The Girls switch show-stopping outfits quicker than you can say ‘gender bender’, lip-synching old favourites a la Priscilla Queen of the Desert (in rainbow bikinis and blonde afro wigs), Chicago (in black PVC corsets and fishnets) and Grease (in leotards and satin Pink Lady jackets).

These table-dancing, cat-fighting, inflatable boob wearing performers certainly make for an interesting (but never intrusive) modern musical dining experience, flirting with the audience, allowing just enough inter-costume change time for audience table chat.

But if you didn’t catch Globe Girls before their season end (last Monday – sorry to be a tease) there’s an abundance of forthcoming events at Gilgamesh to keep you amused, including further live acts, guest DJs and cooking master classes.

Performances aside, the restaurant’s Pan-Asian menu certainly holds its own, with swift service and fresh and unfussy food. There’s a good selection of salads, small dishes and sushi (the delectable house special includes avocado, tobiko, salmon, tuna and white fish) but dim sum is where Head Chef Ian Pengelley excels. Our scallop siu mai (open top dumpling steamed with prawns) is succulent and juicy, while the prawn spring rolls, coated in a white sesame seed batter, are crunchy and flavoursome without seeming fatty.

First published on The London Word, February 2009.
© Abbey Stirling