This issue’s dining ‘expose’ offers you something a little different, dining with something extra! We spent an evening at Cantare, a supper club situated in that mini metropolis of entertainment, Monte Casino.

For those who enjoy a flutter, a night out at a restaurant, or maybe a show, then chances are good that Monte Casino will be familiar beyond its reputation. Cantare offers its patrons the opportunity to relax over a great meal and enjoy some live entertainment in a style that is intimate; so its location at Monte Casino is perfect as it serves to meet the needs of those who are seeking a night out with a difference.

Those black and white movies of the Forties and Fifties depicting supper clubs that played host to great swing bands, where revellers enjoyed a cocktail or a glass of champagne, a meal and then danced with such style, have influenced supper club dining ever since. Cantare has adapted their version, incorporating some of this musical and fashion heritage and adding a sassy, sexy twist that reflects that wonderful tradition we know as burlesque. This is certainly apparent by the sexy outfits of the bar staff where the guys may be in shirtless waistcoats and the girls in corsets and stockings, a theme that reveals itself further when the Varga girls perform their show.

This issue’s dining ‘expose’ offers you something a little different, dining with something extra! We spent an evening at Cantare, a supper club situated in that

The layout of the venue provides us with a variety of spaces to relax. There is a bar immediately to the left upon entering, for those wishing to relax and enjoy a few drinks without eating (though we have no doubt it gets very festive there). There is a small bar servicing the restaurant too. Seating comes in different styles; the traditional table and chair combo as well as long, comfortable looking couches, some partitioned off by glass, creating separate areas within the restaurant that are nevertheless very much part of and party to it. Then there is a balcony allowing a great view of the stage, no doubt, as well as a great perch from which to do some people watching! Central to the whole experience for Cantare’s patrons is the stage, veiled from view behind stage curtains, and toward which much of the evening is focused.

Personally, we are fans of jazz and swing music so hearing the silky smooth voice of Michael Buble filling the restaurant when we arrived immediately put us into relaxation mode. Seated, as we were, up front and centre to the stage provided a front row seat for the show, which was great but would prove to be sub-optimal later in the evening when the ‘disco’ music kicked in at an uncomfortable volume!

Having set the stage (so to speak) let us say that Cantare’s kitchen delivers first class food. Its owners are Greek and whilst its menu offers diners a broad variety, the Greek influence and expertise reveals itself, not surprisingly with their lamb, which we will tell you about in a moment.

Our starters were Il Carpaccio. Cantare serves this using thinly sliced beef, sprinkled with black pepper, pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, Tuscan style! Everything about this dish was sumptuous, succulent, delicate and deliciously flavoured. Chosen in the hope that it would be both light and tasty, it scored high on both and a perfect entrée to the main course. Our other choice was Haloumi, which they serve with Cypriot cheese grilled “the traditional way.” This was served Jalapeño style (optional), which we can recommend. Upon arrival at the table the Haloumi was warm, if not quite hot, and really melted in the mouth. We’ve never experienced it like that previously and what a delight! Although our appetite was such that we would normally gobble our starter, we really took our time and savoured each mouthful; almost hoping at this stage that the stage curtains would pull back to reveal Michael Buble, perched on a stool, live!

Cantare’s menu offers a good variety, the choices are wide, and picking the Lamb A La Klaftiko proved to be an inspired choice. Prepared in the Greek traditional way, it’s served on Risotto rice with veggies of the day. This dish had a ‘Wow’ factor for two reasons. Firstly, the size of the piece of lamb is generous and will attend to the bigger appetite. Secondly, the lamb really fell off the bone and melted in the mouth. The risotto rice might easily be enjoyed by itself as a vegetarian dish and the veggies of the day round this off as a delicious, balanced meal.

Our other main course was their Veal Alla Mario. This is veal scallops topped with dumplings and creamed spinach, coated with a paprika béchamel sauce, also served with veggies of the day. The veal was succulent; the dumplings are bite-size, the paprika béchamel sauce subtle rather than striking; overall, a delicious plate of food in keeping with the rest of our meal.

The show, delivered by the Varga Girls, was performed in two sets of 15-minutes. Three sexy girls, ably supported by two fellas, deliver a fun mix of songs from old and new, dressed always with a touch of risqué and performed with an appropriate twinkle in their eyes. We found this light-hearted, entertaining and an important feature of the whole experience.

At around dessert time and after the second set was over, the DJ cranked up the disco and pretty soon the dance floor was full, though the dancing won’t win any competitions. However, Cantare offers us a night out with fine dining, a song and dance show, and finally an opportunity to let our hair down on the dance floor. So, the next time you’re in this mood and wondering where on earth to go, head off to Cantare and have yourself a fun night out!