So last night was a girls night out. I persuaded three non belly dancing friends to go to Mangal in Reading as the male belly dancer Ozgen was appearing there.
What an excellent night out! There were a few of the usual suspects in the clientele (as one would expect) but for the most part the general public, and ladies in particular, were out in force for the show.
So first up – the food was good, set menu that offered a Meze plate for starter and this was supplemented by some delicious calamari that was an unexpected and very welcome addition. In fact the Meze was so good that by the time the main arrived I had quite forgotten we would get more food. The mains were really tasty and the lemon and lime rice was just wonderful with the chili infused kebab I ordered. Dessert was pretty generic but a nice way to end the meal.
And onto the dancing – Ozgen did two great sets and came out in a cover-up kaftan that then led to whoops of delight from all around when he shed it to reveal his trademark torso revealing costume. We had a great table, right next to the largest open area (which was not that big to be honest) and I managed to have a couple of (almost!) private moments when he danced in front of me.
He did a great job of working the 98% female crowd – he managed to nicely steer away from over-enthusiastic attention from one diner who appeared to stroke his torso at one stage (he wasn’t that close and she had to get up out of her seat to do it) and who then went on to take a coined scarf he had tucked into his costume. If that were a man doing that to a female dancer……..tut tut.
In his second set he used a veil and then a stick but the stick didn’t really get any proper use. There were some lovely moments when he pulled various men and women up to dance and overall did a fantastic job of working a room where there were a couple of areas that were well away from the main thoroughfare.
And my non-dancing friends enjoyed it too – hooray! I thoroughly recommend Mangal as somewhere to eat if you like Mediterranean food, and if Ozgen is there again then go and watch, a great showman.