John Gibson: Shutting up the shop, it’s for sure

Mario Cugini, owner of Bar Roma. Picture: Crauford Tait
Mario Cugini, owner of Bar Roma. Picture: Crauford Tait
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The last hurrah? So I’ve bid the Bar Roma, ubiquitous West End restaurant in Queensferry Street, my final arrivederci. Owner Mario Cugini, pictured below, and wife Bibi are still insisting they’ll shut the shop this weekend.

“It’s still on the market, yes,” Mario told me as we shared tears for souvenirs but he admitted to “mixed emotions.” After 32 years running the ristorante they’ve had enough.

“The days seem to grow longer and, as you know, age catches up. We’ve had a very busy August and while it’ll be a wrench leaving so many loyal customers, Bibi and I are cracking on and we’re looking forward to retirement.”

What he really means is looking forward to more golf at East Lothian’s show course Archerfield, where Mario (14 handicap) and Bibi (19) are enthusiastic members. Yes, good at playing their cards close to their chests. No more gamberoni peperoncino for me. Drowning in a sea of Amarone, there are worse ways to go.

Shout it out

Duck. Take cover. Here she comes again. Yet again.. The indestructible. The indefatigable. Aye, she’s prattling on. About whom? Her pet subject. Herself. And you well know who this column talking about. Why, the luscious Lulu, of course!

Twice married, twice divorced, the wee scunner’s shouting: “Maybe I’m just not the marrying kind. Now I’m not interested.” The garrulous granny adds: “I always think I do a--e over head. I’ve made so many mistakes but I’m still here.” There can’t be a soul on the planet who, in her own lingo, disnae ken.