Best restaurants in London's theatres
The answer to curtain call indigestion? Applaud these rarely reviewed stars: the best theatre cafes / restaurants to minimise mid-production tummy rumble.
Stage-set worthy views across the river to St Paul's, a glamorous yet welcoming interior, and menus by chef Allan Pickett that scrupulously use the best, locally sourced British ingredients – The Swan at The Globe has it all. As Shakespeare quipped 'sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.'
The pre-theatre menu is an edit of the a la carte menu rather than the rather tawdry offering of cheaper cuts often offered by cynical restaurateurs turning tables rapidly before curtain call. Pickett has long been renowned for this terrine prowess and his current pork and pistachio terrine with gooseberry is thrillingly good. After a chilly walk across the wobbly bridge, a hearty, deeply flavoursome braised rib of beef with spinach and heritage carrots is immensely welcoming. Vegetarians are well catered for too, with potato dumplings, crispy parsnips, chestnuts and red amaranth. Finish with rice pudding with plum compote and gingerbread crunch.
Service at the Swan is exceptionally sweet, swift and cheerful. Frankly, it is far too appealing a restaurant to only visit when going to a playl.
3 course pre-theatre menu: £27.50 per personRead more ...
A brilliant collaboration with Fergus Henderson (of St John fame) makes a visit to The Bridge Theatre hugely appealing, regardless of what's being performed on stage.
It's open for coffee, lunch, tea and early simple supper/snacks. Think St John's revelatory doughnuts freshly made in Bermondsey for elevenses or eccles cake with Lancashire cheese, lamb neck and barley broth. Fergus Henderson has devised some choice sandwich combinations too, made on their superb bread: roast pumpkin with shallots and goat's cheese is just one example. Wines are also selected by the restaurant, including St John's own label.
Best of all is a pre-ordered interval treat of warm madeleines with a glass of Pineau des Charentes.
Light meal and drink: £15Read more ...
For lovers of history, Wilton Music Hall is a treat. Since 1859, the building has been home to stars of music hall and variety. Restored sensitively, it maintains much of its original architecture and detail, especially with the elaborately carved bar.
Superb pizzas are the core of the menu devised by Winner of BBC Masterchef Natalie, who runs The Gatherers both within Wilton Music Hall and as an outside catering business. The unusual, ultra savoury anchovy tapenade and gremolata, and the mushroom combination are among the best pizzas to be experienced in London. The chocolate brownie is great as well.
Pizza and a glass of wine: £20Read more ...
The story behind this theatre restaurant is almost worthy of its own show. Andrew Lloyd-Weber went to Naughty Piglet's modest yet superb modern British bistro in Brixton and was so impressed by the food that he commissioned a restaurant in his theatre, The Other Palace, in Victoria.
It may not quite have the atmosphere of the cosy original, but the dark wood and copper is sleek and very now. And crucially the menu at The Other Naughty is just as alluring; full of interesting flavours and textures. Expect dishes such as fresh crab matched with finely shredded white cabbage rifled with chopped peanuts and yuzu; or slow-cooked glazed pork belly with white miso on the side; as well as brilliant brill partnered with an exceptionally silky buttery sauce. The creme caramel has just the right wobble and lusciousness. Steer carefully on the natural wines, and be sure to taste before committing...
Two dine with wine: £120Read more ...
Battersea Arts Centre is a hive of new writing, comedy and cabaret, housed in a stately Victorian building on Lavender Hill. By day, bright airy windows make the Scratch Bar a great little hub for catching up with friends (or with emails). Later, the wood-burning fires, flickering candles and plentiful craft ales make for a great place to make a night of it.
The menu is simple and appealing, with a Middle Eastern slant in the evenings: expect sumac flatbread with hummus, fattoush, charred broccoli and labneh. At lunch there is homemade soup, frittata or quiche.
Supper for two including wine: £40Read more ...
With a reliable and ever-changing programme talks, fringe theatre shows and events, The Tabernacle in Notting Hill is great for those who fancy something a little different. The Tabernacle Bar & Kitchen draws on the area's vibrant heritage with a menu full of West Indian specialties.
Along with the fiery jerk chicken, there's a good choice of salt fish fritters, plantain chips, salt and pepper squid, followed by Escovitch fish and Creole lamb.
At weekends, The Tabernacle also offer a brunch menu with Caribbean inflections.
Two course meal with drinks for two: £60Read more ...
The vaulted cafe/dining room of The Royal Court reflects the culinary zeitgeist with a somewhat bizarre mix of 70s throwbacks (like baked camembert) and vegan salads, alongside buttermilk chicken burgers... Still, the food is well-prepared, reasonably priced and saves that last minute race for curtain up.
And during the day, this underground cafe space is a magnet for (often rather famous) actors, who step away from the bustle of Sloane Square to nurse a cappuccino and read a script.
Supper for two including drinks: £35Read more ...
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