The window of time to fuel up on food just before a theatre show is a short and awkward one – and that can make dining choices difficult. What restaurant will feed you fast enough so you get to the theatre on time? And more importantly, can you find a good restaurant that isn’t a chain?
The West End is the theatre capital of the world, and London’s restaurants have taken note, with a host of dedicated menus that will not only get you to the stalls on time, but that are bank-balance friendly too. From shellfish platters to Spanish set menus, here are our favourite places to eat before a show…
A Piccadilly institution, Bentley’s has been serving up champagne and oysters for over 100 years. For pre-show dining, the beloved restaurant serves up their decadent Royal Shellfish Platter with two glasses of champagne, all for £100. All your seafood favourites feature, including a half lobster, dressed crab, prawns, oysters, cherry clams, mussels and whelks. If you’re looking to make your evening in the West End that bit more special, this is the perfect way to do it.
The Shellfish platter is available Sunday-Thursday, between 5pm-6:30pm.
With Michein-starred set menus, Benares is a London favourite for pre-theatre dining. Offering diners two courses for £33 and three for £39, choose from exciting, modern Indian dishes like Essex Farm chicken momo with a sweetcorn infusion, citrus marinated and grilled hake with foraged sea broccoli, and kesar mango cheesecake. It’s a great choice for an exceptional dining experience just before dashing to the theatre.
The set menu is available Monday-Saturday, 12pm-2.30pm and 5.30pm-6.30pm.
An exceptional dining experience just before dashing to the theatre.
Where: 12a Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BS
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Gunpowder’s Soho site is in prime position for visiting the theatre, so it’s just as well they have an epic pre-theatre menu to boot. Starters include Bengali Beetroot Croquettes and Tandoori Chicken, and mains include Kerala Beef Pepper Fry and Saag with Tandoori Paneer.
Grab these two-courses for £22, or finish with a Triple Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream, for an extra £3.
Brown’s Hotel is a London classic. Just minutes away from the West End, their newly opened Supper Club serves up the best of British comfort food alongside cocktails and aperitifs. Using only the highest quality ingredients, the menu is unpretentious while the dishes are presented beautifully.
Choose from the likes of soft boiled eggs with caviar soldiers, devils on horseback, omelette Arnold Bennett and Welsh rarebit, while an elegant drinks trolley delivers cocktails in chic glassware – including Gin & It, Gimlet and Classic Champagne cocktail. Classic British fare as it was intended to be enjoyed.
The Supper Club is open from Wednesday – Saturday, 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm.
Aqua Kyoto’s not only a great shout to escape the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. Its also a brilliant choice for pre-theatre dining given its close proximity to many of the West End’s theatres. Dishes include tuna tataki with daikon and spicy ponzu; and koji chicken with carrot yuzu purée & shichimi teriyaki. And for dessert, tuck into a Wasabi & white chocolate parfait sandwich – all for £32pp.
The pre-theatre menu is available Monday-Friday from 5pm-6pm.
With many of London’s theatres right on their doorstep (meaning you can be more leisurely with your time) St. Martin’s Lane London is a natural choice for pre-theatre dining.
You can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine whilst enjoying their pre-theatre menu, which includes delightful dishes like confit chicken terrine with truffle emulsion; a vegan strozapretti with kalamate, cherry tomato and aglio olio; and pear tart with stem ginger ice cream to finish.
Many of London’s theatres are right on their doorstep, so you can be more leisurely with your time.
Where: 45 St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4HX
The Garden at The Lane is so close to Frozen The Musical, you can practically hear Elsa sing Let It Go. A hidden oasis in the heart of Covent Garden, floor to ceiling foliage and twinkling lights create a gorgeous setting to meet and relax pre-show.
The menu consists of light snacks and an all day brunch menu. However the real showstoppers are the sharing platters which are served on boards carved from the theatre’s original stage – meaning you can dine from a piece of West End history right before catching a show.
The real showstoppers are the sharing platters which are served on boards carved from the theatre’s original stage.
Where: Catherine St, London WC2B 5J
Nestled in the heart of bustling Oxford Street, Aqua Nueva is a great starting point to explore the West End theatre scene. With dishes that honour Spain’s culinary heritage and innovations, the pre-theatre menu offers four tapas dishes and one dessert for £32pp. Choose from the likes of black seafood croquettes, suckling pig tacos, Iberian ham and cod tempura. And for dessert, seasonal fruit salad or chocolate churros with candy orange.
The pre-theatre menu is available Monday-Saturday, between 5pm-6pm.
Why eat dinner before a show when you can eat it at the show itself? Especially when that show is at Proud. Book into the likes of Cabaret All-Stars and enjoy performances from an award-winning lineup of performers, and tuck into a delicious three–course dining experience with a welcome prosecco on arrival.
Tickets start from just £34pp and include a show, three-course meal and glass of prosecco. But if you really want the full VIP experience, opt for the Chef’s Table ticket. For £249pp you’ll get a show, a handcrafted 10-dish tasting menu, 6 glasses of carefully selected wines and a welcome glass of champagne on arrival.