With over 40 theatres in London’s West End alone, it’s not hard to see why London is one of the cultural capitals of the world. And where there is a theatre you can guarantee there is going to be a restaurant nearby serving up a pre- or post-theatre menu; they’ll have you in and out in time for the performance and they’re a wonderful way to eat at some of London’s best restaurants at a much more bank balance friendly price – take note if you’re on a date! So forget going to a chain or grabbing a rushed sandwich check out 12 of our favourites:
Simpson's in the Strand
What: A Historic Meal
Why: Simpson’s in the Strand is a London classic, just steps away from the glittering lights of West End. Their pre-theatre menu is a contemporary take on British classics, turning your night into one that will not be forgotten- for food AND entertainment. Start with choices like rabbit terrine or peach burrata, then fill up on main courses like pan-fried plaice or pressed lamb belly. Leave some room for St Clement posset or maybe their signature trifle with Yorkshire rhubarb, vanilla custard, Ridgeview sparkling, Chantilly and strawberries.
5-7pm and 9pm-closing Monday – Friday
£30 for 2 courses / £34 for 3 courses
Nearest theatre: Vaudeville Theatre
Where: 100 Strand, WC2R 0EW
Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden
What: Centre of Theatre Land
Why: If you’re right in the middle of theatre land then you need to have a pre-menu theatre really, and it just so happens that The Petersham has launched a new pre-menu theatre. The edit of the à la carte menu is made up of three starters, three mains and three puddings. Currently, diners can enjoy asparagus with Haye Farm hen’s egg, followed by day boat fish from Cornwall and a tempting almond tart with mascarpone.
5pm and 6.30pm Monday – Sunday
£26.50 for 2 courses / £29.50 for 3 courses
Nearest theatre: Vaudeville Theatre
Where: Petersham Nurseries, Floral Court, Covent Garden, WC2E 9FB
What: Hollywood Menu
Why: The Waldorf Hilton has officially partnered with Chicago the Musical, which is currently playing in the Phoenix Theatre and stars Hollywood actor Cuba Gooding Jnr, a short 15 minute walk from the hotel. To celebrate, The Waldorf Hilton has designed a special Chicago Cocktail Menu, available at Good Godfreys Bar & Lounge, inspired by hits from the famous musical; our favourite is the Razzle Dazzle that tastes a bit like a melted Rainbow Ice Lolly. They also have a classic pre-theatre menu that even after 3 dishes doesn’t leave you too full, expect dishes like organic Scottish salmon and The Waldorf Eton mess.
5.30pm and 6.15pm (excluding Thursdays): £27 for 2 courses / £32 for 3 courses
6.30pm: £32 for 2 courses / £35 for 3 courses
All night: £47.50 for 3 courses, 1⁄2 bottle of house wine and 1⁄2 bottle of mineral water available all night
Nearest theatre: Sandwiched between Novello Theatre and Aldwych Theatre
Where: Aldwych, Covent Garden, WC2B 4DD
What: Parisian Bistro in Soho
Why: One of the true gems of Soho, Blanchette prove that pre-theatre need not mean poor quality in-and-out dining. Available at lunch and dinner, the set menus offer regularly changing seasonal French dishes including duck croquettes with Dijon mayonnaise and baked ratatouille with smoked aubergine and melted raclette.
Monday – Friday 12pm-3pm and 5pm-6pm; and 12pm-6pm at the weekend.
2 courses: £15
3 courses: £19.50
Nearest theatre: Soho Theatre
Where: 9 D'Arblay Street, Soho, W1F 8DR
Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar
London Waterloo (0.3 miles)
What: For Those Who Don't Want to Walk Far
Why: Gillray’s pre-theatre menu is excellent because not only do you get two courses and a glass of sparkling wine for £25 but you are also in the same building as the play, Witness for the Prosecution which takes place in the old debating chamber. Ideal if you don’t want to walk too far/at all really. Afterwards, head back to the bar and ask for one of their Agatha Christies inspired cocktails – they’re off the menu, so you’ll really look in the know when you order them!
Monday – Saturday 12pm-6pm and 5pm-6:30pm on Sundays – until September 2018
2 courses plus a glass of sparkling wine: £23
Nearest theatre: It’s the same building as Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution
Where: Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar, Westminster Bridge Road, London, United Kingdom
What: Northern Italian Dining in the Heart of Theatreland
Why: Cafe Murano is surrounded by so many theatres you can practically hear The Lion King roar, smell the chocolate of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and hear a pin drop at The Royal Opera House. Highlights of Angela Hartnett’s simple Italian cooking are courgette and mint soup, hake with spring greens and strawberry and mascarpone cheesecake whilst, post-Mamma Mia singalong, diners can enjoy lobster spaghetti and a glass of prosecco for £20.
Monday – Saturday from 12pm-7pm and from 10pm-11pm.
2 courses: £19
3 courses: £23
Nearest theatre: Lyceum Theatre, The Aldwych, The Royal Opera House
Where: 36 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7PB
What: In the Centre of the West End
Why: Hix Soho is not only great for dining in the West End, it’s also great for pre and post theatre dining. Dishes include Evesham beetroot salad with Neal’s yard dairy goats curd and Somerset membrillo; Cornish fish pie with a Sutton farm garden salad and for pudding, credit crunch ice cream with hot chocolate sauce.
Monday – Saturday from 12pm-6.30pm and 10pm-11:30pm.
2 courses: £19.50
3 courses: £23.50
Nearest theatre: Piccadilly Theatre
Where: 66-70 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F 9UP
Holborn (0.3 miles)
What: Theatrical Dining
Why: With The Savoy Theatre just steps away, The Savoy itself is the natural destination for dinner beforehand. Avoid the risk of racking up a six figure bill by reserving a table in Kaspar’s – The Savoy’d seafood bar and grill restaurant. They describe the presentation itself at theatrical – baked egg cocotte with bacon jam and marmite brioche; glazed beef sausage with hazelnut mustard and crispy shallot and peak Bakewell with almond milk ice cream.
Monday – Friday from 5pm-6.30pm and 9:30pm-10:30pm.
2 courses: £31
3 courses: £35
Nearest theatre: The Savoy Theatre
Where: The Savoy, Strand, London, United Kingdom
Essex Road (0.3 miles)
What: Leisurely Dining
Why: If you’re the sort of person who tends to cut things fine, you’re always the last in the theatre to your seat or you just don’t like rushing your supper then Radici is the place for you. It’s exactly opposite the Almeida theatre so you have about, 10 steps to go meaning you can be a little more leisurely with your time. Served between 5pm and 10:30pm their theatre menu includes the likes of spicy baby octopus with polenta; pizza margherita and marsala tiramisù.
Monday – Saturday from 5pm – 10:30pm
2 Courses: £15
3 Courses: £18
Nearest Theatre: Almeida
Where: 30 Almeida Street, London, N1 1AD, United Kingdom
Smith & Wollensky
London Charing Cross (0.1 miles)
What: Dining on the Strand
Why: Set in the grand, Grade II listed Adelphi Building, Smith & Wollensky’s pre-theatre menu is ideal if you’re going to a matinee or an evening performance as it’s served all afternoon. Feast on the likes of beef consommé, chimichurri marinated sirloin and NewYork Style Cheesecake and then walk up to one of the three theatres all within a couple of minutes of the restaurant!
Pre-Theatre Menu available 12pm – 6:30pm
2 Courses £22
3 Courses £36
Nearest Theatre: Adelphi, Vaudeville and Savoy
Where: The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, Covent Garden Riverside, London WC2N 6HT, United Kingdom
Frenchie Covent Garden
What: French Dining in Covent Garden
Why: Located just a stone’s throw from Theatreland, Frenchie is serving up fuss-free French cuisine perfect for those wanting exquisite food at an excellent value. The five course menu takes its inspiration from the freshest produce that day and the a la carte menue. Theatre lovers can dine on dishes such as pigeon with black pudding, cranberry and celeriac all while enjoying a glass of wine, finish up with a banoffee, pecan and nutmeg.
Monday – Friday 5:30pm – 6pm
2 Courses £27
3 Courses £30
Nearest Theatre: Adelphi
Where: 16 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8QH
What: Un, Deux, Trois
Why: French restaurant Le Garrick serve up both a two and three course menu and with plenty of time to indulge in it, it would also be an excellent lunch menu, if you missed out on tickets to your favourite show. Dishes include paté de campagne; moules frites and tarte au citron.
Monday – Friday from 12pm – 6:30pm and post 10pm
2 Courses £13.95
3 Courses £16.95
Nearest Theatre: Garrick
Where: 10-12 Garrick Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9BH
What: Indian Dining in Haymarket
Why: A stone’s throw from Theatre Royal Haymarket, Mint Leaf’s three course menu includes the likes of venison kulcha spiced venison nan with cucumber raita; free range chicken jhalfrezi thigh braised in onion, tomato with green chilli and pepper and mango and summer berry sorbet. At least you’ll know that even if your play turns out to be a flop, that you’ll have eaten well.
Monday – Saturday from 5pm – 6:30pm and 10pm – 11pm
2 Courses £17.50
3 Courses £20
Nearest Theatre: Theatre Royal Haymarket
Where: Suffolk Place, Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4HX, United Kingdom
The Jones Family Kitchen
What: Pre-Theatre In Victoria
Why: Planning to see Hamilton or Wicked? Start out in Eccleston Yard with Jones Family Kitchen. Make no mistake, these guys know steak. Located close to Victoria Station and within walking distance of the Victoria theatres. The pre-theatre menu starts at 16:00 and is ideal for the Apollo, Curzon, Royal Court, Other Palace (St James) and Victoria Palace Theatres.
Monday to Saturday from 4pm until 6:15pm
One course £9.95
Two courses £14.50
Three coureses £17.50
Nearest theatre: Apollo
Where: 7-8 Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, SW1W 9NF