If you fancy a meal before you watch a West End show, there are plenty of places that will give you time to find your seat before the curtain rises. Sam Rogg rounds up the theatre menus that are worth an encore
Don’t panic if you need to eat supper in time for a show. We round up the best pre- and post-theatre menus in London.
There’s less than 90 minutes before the curtain rises on your West End show and you’re in central London, desperately trying
to find somewhere nearby to dine. This is no time for indecision. Take it from us and make a beeline for one of these excellent restaurants where the pre/post-theatre menus are sensational and the service is sympathetically swift.
Located in Covent Garden, this second branch of the famed Café Murano from acclaimed chef Angela Hartnett (the original Murano in Mayfair is Michelin-starred) is a relaxed yet elegant spot for a hearty bite of northern Italian cuisine. On the theatre menu (from £16.50; Mon-Sat midday-7pm; 10pm-11pm), expect simple rustic delights such as salt cod with polenta and green olives followed by trout with beetroot and apple salad. The counter is excellent for solo dining, too ( 34-36TavistockSt,WC2E7PB).
With its vast dining room, buzzing atmosphere and an army of incredible chefs capable of turning out two or three courses in rapid succession, Sophie’s Steakhouse (p. 56) is one of Theatreland’s best-value restaurants. Enjoy its delicious offerings at a pre/postshow feast (from £15; daily noon-7pm; 10pmclose). Begin with fried calamari, followed by a classic hamburger or steak frites, then finish with a satisfyingly traditional cheesecake. When you choose the theatre menu, £1 will be donated to a children’s charity, so you can feel good about indulging here.
Bringing a slice of Parisian glamour to Piccadilly Circus, the glorious art deco basement at Brasserie Zédel (p. 58) is a sight to behold. Its sheer size means you rarely have to wait long for a table and there are two set menus to choose from all day: a simple but filling ‘Prix Fixe’ (from £9.75) with an excellent tarte aux fruits, or a ‘Formule’ (three courses and wine for £19.75) featuring the restaurant’s much-loved boeuf Bourguignon.
For something different, try the celebrated Hungarian restaurant Gay Hussar in Soho, which has wowed diners for more than 50 years. Inside, dark wood panelling and shelves of political biographies set the tone for authentic dishes of Wiener schnitzel and veal goulash. The pre-theatre menu is particularly popular (three courses £19.95; Mon-Sat 5.30pm-7pm; 2GreekSt,W1D4NB).
One final tip: advise staff of the precise time you need to leave by, then sit back and relax while they work their magic to ensure you’re fed and out on time.