DIN­ING

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

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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.

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