Wun’s Tea Room
Don’t let the name fool you; Wun’s is far more than merely a simple Chinese tea room. Book a table downstairs and you’ll find yourself in a neon-lit modern wonderland. The menu is simple and to the point but the food elegant and intricate. The sugar skin char siu is the house speciality, loved for its seamless sweet and savoury fusion. The cocktails are equally good, blending traditional Chinese tastes like rice wine with gin, whisky, and rum.
It can be a bit pricey if you get a lot of small plates, but the service is quick and the waiting staff well-informed and can offer brilliant recommendations. It’s open until late so there might be just time to sneak in for a drink after the show too.
Wun’s Tea Room, 23 Greek St, London W1D 4DZ; tearoom.bar
Sussex Bar & Restaurant
The brilliant brainchild of the Gladwin Brothers, Sussex in Soho champions quality produce and turning it into a menu of delicious dishes from which you’ll certainly struggle to choose. With each brother having his own duty, Richard Oliver and Gregory take on their relative roles as farmer, chef and restauranteur. Sit in the heart of Soho, sipping on a glass of wine – either from their own Nutbourne Vineyard or from a myriad of other locations. The marmite mushroom eclairs make excellent snacks pre-theatre, while the signature beef wellington is the perfect plate to fill you up before or after the show.
Sussex Bar & Restaurant, 63-64 Frith St, London W1D 3JW; 02039237770; sussex-restaurant.com
Compaigne de Vins Surtanels
If there is a more deliciously sophisticated way to crown a night at the theatre than a glass of wine and a cheeseboard, enjoyed from a plush chair in a posh drawing room-come-restaurant, write to us. Until then, make a board of French cheeses and a glass of Bourgueil at CVS your regular grand finale. Pre-theatre pickers, meanwhile, should note that ‘bar snacks’ here translates as some truly sumptuous delights including chicken croquettes with chipoltle sauce, squid spaghetti, and cooked Prosciutto with truffle. Only the French…
Compaigne de Vins Surtanels, 8-10 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9DP; 020 7734 7 737; cvssevendials.com
As above, but more utilitarian in feel (and pricing). The staff are wondrously knowledgable, so if you’ve time to quiz them on the eclectic wine list, do.
10 Cases, 16 Endell Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9BD; 020 7836 6801; 10cases.co.uk
Best for… Young Vic; Old Vic; The Vaults
The ultimate test of a theatre-based restaurant is whether you dine there even if you weren’t seeing a show. The answer, in the case of Young Vic’s The Cut is, yes: you would.
The ingredients are scrupulously sourced and the menu hangs on their quality, with boldly simple dishes like Thai raw salad, smoked haddock and poached eggs, and a variety of tapas options. Choose freely: everything here is designed to be served in time for a quick dash to the show.
The Cut, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Southwark, London SE1 8LZ; 020 7928 4400; thecutbar.com
Nestled in the middle of Elephant and Castle is Paladar. A hidden gem – with an even more hidden courtyard – this Latin American restaurant serves up a variety of colourful and flavourful dishes and drinks. The innovative recipes all feature distinctive spices and fresh ingredients – while all being 100 per cent gluten-free too. Top tasty bites include the pulled jackfruit empanadas and the coconut chilli prawns, while larger plates such asoOctopus tentacle seared with guajillo chilli and tamarind, yellow plantain mofongo, salsa verde will tide your tummy over until the show has finished.
Paladar, 4-5 London Rd, London SE1 6JZ; 02071865555; paladarlondon.com
The Anchor and Hope
It’s a gastropub, but there’s a world of difference between the Anchor and Hope and your average Ember Inn. The menu changes; vegetables are treated with as much tenderness as the meat, which is carefully sourced and butchered nose to tail in house. Fresh fish arrives twice daily. The wines are artisanal. Yet the pub has lost none of its pub-ness with the addition of a damn fine restaurant: on the contrary, the numbers of regulars, the no-frills decor and the pride with which pints are pulled by fast, friendly staff suggest the effect has been quite the reverse.
Anchor and Hope, 36 The Cut, Southwark, London, SE1 8LP; 020 7928 9898; anchorandhopepub.co.uk
If you’re strapped for time before a show then Crust Bros. might be just the thing to help you out. This incredibly low-key and casual miniature restaurant is a pizza lover’s dream where you design your dinner from the ground up. Select as many or as few toppings as you like and it’ll be freshly prepared and cooked on a Neapolitan pizza base right in front of your eyes. Unless you go absolutely crazy you’re very unlikely to pay more than about £15 for a pizza, making it a pretty cheap place to eat too.
Crust Bros., 113 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8UL; 020 3034 3424; crustbros.co.uk
Best for… Victoria Palace Theatre; Victoria Apollo Theatre; The Other Palace
Andrew Wong’s contemporary, informal-but-serious-about-food Chinese restaurant offers everything: you’ll get Gunadong dim sum as well as Shanghai dumplings of pork and fresh ginger, Sichaunese aubergines and red braised fermented fish from Anhui. Late eaters should check out the myriad snacks available at Forbidden City, its underground bar.
A Wong, 70 Wilton Road, Victoria, London, SW1V 1DE ; 020 7828 8931; awong.co.uk
Rail House Café
A steampunkish venue just around the corner from all of Victoria’s three brilliant theatres. The modern eclectic menu offers something for everyone including steak, burgers, noodles, stir fries, and fish dishes. There’s even a tasting menu should that strike your fancy. Cocktails also come very highly recommended.
Bear in mind that when it’s busy, the tight spaces of this restaurant can make service a little slower than it could be, so make sure you leave plenty of time to get to the theatre.
Rail House Café, 8 Sir Simon Milton Square, London SW1E 5DJ; 020 3906 7950; railhouse.cafe
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi
One of the newer branches of the Danish-Japanese sushi and yakitori restaurant, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi is another eatery situated in the oh-so convenient Nova Building. With a selection of hot grill options and sushi plates, there’s something for the whole group to enjoy.
Start off with small plates such as the ebi bites (addictive tempura shrimp), scallop ceviche, fried cauliflower with a black sesame truffle sauce and the iconic beef tataki – topped with smoked cheese, almonds and spring onion. The sushi sister is a crowd pleaser – offering every type of sashimi on the menu, while there is a myriad of rolls to choose from. Our favourites have to be the Hell’s Kitchen kaburimaki – tempura shrimp with avocado, topped with tuna and spicy barbecue sauce – and the house rolls which feature the likes of wagyu, black cod, softshell crab or scallop. Don’t forget your sticks, now: get a sharing board of the miso-marinated black cod, pork belly in a yuzu miso, Emmentaal cheese wrapped in bacon and either the lamb chop or beef fillet in miso herb butter. Then waddle to the theatre or tube station.
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, 3 Sir Simon Milton Square, London SW1E 5EB; 02031418240; sticksnsushi.com
This sleek restaurant serving French cuisine is located literally two doors down from the Victoria Palace Theatre and is more than worth a look. There’s a set pre-theatre dinner menu which costs £25 for two or £29.50 for three. You do not want to miss your shot to be defying gravity after tasting these dishes.
Aster, 150 Victoria St, London SW1E 5LB; 020 3875 5555; aster-restaurant.com
Best for… Arts Theatre; Noël Coward Theatre; Wyndham’s Theatre; Garrick Theatre; Duke Of York’s Theatre; Playhouse Theatre; Trafalgar Theatre; Savoy Theatre
With a reputation such as this one, it’s no surprise that Blacklock has opened up another site in London – making all your meaty dreams come true. The restaurant’s biggest location yet, it’s prime spot in the heart of the West End makes it a solid choice for any pre or post theatre-goers.
As usual, choose the size of chop; the source of the chop (lamb, beef or pork) and, of course, your sides. Then rest easy in the knowledge that the chaps behind the chophouse are veterans of Hawksmoor, and the meat is well sourced. Can’t decide? If you’re dining with friends pick the ‘All In’ and get starters and a plate piled high with meat to share for £22 per person. £5 cocktails make it even better. If it’s your first time visiting Blacklock, we couldn’t recommend a better way to dive right in.
Blacklock, 16a Bedford St, London WC2E 9HE; theblacklock.com
An oldie but a goodie. Barrafina has dependably delivered exquisite Spanish cuisine to our tables for years now, treating our taste buds to a variety of tapas dishes. Whether you’re favourites are the ham croquettes – or your prefer to order from that coveted specials board, feast as though you’re in Spain before or after your show. The smaller space means seating is limited and in demand, so book early. The majority of seating is counter stools – adding to the atmosphere of the evening.
Barrafina, 10 Adelaide St, London WC2N 4HZ; 02030960359; barrafina.co.uk
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill
The original London restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge brings a lot of the pub food that made him famous at the Hand & Flowers in Marlow from turbot and chips to pig’s cheek pie and mash. It is quite expensive, but perhaps that’s only to be expected when the quality is as high as it is here. The last tables available to book are at 10pm, though you can get unreserved tables at the bar on a first-come, first-served basis. If your trip to the theatre is to mark a special occasion, a meal here might be the icing on the cake.
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, 10 Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5AE; 02073213244; kerridgesbarandgrill.co.uk