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
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.
113 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8UL; 020 3034 3424; crustbros.co.uk
Bedecked in florals and rustic acoutrements, Hello Darling feels a bit like stepping directly into a treehouse for grown-ups. The food is European small plates, elegantly served with plenty of fresh produce and vegetables. As befits a place with so many flowers around, plenty of the dishes are vegan or can be made so. You’ll also find a hugely extensive cocktail and wine list should anything there strike your fancy.
131 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8UR; 020 7401 8958; hellodarling.london
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.
8 Sir Simon Milton Square, London SW1E 5DJ; 020 3906 7950; railhouse.cafe
Nordic-French might not be quite the first cuisine combination to come to mind, but this sleek restaurant located literally two doors down from the Victoria Palace Theatre is more than worth a look. There’s a set dinner menu which costs £20/£25 for two or three courses respectively, including a whole baby chicken, and a delicious French onion soup. You do not want to miss your shot to be defying gravity after tasting these dishes.
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
Delicious Persian small-plates served in one of Central London’s most fashionable restaurants, and sprinkled with plenty of creativity, what’s not to love? Nutshell is something of a hidden gem; despite being right in the heart of the West End it’s surrounded mostly by chains so its easy to miss. Winner of a coveted Michelin Plate award and with a focus on sustainability as well as delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes, it’s definitely worth seeking out before a show.
30 St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4ER; 02034097926; nutshelllondon.co.uk
Tandoor Chop House
Traditional tandoori meets British chop house in this beautiful fusion restaurant located just around the corner from the Duke of York’s Theatre. You can book tables for dinner right up until 10pm, so instead of grabbing some greasy takeaway on your way home, why not try this place for a similar taste but significantly more luxurious? Enjoy black pepper chicken tikka, masala boti rubbed ribeye, or fresh seabream for the ultimate expression of modern British-Indian cuisine.
8 Adelaide St, London WC2N 4HZ; 02030960359; tandoorchophouse.com
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. It’d be a strictly pre-dinner venue as the last tables available to book are at 8pm, 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.
10 Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5AE; 02073213244; kerridgesbarandgrill.co.uk