Ideal for… Young Vic; Old Vic; The Vaults
The ultimate test of a theater-based restaurant is whether you dine there even if you’re not attending a show. The answer, in the case of Young Vic’s The Cut, is yes: you would.
Ingredients are carefully selected and the menu depends on their quality, with simple and daring dishes like raw Thai salad, smoked haddock and poached eggs, as well as a variety of tapas options. Choose freely: everything here is designed to be served in time for a quick run-up 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 a variety of colorful and tasty dishes and drinks. The innovative recipes all contain distinctive spices and fresh ingredients, while also being 100% gluten-free. Top savory bites include pulled jackfruit empanadas and coconut chili prawns, while larger plates such as seared octopus tentacle with guajillo pepper and tamarind, yellow plantain mofongo, the salsa verde will soothe you until the end of the show.
Paladar, 4-5 London Rd, London SE1 6JZ; 02071865555; paladarlondon.com
Anchor and Hope
It’s a gastro pub, but there’s a world of difference between the Anchor and Hope and your average Ember Inn. The menu changes; the vegetables are treated with as much tenderness as the meat, carefully sourced and slaughtered face to face in the house. Fresh fish arrives twice a day. The wines are artisanal. Still, the pub hasn’t lost any of its pub-ness with the addition of a damn fine restaurant: on the contrary, the number of regulars, the no-frills decor and the pride with which pints are pulled by a staff quick and friendly suggest the effect was just the opposite.
Anchor and Hope, 36 The Cut, Southwark, London, SE1 8LP; 020 7928 9898; anchorandhopepub.co.uk
If you’re short on time before a show, then Crust Bros. could be the solution to help you. This incredibly low-key and laid-back miniature restaurant is a pizza lover’s dream where you design your dinner from scratch. Select as many or as few toppings as you like and they’ll be freshly made and baked on a Neapolitan pizza base right before your eyes. Unless you’re going completely nuts, you’re very unlikely to pay more than around £15 for a pizza, making this a pretty cheap place to eat too.
Crust Bros., 113 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8UL; 020 3034 3424; crustbros.co.uk
Ideal for… Victoria Palace Theatre; Victoria Apollo Theatre; The other palace
Andrew Wong’s contemporary, informal but serious Chinese restaurant has it all: you’ll get Gunadong dim sum as well as fresh Shanghai pork and ginger dumplings, Sichau eggplant and Anhui braised red fermented fish. Late eaters should check out the myriad of 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 Cafe
A steampunk venue just around the corner from Victoria’s three brilliant theatres. The modern eclectic menu offers something for everyone, including steaks, burgers, noodles, stir-fries and fish dishes. There’s even a tasting menu if you’d like. Cocktails are also very highly recommended.
Keep in mind that when busy, the tight spaces in this restaurant can make service a bit slower than it might be, so be sure to allow plenty of time to get to the theater.
Rail House Café, 8 Sir Simon Milton Square, London SW1E 5DJ; 020 3906 7950; railhouse.cafe
Sticks and sushi
One of the new branches of the Danish-Japanese sushi and yakitori restaurant, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi is another restaurant located in the Nova Building, so convenient. With a selection of hot grill options and sushi platters, there’s something for the whole group.
Start with small plates such as ebi bites (addictive tempura shrimp), scallop ceviche, fried cauliflower with black sesame truffle sauce and the iconic beef tataki – topped with smoked cheese, almonds and chives. The sushi sister is a crowd pleaser – offering all types of sashimi on the menu, while there are a myriad of rolls to choose from. Our favorites have to be Hell’s Kitchen’s kaburimaki – tempura shrimp with avocado, topped with tuna and spicy barbecue sauce – and the homemade rolls that feature wagyu, black cod, soft-shell crab or scallops. Don’t forget your sticks now: get a sharing board of miso-marinated black cod, pork belly in yuzu miso, bacon-wrapped emmental and lamb chop or tenderloin of beef with miso herb butter. Then, waddle to the theater or the metro station.
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, 3 Sir Simon Milton Square, London SW1E 5EB; 02031418240; sticksnsushi.com
This elegant restaurant serving French cuisine is located literally two doors down from the Victoria Palace Theater and is more than worth a visit. There is a pre-theatre dinner set menu which costs £25 for two or £29.50 for three. You don’t want to miss your shot at defying gravity after trying these dishes.
Aster, 150 Victoria St, London SW1E 5LB; 020 3875 5555; aster-restaurant.com
Ideal for… Arts Theatre; Noel Coward Theatre; the Wyndham Theatre; Garrick Theatre; the Duke of York’s Theatre; Playhouse theatre; Trafalgar Theatre; Savoy Theater
With a reputation like this, it’s no surprise that Blacklock has opened another location in London – making all your meaty dreams come true. The restaurant’s largest location to date, its prime location in the heart of the West End makes it a solid choice for any pre- or post-theatre goer.
As usual, choose the chop size; the source of the chop (lamb, beef or pork) and, of course, your accompaniments. So take comfort in knowing that the guys behind the chophouse are Hawksmoor veterans and the meat is good quality. Can’t make up your mind? If you’re dining with friends, choose ‘All In’ and get starters and a plate full of meat to share for £22 pp. The £5 cocktails make it even better. If this is your first time visiting Blacklock, we couldn’t recommend a better way to dive.
Blacklock, 16a Bedford St, London WC2E 9HE; theblacklock.com
An oldie but a goodie. Barrafina has been bringing exquisite Spanish cuisine to our tables for years, tantalizing our taste buds with a variety of tapas dishes. Whether you prefer ham croquettes – or prefer to order from that coveted specialty board, feast like you’re in Spain before or after your show. The smaller space means places are limited and in demand, so book early. The majority of the seats are counter stools – adding to the atmosphere of the evening.
Barrafina, 10 Adelaide St, London WC2N 4HZ; 02030960359; barrafina.fr
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill
Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge’s quirky London restaurant offers much of the pub fare that made him famous at Hand & Flowers in Marlow, from turbot and chips to pie and mash of pig’s cheeks. It’s quite expensive, but maybe that’s only normal when the quality is as high as here. The last tables available for reservation are at 10 p.m., although you can get unreserved tables at the bar on a first-come, first-served basis. If your visit to the theater is to mark a special occasion, a meal here could be the icing on the cake.
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, 10 Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5AE; 02073213244; kerridgesbarandgrill.co.uk