<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The West End is awash with restaurants offering pre- and post-theatre menus. But what about if you could eat a great meal and catch a play all within one venue? Over the past few years, we’ve seen a spate of trendy eateries popping up inside London’s theatres – from a new branch of Peckham hotspot Forza Wine in the National Theatre to a Kitty Fisher’s offshoot at Soho’s Underbelly Boulevard. Theatre dining has upped its game, offering high-quality food amid buzzy surroundings – plus that all-important efficient service to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the show. Here are some of the best restaurants in London theatres.
Best Theatre Dining In London
Lasun Restaurant, National Theatre
Opened last spring, Lasun comes from the trio behind beloved Hackney pub The Marksman: Jon Rotheram, Tom Harris and John Ogier. The name is a tribute to architect Denys Lasun, who designed the National Theatre back in 1976, though the interiors veer away from the building’s Brutalist roots, opting instead for an elegant look. The menu is relaxed and pubby, with some signatures from The Marksman, like the famed beef and barley bun, and the pressed guinea fowl and tamworth terrine. Pre-theatre specials, meanwhile, include a sharing beef pie, plus a smoked haddock fishcake and roscoff onion tart. Cocktails are a highlight here, with an array of twists on classics: there’s a lemon and thyme margarita, for instance, and a fig old fashioned, alongside an extensive wine list.
National Theatre, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX, nationaltheatre.org.uk
Forza Wine, National Theatre
Another recent addition to the National Theatre’s culinary offering is Forza Wine, a second branch of Peckham’s cult small plates restaurant. Set on the venue’s top floor, with both indoor and outdoor seating, it offers lovely views of the river, with an equally delightful menu of Italian-inspired fare. Although everything is described as ‘snacks’, portions are pretty generous, with a daily changing offering which includes dishes like cauliflower fritti, seabass with winter tomatoes, and burrata with blood orange and almonds. Or, if you’re feeling extra hungry (and rich), you can order the whole food menu for £145. Just like its sister venue, wine is a big part, with a carefully curated list alongside an array of cocktails – both the classics and some unique concoctions. A cool and buzzy spot to add to your list, whether you’re catching a show there or just looking for a bite to eat on the Southbank.
National Theatre, London SE1 9PX, nationaltheatre.org.uk
Café Kitty, Underbelly Boulevard
There was a big hype around Soho favourite Kitty Fisher’s when it opened back in 2015 – and a similar buzz around its sister restaurant, Cora Pearl in Covent Garden. And now, the group is in the spotlight once again thanks to Cafe Kitty, a new venue recently opened on the first floor of Soho theatre Underbelly Boulevard. Described as the ‘cool little sister’ of Kitty Fisher’s, it’s of course a great spot for pre- and post-show dining, but would work just as well for a date night. The restaurant has an intimate and glamorous feel: interiors are inspired by the worlds of cabaret and burlesque, with dusty pink walls, antique mirrors and green velvet seating. Head chef Charles Shaw and Cora Pearl’s Fabrizio Pusceddu came up with the menu, focusing on chic modern British fare, with dishes including steak tartare, Scallops Rockefeller and Welsh rarebit – plus the famed Kitty’s crispy potatoes. For dessert, the boozy knickerbocker glory is a must, as is the signature Bad Kitty cocktail. Located bang in the middle of Soho, but with a cosy tucked away feel, this fun little spot is quickly becoming a foodie destination in its own right.
6 Walker’s Ct, London W1F 0BT, cafekitty.co.uk
The Lane at Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Theatre Royal Drury Lane has become quite the hotspot for theatre lovers and foodies alike. The 17th century venue underwent a restoration project headed up by Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd Webber in 2019, revealing its jazzy new look two years later. This included a brand-new food and drink offering, which includes afternoon tea in the historic Grand Saloon, created in collaboration with artisan baker Lily Vanilli. After more of a proper meal? Head to Jamie Oliver Catherine St for dishes like scampi and chips, fish pie, braised short rib and more.
Catherine St, London WC2B 5JF; thelane.co.uk
Paro, Lyceum Theatre
Theatre dining doesn’t always have to be about British classics. Throwing out the rulebook is Paro, the new restaurant at Covent Garden’s Lyceum Theatre, which serves food inspired by the cuisine of Calcutta. Up-and-coming chef Niaz Caan is patron aged just 23, focusing on modern Indian fare: small plates, tandoori grills, curries, biriyanis and more. The pre-theatre menu is available everyday from 11.45 until 6.30pm, and includes dishes like butter chicken, lamb samosas and rogan josh, with a separate menu for children featuring chicken tenders and mildly spiced curries.
21 Wellington St, London WC2E 7DN, paroindian.com