If you’ve ever headed to the West End for a night out, you’ll know there’s a perennial thorny issue that will face you – choosing your theatre is simple; but choosing where to eat for your pre-theatre dinner? So much harder.
Last week saw us headed to Londinium for a special personal treat; my sister lives in Kent, I live in Dorset, and we really don’t meet often enough. but once a year we DO something. We get out of the house, meet somewhere and spoil ourselves – sort of an annual sisterfest. We did it once to celebrate her 50th, and loved it so much we’ve made it an annual thing. Only this year was different – we invited the boys along too.
We had rooms booked at the Wilde Aparthotel on the Strand (totally recommended, such a fab place for a quick city breaks in the West End), we had tickets for The Play That Goes Wrong… but where to eat? We knew we wanted pre-theatre meal (personally I love a post-theatre dinner, but my sister is Ooo-o-old (*smugly waves* to big sister gleefully) and “can’t eat that late”. So, early it was; and we were very VERY happy when we were invited to try a Pre Theatre Dinner At The Boulevard Brasserie.
Literally just up the road from The Duchess Theatre, the Boulevard Brasserie couldn’t be better placed for pre-theatre dinner for The Duchess Theatre (or the Lyceum, or Theatre Royal… it’s just in the HEART of the West End Theatre-land).
It’s a three-storey restaurant, low lit, crowded and as you step inside you do genuinely feel like you just stepped into a Parisian Brasserie. Without the French conversation, obviously. The bustling atmosphere is busy but welcoming, and in true Parisian style judges you not for the shoes on your feet; you’re here for the food, and it doesn’t matter if you’re finally stopping after a full day shopping in your ‘sensible comfies’, or if you’ve just stepped out in your posh frock and heels for a night on the town. Everyone fits right in.
We opted to start with Aperitifs – Martini Cocktails are just under £10 each, and I can totally recommend the Lemon Tree; rum, chambord, mint, raspberry puree, passion fruit juice & lemon juice. Tart and fresh and so so good. Though my sister’s Gin Garden (found on the A La Carte menu – Tanqueray gin, cucumber, elderflower liqueur & tonic water) was bloody lovely too.
The Mains arrived, and were ooh-ed over happily. I always think it’s quite tricky to make Chicken Milanese look pretty – but an artfully placed poached egg managed it!
I had the Sea Bass Fillet (£19) – with french beans, cherry tomatoes, black olives and pesto it was a light yet rich meal with lots of texture and perfectly balanced flavours which didn’t hide the fish.
Brother-in-Law’s Tiger Prawns (£19) made his eyes open wide happily, and were apparently meltingly cooked with delicious garlicky-chilli flavour.
The Chicken Milanese (£17) was good, but honestly? It simply served as a platform for the delicious truffle mayo, and the lemon & reggio cheese salad was the star for the salad-mad husband.
Joy of joys, there was Creme Brulee (£6) on the dessert menu (are you even a Brasserie if you’re not serving creme brulee?) – and it was perfectly, creamily, solidly, vanillery smooth… though for me, the lid lacked a certain crack.
Our server (Vincent) was attentive and fun, and we simply had a wonderful meal. The bottle of Merlot (£25) was perfect (thank you to Vincent for his recommendation), and we simply had a wonderful, unhurried meal chatting and laughing and people-watching. Perfect.
We were gifted two Aperitifs, two Mains and two desserts (roughly £75), and the rest of the bill came to £113.74 for the four of us, which included that bottle of Merlot. That makes it approx £45 a head (or £38 without the wine. Though why you’d do that on a night out is beyond me).
Boulevard Brasserie Bookings can be made online here – – and I’d suggest that you DO book – we were there on a midweek night in October, and it was busy at 17:30!. If you don’t want Pre Theatre Dinner At The Boulevard Brasserie, then they take post-theatre bookings right through to 11.30pm.