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London pre-theatre dining Monday

lexdevil Aug 3, 2011 05:49 AM

As part of our annual visit from Northern California to my in-laws in the Cotswolds, we're heading to London for five nights. Staying at the St. Pancras Renaissance (thank goodness for Marriott points!). Currently have dinners booked at Dinner (Friday), Pollen Street Social (Saturday), and St. John Bread & Wine (Sunday). Will be seeing friends in Holloway on Thursday night, so that will be whatever they decide. Lunch at the Harwood Arms with my husband's aunt on Friday.

Monday will be our last night in London, and we'll probably go to the theatre somewhere in the West End (whatever looks best at the 1/2 price tickets booth). We're currently booked for a pre-theatre dinner at Arbutus. Is that our best option, or is there another pre-theatre option that we should not miss?

I don't feel a great need to go to L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (have had a couple of great Robuchon meals in the US in the past). I'd rather do something unique to London. Will be dining with my husband and 17-year-old son. They are less keen on fine dining than I am, but tolerant. Son has a special aversion to restaurants he describes as "smug," but others might consider "precious." That said, he did enjoy the Fat Duck a few years back. Of course it's a bit more like a magic show than a restaurant, in some aspects. St. John Bread & Wine is the sort of place we all feel comfortable -- good food, relaxed atmosphere, great bread (we are spoiled w/ great bread in the Bay Area). We're also very happy with all sorts of ethnic options, especially Asian.

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    pj26 RE: lexdevil Aug 3, 2011 06:01 AM

    I think Arbutus or its sister restaurant Les Deux Salons are the best for pre-theatre dining. I love both, and have never had a bad meal or experience at either.

    I would agree about giving L'atelier a miss, and perhaps try Hereford Road or Launceston Place for some really great British food/cooking. Don't think they could be described at 'smug' but then that could be subjective ! Alternatively Hix in Soho could be a good choice.

    Launceston Place
    1 Launceston Pl, Kensington, Greater London W8 5, GB

    Hereford Road
    3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB

    1. m
      ManInTransit RE: lexdevil Aug 3, 2011 06:45 AM

      I think Arbutus is ideal for a very British meal and their pre-theatre menu is one of the best value around. It's very relaxed for that sort of restaurant and I've only had good meals there with just the odd dish being average.

      Hereford Road and Launceston Place don't really work for pre-theatre dining.

      Launceston Place
      1 Launceston Pl, Kensington, Greater London W8 5, GB

      Hereford Road
      3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB

      1. zuriga1 RE: lexdevil Aug 3, 2011 07:22 AM

        I'll give another vote for Deux Salons. I didn't particularly find the prix fixe, pre-theatre menu to my liking, but the a la carte was perfect. The Paris Brest for dessert is fantastic. If you are in the Bay Area and know Café de la Presse, it's a bit like that but more brasserie in surroundings.

        3 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1
          lexdevil RE: zuriga1 Aug 3, 2011 07:49 AM

          Would you choose Deux Salons over Arbutus? And what sort of dishes do they tend to put on the pre-theatre set menu?

          1. re: lexdevil
            zuriga1 RE: lexdevil Aug 3, 2011 09:23 AM

            I haven't been to Arbutus... yet.. so I can't compare or choose. I think a lot of the menu changes with the seasons. I had something that isn't even offered on the current menu, plus I think the pre-theatre menu has gone up in price, which is no surprise. I don't think they list the pre-theatre choices, but here is the a la carte. I'm an American so some British things don't appeal to me as much as others do. My British husband had the Barnsley chop and loved it. A few years ago, I wouldn't have known what that was!


            1. re: zuriga1
              pj26 RE: zuriga1 Aug 11, 2011 06:20 AM

              I'd say Arbutus is slightly more 'refined' cooking than Les Deux Salons, which is more of a brasserie style place. Both offer pre-theatre menus that change pretty much daily so difficult to say what they will have, but you can check the website (as Zuriga has helpfully supplied!).

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