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Jun 6, 2012 11:03 PM

Recommendations for a Pre-Theatre Group Dinner in London

Good day all!

I have the, um...pleasure of hosting a medium sized group of people during late October. I'm looking for some suggestions. I'm somewhat apprehensive as the group consists solely of people who very actively (and passionately) in exchanging recipes and offering their own cookery tips. And whilst it may not make too much of a difference, they're coming from all over the US. I've been told before that once you leave the typical port-of-entry cities in america that food interests can often be somewhat narrowed. I would imagine this may only have to do with the lack of exposure. Again, it's only hearsay.

The only restaurant I've comfortably thought of for a group such as this is Mon Plaisir on Monmouth Street. Yet I'm somewhat apprehensive as I recall that there is not more than fifty seats in the entire restaurant. I've considered Belgo Centraal as well, but the last time my daughter and I ate there it was rather disappointing.

Despite the two restaurants noted above, I thought it might be nice to take them to a place that's resolutely British.

During their long weekend visit the group is participating in a number of cookery courses in London, evening theatre, and several walking tours. On Sunday I take them to Paris for a cookery course at the Ritz Escoffier, then bid them Bonne journée the following morning.

I'm also looking for a restaurant for a farewell London dinner, possibly near the GLC building or perhaps around London Bridge Station.

Most grateful for any thoughts.
Fr Bill+.

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  1. Not resolutley british though a very good option is Les Deuz Salons. Went with the wife a few weeks back for a pre theatre meal. Though couldnt manage to stick to the pre theatre menu when the a la carte had so many good options. My better half is still raving about the green garlic soup they served that day.

    The restaurant is on two floors and I believe has a few private rooms as well.


    5 Replies
    1. re: NYLONDave

      Good morning Dave!

      That looks quite nice. I've not been there before. I too fall prey often to my mental determination to avail myself of pre theatre menu and then crumble into a molten mess when I see the a la carte menu...oh the travesty of it all!

      Daughter and I might give it a try this weekend as I noticed that all the detritus pertaining to our jubilee is now gone, barring a few lost tourists trying to take the underground between Charing Cross and Leicester Square. Thank you very much indeed!

      Fr Bill+

      1. re: FrBill

        I'd second Les Deux Salons, have been there a few times now and has always been excellent. They have a lovely, more private room at the rear of the restaurant you could try to book - it still has the buzzy brasserie atmosphere but is big enough for a large group.

        1. re: pj26

          I like that place too! It's very sexy!

          1. re: brokentelephone

            Thanks telephone! The concept is quite appealing to me. I phoned my daughter and she said she had never been their either so we're 'on' for a trial.
            Thanks for your input!

            Fr B+

          2. re: pj26

            Thanks PJ! I think the atmosphere will be important.

            Fr B+

      2. if you move away from the "resolutely british" criteria, i always think that tas is a good option for large groups - the food is very varied and can easily keep vegans and carnivores happy with a mix in between. there are a number of branches so you can choose the most convenient location, depending how large your group is. good value too and if you go to tas ev (near southwark station, so perhaps okay for your farewell?) people will be able to pop into the adjacent tas store to pick up items for their cupboards back home.

        1 Reply
        1. re: abby d

          Hey Abby, I like this idea as well! Currently the group is just over 40, but I'm told they expect it to rise by a few more. I've arranged some shopping time where I take them to shops featuring culinary goods and of course, they all want to do the Harrods thing....bless their socks.

          There are several confirmed vegans booked to attend which actually was one of the reasons I had Mon Plaisir on my list - they always have some lovely vegan dishes on their pre-theatre menu.

          Indeed, I've had numerous emails from people asking about how much shopping time they'll have. Considering how much our merchants need some income I'm happy to help as best I can!

          Thanks for the suggestions!

          Fr Bill+

        2. I think a private room at Deux Salons would be ideal for a group. I really enjoy that place a lot and the food would be suitable for all eaters. I'm just back from the States and your group would probably enjoy something a bit different than what they're used to at home. I fell right back into all my old faves that I can't get here, and it really made me realize (again) that we in the UK are unique in many ways. Share that with the visitors!

          5 Replies
          1. re: zuriga1

            Good morning Zuriga! Thank you SO much for your thoughts and suggestion! I agree with you, absolutely! Over the past few weeks I've found myself trying to explain to some of the group members who've written that the UK is probably the most advanced country in the world when in comes to fusion of culinary cultures. It's something I, and I'm sure many of you as well, share in this pride. As I looked over the developing itinerary I recognise I've probably already provided a sufficient balance of providing exposure to our quintessentially British Cuisine; I've arranged a customised cookery course at The Cookery School on Little Portland St. and I've scheduled a lunch at a local chippy, so sharing more of our diversity is more appropriate. I did query initially whether there might be interest in an evening at a Balti House, but that was shot down almost immediately with a flood of protestations. I gather curries are not to the american palate. But there has been tacit agreement regarding anything 'European..' (this is quite a learning curve for me!). I did give some momentary consideration to Eastern European dishes, but my daughter suggested that this was more in line with the diet I've enjoyed for the past two decades. ) I have two homes in Eastern Europe for victims of child-trafficking) and the food whilst minimal, has always been delicious. We're now confirmed that we'll go to Deux Salons tomorrow night. I was thinking of having a look again at Christopher's on Wellington Street, but my memory is that's perhaps a bit too close to what they can get at home. I just wanted to do a recce of their function room. I know it exists, but don't remember ever actually looking at it.
            Thank you again! With all this positive input about Deux Salons we're quite looking forward!

            Fr Bill+

            1. re: FrBill

              Near London Bridge, Magdalen is quite British, excellent food and a lovely restaurant.

              This would also put you by Borough Market if you are coming on a Friday or Saturday.

              Re "curries are not to the american palate": Mighty suspicious "Americans" you are hosting! Sigh... I suppose that is why so many of us are expats...

              1. re: FrBill

                OOPS, not sure Magdalen/vegan can be used in the same sentence!

                1. re: MonkeyC

                  Good morning Monkey....I love Magdalen! But I'd have to agree with you; they're somewhat limited on the Vegan. My daughter and I last ate there in late January. It was lovely, but Mary, often preferring a vegan choice commented that the selection was rather limited, especially on the a la carte menu. Nevertheless, we both enjoyed it very much. I've kept Magdalen in 'reserve' just in case. Thank you for renewing this thought for me. It would fit nicely for my post-dinner evening walk back to London Bridge....

                  Fr Bill+

                2. re: FrBill

                  I think the reason Americans shoot down a 'Southern Asian' meal is because their experiences of such in the States is uniformly fairly awful. I ate at some of the most renowned Indian restaurants in NYC a few times and couldn't stand the stuff. That was before I moved here. I've also had more recent experiences in Minneapolis. What my son considers excellent is something we wouldn't go back to in this country. That said, a week ago, I had a fantastic meal at Microsoft's Indian restaurant (yes, you read that correctly) at one of their outer campuses in Redmond. It's run by a popular Indian local and it was almost as good as places I've eaten here.

                  Deux Salons sounds French, but I remember the menu definitely favoring a bit of lovely British standards as well.