As I go to the theatre regularly I am usually juggling which train to catch and I grab a quick sandwich to eat on the train or if I am late, I eat on the way home. On the rare occasion I I do eat in London it is usually fast food on the hoof.
So when Official Theatre and Kettners asked me to sample a pre-theatre dining experience I was a little bemused not to mention delighted. A quick look at their menu on the Kettner’s website and I was sold – it looked DE-LI-CIOUS!
I headed off to Soho and met with several other #ldntheatrebloggers. The first thing that stuck me was how ideally PERFECT the location of Kettners was to a heaps of major theatres Not only is it smack bang between The Palace (the Commitments) and The Prince Edward Theatre (Miss Saigon) but several other theatres are less than a ten minute walk away including all the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue, Covent Garden and The Cambridge Theatre (Matilda) too!
Kettners is situated in large elegant building that I have probably walked past it dozens of times and not noticed it before. It is only when you get inside you realise what an impressive building it is! It opened as a restaurant in 1867 (yes you read that right – nearly 150 years ago) by by Auguste Kettner, (chef to Napoleon III,) and was in the family for generations.
I was taken on a tour of the building by the lovely Hannah. Kettners has several rooms of differing sizes all available for hire. The rooms are suitable for intimate gatherings, meals (each comes with it’s own waiter), hen/stag parties, meetings, conferences etc. It is very versatile and the rooms can be used any way you wish – the night I was shown around QVC had hired a few rooms and they were decked out ready for filming the next day. All the rooms were elegant and very different that I couldn’t decide which room I like most. You can even hire the whole building for an event or go to one of the events that are pre-organised.
More fascinatingly still, Kettners has a fascinating history. Sales manager Sarah Harding (who doubles up as a historian super-sleuth) tells us of elegant famous guests that have dined or stayed at Kettners in the past, Bing Crosby, Agatha Christie and Oscar Wilde to name but a few. Even King Edward VIII was meant to have met his mistress Lily Langtry here and rumoured to have used secret underground tunnels between the cellars of Kettners to the Palace Theatre. There are ghosts stories too! It’s fabulous – we could have listened to Sarah all night. We were happily planning ghost hunts and trying to find the lost tunnels.
But food called! After supping our wine in one of the champagne booths designated for private parties we were taken into the restaurant. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling and the room dripped with elegance.
And the menu …….
I had the Avacado and Prawn followed by the Trout Fillet, both were absolutely delicous!
We were so relaxed and had such a wonderful time we could have spent hours in Kettners the food came out leisurely and waiters were on hand to check we all had everything we needed. It was a perfect evening. I was concerned that if you were rushing to the theatre then you would have to be careful with timings however I was assured that when a pre-theatre meal is ordered then an hour would be an adequate time to allow. Just perfect, especially as many theatres are less than ten minutes walk away.
You can find all details about the rooms available for hire, sample menus and more information about Kettners on their website. http://www.kettners.com/
I shall most certainly be paying them another visit the food was fantastic and just perfect for that ensuring your theatre trip is made very special indeed.
Pre-theatre and Post theatre
2 courses £21.50
3 courses £24.40
All prices are inclusive of VAT. A discretionary 12.5% service charge will be added to the bill.
Monday to Saturday 5.00 – 6.30 pm and 10 pm to close
The Champagne Bar
Happy hour – Sunday to Thursday 4 pm to 6.30 pm
Well worth a visit.