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Pre-Theatre Dinner on Holiday - Doing It Right

Edited by Evelyn Hannon

Simon Harding is British, a Journeywoman reader and the owner of He describes himself this way... 'Me and my old friend Sara B., who, like me, has been involved in theatre all of her life, just spend our lives watching theatre, telling people how good it is (or not as the case may be) and trying to persuade them to find out for themselves!

Speaking from experience, these are Simon's tips on looking for a restaurant for pre-theatre dinner:

#1 Most important - Choose a restaurant that is close - you don't want to be walking across town on a full stomach.

#2 Don't go too posh. The restaurant is not the main star of the evening. That being said, pre-theatre deals do bring more expensive restaurants within budget.

#3 A maximum of 2 courses will do - a third would get rushed and you'll feel bloated throughout the whole of the first act.

#4 For the sake of the audience around you, don't go overboard on the garlic.

#5 When you sit down to eat, tell your waiter you are going to see a show. If they know their oats, they will know when curtain goes up and when to get you out by.

#6 Just to be on the safe side, order the bill well in advance. Chances are a lot of your fellow diners will also be heading to the theatre and wanting to pay at the same time.

#7 Take a comfort break (that's washroom break for North Americans) before you leave the restaurant, especially in London, where theatres are famously short of ladies loos.

#8 If you are struggling to get through that bottle of wine you ordered, ask the restaurant to save it and tell them that you will come back after the show to finish it and have coffee and dessert: what a great and relaxed way to discuss the show with whoever you have gone with... and look out for cast members grabbing a late bite.

#9 If you are going to the theatre on your own, don't fret eating 'tout seul', nobody at this time of night is judging (or watching).

Bon apetit!

Where Simon eats pre-theatre in London...

My idea of a great restaurant is one that can provide me with a decent spaghetti bolognese and a quaffable carafe of house red and get me and my date out of the door in time for us to meander the absolute maximum of 50 yards to the theatre before curtain up without running and preferably without crossing a road. Not a great culinary experience but a good one and it works for me! This place is busy so try to pre-reserve. Tel: +44 20 7437 0302

For example, Il Cucciolo in 12 Denman Street (especially if you are going to see Jersey Boys four doors away at the Piccadilly Theatre)


25 other things women should know about London. Click!

For more travel advice from men, click here.




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