So you’ve bagged tickets to Hamilton, you jammy little sausage! I got to see it myself recently and it blew my mind. It was so good, in fact, that I’m entering the £10 ticket lottery every single day so I can go and see it again.
Sadly, the Victoria Palace theatre is in, er, Victoria, which isn’t exactly known for its gastronomy. What it is known for is its monstrously large and difficult to navigate train station, which sprawls unattractively like some sort of pedestrianised spaghetti junction, and possibly the greatest collection of crap lunch options in the northern hemisphere, so deciding where to grab a bite before the show can be tricky. (This also goes for Wicked, movies at the Curzon Victoria and anything at the Royal Court and The Other Palace theatres.) But, if you know where to look, there’s some good eating to be had within walking distance of all Victoria’s theatres. Here they all are.
And look! I made a map and everything.
JONES FAMILY KITCHEN
New kid on the block Jones Family Kitchen has just opened its second site in pretty Eccleston Yard. It’s very much tucked away, so you won’t have to look at hordes of tourists on their way to the coach station, or Nova Victoria, recently voted the UK’s ugliest building. The big draw here is the menu of Ginger Pig meats, all cooked to order on a Josper grill, and the extensive list of wines available by the glass.
Pre-theatre menu: Available from 4-6:15pm, Monday to Saturday. One course for £9.95, two courses for £14.50, three courses for £17.50, from a selection of three options per course. Sample menu here.
MARKET HALL VICTORIA
If you’ve only got time to smash and dash, or if there’s a few of you who can’t agree on a restaurant, Market Hall Victoria squeezes eleven street food kitchens, three bars and a coffee shop into a charming Edwardian shopping arcade. Top picks are Flank for its nose-to-tail slow-roasted meats and the ever-popular Breddos Tacos.
Pre-theatre menu: None, but everything is pretty affordable, plus there’s no service charge.
CAMBRIDGE STREET KITCHEN
This one requires a little walk, but it’s really not far at all, and you’ll be rewarded with Cambridge Street Kitchen’s absolutely banging aperitivo hour. If you’ve got time, stay for dinner (read our review here!). It’s open all day.
Pre-theatre menu: There’s no set menu so if you’re dining proper you’ll be eating a la carte, but there are £5 cocktails, £4.50 glasses of wine and £4 beers served alongside unlimited nibbles from 4-7pm Monday to Friday.
Sometimes, before you sit down to watch the cultural phenomenon of the century, you just want a massive slab of beef in your face, dripping with sauce. Possibly with bacon. Enter Bleecker Burger, the best example of exactly that within a 500m radius of Victoria station. (There’s a Shake Shack too. Ignore that, obviously.) Do not miss the Angry Fries, which are doused in hot sauce and blue cheese goo.
Pre-theatre menu: Burgers start from £6.50, and fries from £3.00.
Another cheapy, but it’s a goodie. Bone Daddies does some of the most stonking ramen in town, and a steaming bowl of their best will see you well through all of Hamilton. You don’t want to get peckish and mob the interval ice-cream seller, after all. The thing is longer than Les Mis.
Pre-theatre menu: None, but you’ll be in and out in a jiffy, with plenty of change from £20 for a main and a drink.
If you haven’t already dropped enough dollar on theatre tickets, A. Wong’s Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant is just down the road from Victoria station. You’ll need to study the menu in advance because a) it is very long and b) the restaurant only opens at 5:30pm, so you’ll need to be in and out in 90 minutes or so, swift as an otter. If you’re seeing a matinee, you’re in luck, because then you can try Wong’s legendary lunchtime-only dim sum menu.
Pre-theatre menu: None.
Aster is an offshoot from the ever-popular D&D group, who also own Quaglino’s, Bluebird, The Modern Pantry and the Paternoster Chop House, also known as the First Dates restaurant. (I know this because my mother once dragged me over to St. Paul’s to goggle at it.) Specialising in Scandi cuisine, its pre-theatre menu also includes a glass of, er, Cava.
Pre-theatre menu: Available every day between 5-7pm. Two courses for £25 or three courses for £30, including a glass of fizz.
Posh Peruvian/Japanese fusion restaurant UNI offers a mix of top-quality ceviche, sushi, sashimi and robata-grilled meats, but if you’re in a hurry, grab one of their bento boxes (and one of their fiery chilli mojitos).
Pre-theatre menu: None, but bento boxes cost £15pp (or £40 if you’re pushing the boat out and fancy some wagyu beef).
Jason Atherton spawns new restaurants almost as quickly as Kate Middleton bangs out spare heirs, and one of his latest projects is Hai Cenato, an American-Italian restaurant and cocktail bar. Kind of like Frankie & Benny’s, but not, of course, shit.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses for £18.50 from a choice of two options per course. There’s also a pizza deal in the bar between 3-6pm (£9 for a margarita and a drink), but if pizza is what you’re really after then head to ever-dependable mini-chain Franco Manca round the corner.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.