Generally my rule in life is, you can have dinner or a show, but not both. Not at the same time, at least.
This rule came about years and years ago when my sister and I were taken to Disneyland Paris for the weekend, and for reasons known only to my parents, we went to a sit-down dinner-cum-Wild West show. Now, everyone knows that children are impressed by the most banal things – cardboard boxes, origami jumping frogs, light-up trainers – but even I, as a ten year old, remember thinking ‘This is really shit’. The show was bad, the food was bad. Everyone was sat at benches rather than tables which, paired with lots of sloppy food like mash and gravy, was a recipe for disaster. I seem to remember my mother, never one to be mugged off, demanding a refund afterwards.
My point is, dinners and shows rarely play well together. (I am also including those deals you can get on Lastminute.com which include a theatre ticket and a set menu at an invariably naff restaurant, and anything you can buy at the cinema concessions stall.)
THAT SAID. I recently went to the London Cabaret Club for a much-needed catch-up with one of my closest pals, and for the first time ever I ended up eating good food while watching a good show. Who knew it was even possible? It’s one of these ticketed set-ups where you choose a tier – £45 for the show only, £75 to include a three course meal, or £125 (ouch) to include five courses and a cocktail. There’s also pre-show entertainment of the singing variety in the bar beforehand, if you fancy it (but if you do you want to get there early to get a seat and take advantage of the happy hour that runs from 6-7pm. Drinks are pretty expensive after that – around £15/cocktail or £30+ for a bottle of wine.)
The production is roughly split into three acts with food courses in between, but there’s always something happening on stage. It isn’t actually a cabaret in what counts as the usual way nowadays – no raunchy compere, burlesque or god-awful fire-swallowing acts – and the show we saw actually had a greater emphasis on dance than anything else. The theme of the evening seems to change quite often but ours was ‘Hats, Heels & Horses’, so there was a lot of beautiful and/or bonkers headgear, Strictly-esque choreography and, er, a sort of interactive horse race at the end on projectors around the room while the dancers pranced about the stage with gigantic horse hats. It’s hard to explain but was really good fun!
There were some other variety acts too, including an aerial artist, an acrobat in a giant metal hoop, a strongman/balancing act (fortunately the stage is in the round so everyone got a good view of the muscle buffet), and – our favourite – an amazing electric violinist on a light-up LED violin. (Side note: why are all professional violists tall, willowy and impossibly beautiful? How does this happen?)
Obviously nobody goes to these things FOR the food, per se, but honestly the standard was very good, especially as it falls under the dreaded category of mass catering. My favourite course was the beef, which is always difficult to keep tender and juicy when serving to a lot of people.
The London Cabaret Club is a wonderful night out, the kind worth dressing up for. Even though it is crawling in Instagram types and you’re guaranteed to leave feeling a bit like a human blimp because they use actual models as hostesses and they are stunning. It would be perfect for a classier kind of hen do (the FAQs say no fancy dress, so sashes and willy straws are out), or a girls’ night out, especially if you’ve got something to celebrate! The next theme appears to be based on English queens which is obviously going to have some absolutely banging costumes in it, and there are Christmas and Halloween-themed shows too.
The London Cabaret Club, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, London, WC1B 4DA
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.