Lifestyle & Culture

Zoé Manset: My Top 5 restaurants for a fabulous post-theatre meal in London

As an obstinate Mediterranean individual, I struggle to adapt to a rhythm that requires me to dine before 8:30 pm at the earliest. I’ve tried, believe me, but it just verges too close to my mid-afternoon snack and leaves no room for an aperitivo – in short, early dining means chaos to a topic that suffers no concessions: food and drinks.

Not only that, but my busy actress-theatre critic schedule means I often miss a dinner time that would suit both my non-negotiable food planning, and British restaurant culture.

If you, like me, find yourself buzzing with excitement whenever you leave the theatre needing to dissect every scene over a hearty meal and a glass of wine, these five late dining London restaurants will provide you with the perfect setting to do just that.

Brasserie Zédel

Legendary amongst all performance industry professionals, night owls and flâneurs alike, Brasserie Zédel is a must on anyone’s bucket list. Its Central London location (right off Picadilly circus tube station) and wonderfully well priced Parisian bistro style food (take it from a French Food Mafia member – they know their steak frites from their snails) make it an ideal post theatre restaurant.

There you’ll find a typical French bistro menu with a twist – think chickpea curry nestled next to mussels and frites on their busy menu. Their varied wine list is as tempting as the healthy prices (£19.75 for a 3-course set menu) and after you’ve indulged and criticized everything from actors to set, why not head to Zédel’s American bar for a night cap?

Brasserie Zédel

20 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7ED

Last orders – 11 p.m.

Dishoom

There is so much that can be said about Dishoom’s atmosphere, its lovely staff in every location I’ve tried and most importantly its food. Paying tribute to the old Bombay’s Irani cafes where hungry lunchers from all walks of life shared a space dedicated to hospitality, Dishoom now boasts more than 10 locations across the UK, with seven in London alone.

Wherever you are staying in the Big Smoke and whatever show you decide to go to, there will be a Dishoom somewhere to welcome you. From the roti rolls to the Biryani, all very reasonably priced, there is something for everyone, including a considerable vegan menu.

Each location has a slightly different menu with many common items and if you end up in one of their Theatreland places – Carnaby street or Covent Garden – I can only urge you to try the chicken berry Britannia.

Dishoom

Find your favoured location here.

Open until 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; Open until midnight Friday and Saturday
.

Golden Phoenix (Gerrard Street)

I had originally planned to tell you all about the legendary Wan Chai Corner. When I first settled in London as a young lost first year university student, whenever I missed the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, where I grew up, I would head to Wan Chai Corner.

It has now unfortunately closed BUT fear not for it is another Cantonese staple that I suggest you head down to. The Golden Phoenix is known for its large parties and true feasts. However, it also caters to solo diners and small groups alike.

The atmosphere is very much like any busy dim sum restaurant back home in Hong Kong: Be ready to raise your voice above the typically Wan Chai (one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping neighborhood) noise level and enjoy your well deserved meal.

Be sure to try the deep fried chili frog legs and their large array of vegetarian, fish and meat dim sums.

Golden Phoenix

37-38 Gerrard St, London W1D 5QB

You can see the complete menu here.

Open Monday-Saturday until 10:30 p.m., Sunday 10 p.m.

Duck and Waffle

This odd gem of a restaurant – after all duck waffle is their specialty and they are open around the clock – is one of my favourite discoveries in the city. I first experienced the breathtaking view and delicious breakfast at the end of a restless night where I kept tossing and turning and could only think of hashbrowns. I watched the sun rise over the City of London from the 40th floor and got talking to one of the lovely waiting staff who showed me their different menus.

Whether you’re after a light snack at the bar, a full meal or a very specific late night craving, Duck and Waffle has it all.

This 24/7 trove is especially reccomended if you are only in the city for a short time, to catch a
show and some of Britain’s delightful mix of quirks and fun.

Duck and Waffle

10 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY (There’s also an Edinburgh location.)
Open 24/7

Trullo

The excitement I feel at writing about Trullo says a lot about the quality of its food, decor and atmosphere. A sweet italian bistro in the heart of Highbury and Islington, Trullo is an ideal place to try after having caught a show at one of the many pub theatres in the area, or at the larger Almeida or Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

Though the pasta portions are quite small as is traditional in the Italian “Primi” menu order, they are some of the nicest homemade dishes you’ll have in a while. Their delicious £9 desserts divert from the traditional “tiramisu-affogato-ice cream” song of some trattorias and include a bitter caramel panna cotta that I’d readily profess my love to.

Trullo

300-302 St. Paul’s Road, London, N1 2LH

Last orders 10:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, last orders 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

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Read more about London here in Dispatches’ archives.

Zoé Manset
author at | Website | + posts

Zoe Manset is a French actress, writer and producer based in London, UK. After growing up in the Fragrant Harbour otherwise known as Hong Kong, Zoe moved to London in 2018 to pursue a BA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Arts. Missing the stage too much, she then completed a two year MFA in drama school and is now living the freelance actor life at full speed. Zoe is a fashion history lover, a great pub amateur, a dancer and a big foodie!

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