I love that period between Christmas and New Year, when London glitters in a bubble of festive light. Despite being packed to the rafters with tourists, London is somehow quieter and it’s easier to secure tables and tickets for all sorts of attractions.
Mr P and I took advantage of this window for a post-Chanukah candle lighting outing to London, to investigate Soho’s recently opened Boulevard Theatre.
It’s a shiny new version of the original theatre opened by King of Soho, Paul Raymond. His granddaughter, Fawn James, has spared no expense in rebuilding it, complete with a restaurant and bar.
The entrance is down a brightly but insalubrious alleyway, showcasing what this part of London has always been renowned for. On the first floor and across a glass bridge is the bar/restaurant, its dusty pink Art Deco-styled walls lined with framed prints and an original door plucked from its predecessor pre-demolition. The whole theatre has a 1920’s feel to it, including the auditorium seating. The bar is a great spot for people-watching over the street below or into the windows of neighbouring buildings. One millenial was spending his Saturday night in t-shirt and pants at his laptop.
We tore our eyes from the windows to inspect the menus. Fresh from a festive tea at St John’s Wood’s Ivy Café (not their finest hour) we weren’t starving, but by this point in the extended festive period I’m in good shape for endurance eating. The menu offers bar snacks; starter-sized small plates; large plates and desserts. Having eaten tactically, Mr P was ready for a fuller feed and ordered a selection of the ‘small plates’.
The menu offers a good mix of plant-based; fish and meaty dishes. We ordered a satisfyingly crunchy roast potato tart with leek puree and watercress; a yellow beetroot, grape, maple and walnut salad that sat on a swoosh of meltingly sweet, ruby-toned beet puree; some whisky-cured mackerel (pictured above) with crisp fennel shavings and more of that beetroot puree and an order of hand cut chips which were perfect – crunchy outside and steamingly soft inside.
With a couple of glasses of their excellent house white, we could have continued noshing at the bar all evening.
However, we had tickets for Ghost Quartet — the musical currently being performed (until early January) in the intimate, circular auditorium. The stalls practically shared the stage with the four super-talented musician/actor cast. At times, the we became part of the show.
Essentially a series of songs, loosely setting out the story of two sisters, the densely layered ‘plot’ eluded me much of the time, necessitating a post-performance google to see what on earth it was about. From reviews, most of the critics were also none the wiser, but gave credit for it being an entertaining watch. Stand-out performances definitely gave us food for thought.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this venue. It’s worth a visit — for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a drink even if you’re not planning on seeing whatever is playing in the auditorium. Definitely not a one-show pony, they also have late night entertainment, featuring a range of drag queens, cabaret, jazz (on a Wednesday) and (Friday) comedy nights.
Their New Year’s Eve entertainment sounds worth the trip into town. A 1950’s theme; welcome drink, canapes, buffet; dancing and roaming cabaret — whatever that may be. If I didn’t have a hot date with my children that would have enticed me out for NYE for the first time in about 15 years.