As an audience member, it’s often a challenge in London finding a great restaurant near enough to your theatre to be able to enjoy a meal without too much stress about timings.
Perhaps you, like me, have previously had a skin-of your-teeth pre-theatre meal that arrived too late or too cold, leaving you frantically trying to get your bill paid and ending up running to the theatre, leaving you with indigestion that lasts through the first half of your show. Not a good start to your expensive evening of relaxation! Perhaps like you, I vowed never to have this happen to me again- and since 2012 it never has. Let mel share with you my secret.
Having worked in the theatre business for 35 years, I have many people calling me and asking about good pre-theatre restaurants- and how to get into them. I have also organised many hundreds of meals on behalf of clients, individuals and theatre groups. Since their opening in 2011, CÔTE St Martin’s Lane has been the TheatreLand restaurant that I have recommended exclusively, and they have never let me – or my many guests – down.
Pre-theatre dining is a fine art in itself, and the highly-experienced CÔTE St Martin’s Lane team have it down to a tee. Being at the heart of Theatreland, just a few steps away from The Coliseum (currently with HAIRSPRAY), the Noel Coward (currently with 2.22), the Duke of Yorks (currently closed), Wyndham’s (shortly to reopen with LEOPOLDSTRADT), the Garrick (currently with BILLIONAIRE BOY) and the Cambridge (reopening September 16th with MATILDA).
Anyone going to any of these shows will find CÔTE within easy walking distance, and another bonus is that the restaurant is just two minutes from Leicester Square tube station.
CÔTE is a renowned French bistrot with a monthly-changing menu of specials and fixed price menus which are renowned for their quality and excellent value. That’s before we talk about the buzzy atmosphere which adds to a great night out, and the warmth of the gold-leafed and mirrored walls, with an authentic French feel of attractively tiled floors and dark wood furniture which exudes simple sophistication. You can relax at CÔTE, knowing everything’s taken care of.
I well remember chatting to a couple of gentlemen who used to dine at a very fancy French restaurant before finding out that their favourite wine was at CÔTE for half the price they were paying previously. Lured by the wine, they grew to enjoy the attention to detail and quality of the food at CÔTE, and, like many others we have encountered, have since become regular visitors.
Regular customers are, along with word-of-mouth recommendations, the lifeblood of restaurants, and CÔTE is the recipient of much customer loyalty. When the restaurant recently reopened after a period of closure, the place was fully booked from opening until closing – mostly, I am told, by their regulars celebrating their return. And we were there too!
Theatregoers love its proximity to their theatres, and you can always rely on the staff being up to date with theatre information, as they take a keen interest in the theatres and the shows around them, keeping up to date with shows opening and closing, special events – whatever may affect their footfall. Every one of the team, from the management to floor team to kitchen team are exemplary at what they do.
There is another theatrical connection that CÔTE St Martin’s Lane has. Apart from the huge number of theatregoers, a good number of creative theatre people including producers (both established and emerging) can be seen here, whether with guests pre-theatre or enjoying a leisurely lunch meeting to discuss new production and collaboration plans.
Since they reopened , CÔTE has acquired outside dining space due to the lower part of St Martin’s Lane being pedestrianised, which makes the street very attractive for an al fresco meal rendezvous. This is thanks to the hard work of local businesses and placemakers like Placemaking London’s brilliant Daniel Johnson who have encouraged Westminster Council’s initiative which will be in place until at least next year, and hopefully will be made permanent after that.
If you are reassured by seeing safety and sensible health procedures, you’ll be glad to hear that CÔTE has thoughtfully managed safety procedures to put diners at our ease with hand sanitiser gel generously sited around the restaurant for your use.
So if you’re looking for a pre-theatre restaurant with the warmest welcome in London, the best service, scrupulously clean environment, and fabulous food at brilliant prices, you’ll want to book CÔTE St Martin’s Lane to guarantee your perfect pre-show meal.
Have a wonderful time!
CÔTE Brasserie, 50, St Martin’s Lane , London WC2N 4EA