Dinner and a show in London

by Bernadette Fallon

Dinner and a show is a great night out and it’s very London. Now you don’t even have to gulp your dessert and run down the road in the cold, the new St James theatre has a very stylish restaurant just up the stairs from its 312-seater auditorium and basement studio. Pretty cool staircase too. Designed by artist Mark Humphrey, it was built in Italy from six tonnes of Carrara marble. Bet that took up a good few seats on the plane.

Opened in September last year on the site of the old Westminster theatre, the St James is the first newly-built theatre complex in central London for 30 years, a sort of off-Broadway style facility to provide a more intimate venue for UK audiences.

And it’s exciting to see a blockbuster like ‘Our Country’s Good’ in this cosy setting; first performed in 1988, it’s an adaption of a Thomas Keneally novel, ‘The Playmaker’, about staging a play in an Australian penal colony in 1789. Now on the A-level English curriculum, the play has picked up every award going, from Oliviers to Tonys. I loved it, but it’s only running until March 23 so you better hurry.

Next up is ‘The Thrill of Love’ (March 27 to May 4), based on the true story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain. For more information and booking visit the St James theatre website. The theatre studio runs regular live music, comedy, cabaret and jazz nights – see Studio listings at St James for a full programme.

Prices at Carrara restaurant (named after the stairs!) range from £6 for starters, with mains from £7.50 for a mozzarella and pesto salad, to £18.50 for 6oz 28-day aged Aberdeen Angus fillet steak served on a giant wooden platter. I can thoroughly recommend the fish and chips with mushy peas, also on a platter. There’s something about a platter that instantly gives everybody else at the table food envy.

The restaurant will very kindly hold your dessert until the interval if you can’t cram in three courses before the 7.30pm curtain. And 20 minutes is just exactly enough time to savour a sticky toffee pudding and sink a pot of Earl Grey tea, while everybody else is idling around the foyer. I liked the look of the entrance level brasserie too, smart and chic with a nice atmosphere, the sort of place you would feel at home having coffee by yourself if you fancied it. It also serves food all day. If you’re familiar with Victoria you’ll know that, despite it’s proximity to the Queen in Buckingham Palace, it’s not known for its smart coffee shops or brasseries – God knows where the Queen pops out to these days. So the St James is a great addition to the food, drink and cultural life of the area.

St James theatre, bar & brasserie and Carrara restaurant, 12 Palace St, London SW1E 5JA; 0844 264 2140, www.stjamestheatre.co.uk

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About The Authors

Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

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Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

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Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

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Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

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Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

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